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“I think the challenge of millenial learners in general is certainly an issue, but I also think that technology – especially mobile technology – is important.”

Dave Mattson

David Mattson is CEO and a partner at Sandler Systems, Inc., an international training and consulting organization headquartered in the United States. In 1986, Mattson met the founder of Sandler Training, David H. Sandler, and fell in love with his philosophy, methods and materials. In 1988, he went to work for Mr. Sandler, and was eventually chosen to lead the company. Mattson continues to be a trainer and business consultant for management, sales, interpersonal communication, corporate team building and strategic planning worldwide.

Sandler Training is a global training organization with over three decades of experience and proven results. Sandler provides sales and management training and consulting services for small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) as well as corporate training for Fortune 1000 companies. Their proven methodologies and specialized tools equip their trainees with the skills necessary to improve both their business and bottom line.


BusinessInterviews.com: Can you share an example of how your love of new and exciting ideas influences how you lead your team and company in general?

Dave: I think the mindset should always be: What made us successful yesterday won’t necessarily make us successful tomorrow. I believe we can never rest on our laurels. We need to know what we do well and capitalize on that. Then, we need to understand where our gaps are and be brutally honest about acknowledging and filling them.

I’ve been in this industry for a while and still my greatest pleasure is being in front of customers because I learn so much from them. I see what’s successful for them and I see what’s not successful, and I take those ideas back to our own company. Some of our best projects have started from ideas that came from outside influences – and not just our customers, but also our trainers. All 265 of them are in front of customers all the time. When they have a good idea, they bubble that up to see if it can help Sandler as a whole.

In essence, we have a natural innovation machine here at Sandler, which provides endless ideas and concepts to move forward. The key for me, and all of our team members, is to keep an open mind, and make sure that we’re always looking for the truth. That means asking questions like can we improve and is this tool working for us? With that mindset, success is guaranteed.

BusinessInterviews.com: What are some of the ways you work to ensure that Sandler remains competitive in an ever-changing global marketplace?

Dave: Sandler is currently in 31 countries, and we’re constantly working to make sure that our tools meet the needs of our markets in each country. We’re diligent in our efforts to be congruent throughout our system. To remain competitive, we analyze from the micro level and in-country level, as well as the system-wide level. At the system-wide level, there are different challenges than simply ensuring that the process works within a foreign country. When a company signs with us for training in eight countries, we are one of the few organizations that can perform seamlessly. From a competitive edge, that is magical and we have to continue to make sure it’s an easy process for our customers.

BusinessInterviews.com: Can you share with your readers how you’re adjusting Sandler content for the millennial learner and what inspired you to make these changes?

Dave: I think the challenge of millenial learners in general is certainly an issue, but I also think that technology – especially mobile technology – is important. People want pertinent content being delivered to their sales force. Sales enablement is a key concept out there, so we’ve got technology driving how content is delivered.

The next generation of learners is different. I have five children, and none of them use textbooks. To me, this is one of the key differentiators between traditional learners and millennial learners. Sandler is currently working on an e-conversion strategy, which would allow us to “slice and dice” content in any way requested. That way, we won’t have to choose between approaches for millennial learners, visual learners and auditory learners. We’ll provide a smorgasbord of options, while simultaneously slicing and dicing our content into much smaller chunks than we currently do.

Another way that we’re adjusting our content is not just in the way that it’s being delivered, but the selection of topics that we’re bringing to the table. Topics like basic communication are important conversations – something we’ve taken for granted for many years. These subjects are now resurfacing because it’s important with the millennial learner, who typically communicates through e-mail or text. Other topics include how to correspond through e-mail, sending the right message and how to use social media as a leverage point. These are topics that have great interest to organizations, especially when coupled with our Sales Management course on how to manage millennial learners.

BusinessInterviews.com: Can you tell us a little bit about the study on transactional analysis and how it provides some important insights on improving selling techniques?

Dave: Transactional-Analysis theory defines three ego states that influence our behavior – the Parent, the Adult, and the Child.

The Parent ego state is the part of us where information about what is good and bad, right and wrong, and appropriate and inappropriate is stored.

The Adult ego state is the logical, analytical, rational part of our behavioral framework. It weighs the pros and the cons.

The Child is the emotional part of our makeup. This is where feelings are stored.

We see it relating to selling because T-A theorizes that by the time we are six years old, we have experienced and stored a wide range of emotions – emotions that influence us throughout the balance of our lives. That goes for sellers, buyers, and everyone else.

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