Roadblocks. Every company wants them removed, but very few consultants can truly tell you how. Glenn Mattson is President of Mattson Enterprise Inc., a Sandler Training consulting firm specializing in sales and management productivity and effectiveness. Glenn’s work with Mattson Enterprise Inc. in conducting public and private workshops, corporate programs, and one-on-one strategic sessions for corporate executives, business owners and/or individuals who find themselves in a sales/management role. He follows a simple process of defining where his client wishes “to be” in comparison to his/her current “as is” status. They also provide on-going support, reinforcement, and networking through an alliance of business and sales professionals.
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Glenn Mattson: Overcoming Roadblocks With Sandler Training And Consulting
I’m very excited to have Glenn Mattson joining us.
Thank you so much, Mike. I greatly appreciate it.
Glen, for those who don’t know you, explain what you do and a little bit about your background?
What I do is I help individuals who either run businesses or have the duty to bring in businesses for those consulting companies. When I work with the owners or the top-tier people, it’s really working with top-notch individuals that are really trying to increase their performance to achieve the results they want to but actually in a faster, easier, less stressful way. We help overachievers become super successful in a shorter time period with less anxiety.
How did you get to where you are today? Take us back many, many years or maybe just a few years. How did you get into consulting? How did you get to where you are today?
I wish I could tell you it was an easy road that was well-laid out. I started self-employed my entire life. I remember getting my very first job and we’ve got a real “paycheck.” I remember asking my father what a union was and what taxes were? He started laughing. It set the tone that I wasn’t very good working for people. I was more of someone that had to work on my own. I’ve been self-employed for pretty much my entire life. I went through college, I had three different businesses, sold them, got into this business, the consulting business in my mid-twenties. At the time, I was helping people learn how to sell. I progressed my competencies into management leadership. As my age and my skills got better suited to my client base get larger and better also. Over 25 years I have quite a track record of some pretty dramatic results because we play and work with individuals that we know not only have the capacity to but have the willingness to, in terms of growth. An awful lot of people say they want to do it but very few people actually will do it. I’m lucky enough to work with those that do both.
I want to dig in into that a little bit more because you and I have taken quite a similar path in terms of the self-employment from the early days and building different companies and selling companies. I’m very interested to know before you got into consulting, you mentioned two or three other businesses that you built. What were they? Just give us a sense of what you started and what you accomplished with those businesses?
I wish I could say something really enticing and sexy but it started as I was a laborer for someone. I was watching this individual do what they did, how they run it, how they sold for it, what they did. I just thought it was someone who wasn’t working as hard as they could. I went as a worker not with him and I started selling on my own. I started doing projects. It was actually a painting business. I had something as easy as painting the outside of the houses. When I was in college, I was making more money than my father and then we started working internal. I remember this is 28 years ago, Mike, at the time faux finishing and murals was not the normal. I would hire artists, pay them $100 a day, they would come in and paint on amazing murals for people. I would sit with the housewife or the husband and talk and they would do their thing. When they were done, every two or three days, they loved us, gave us great referrals and I would close those people and keep giving my artist $100 a day and they were very happy with that but then I would make thousands.
What was the next business?
It was somewhat similar where they all started to progress into the same one. It started as house painting, then it went to internal faux finishing, then it went to murals that turned into a high-end artwork. That then turned into exterior, doing some side jobs and some other people. It was all in that same type of field, just different areas where I was seeing people that were doing service work, didn’t know how to take care of their clients, didn’t know how to run a business but were workers. I was the opposite. I figured stuff out and I worked. When I saw them not doing as good a job as they could have, I engulfed them. As time went on, Michael, I just took them over.
The story of finding or observing a problem around your own area that could benefit from improvement. The vast majority of people would see the same things. Maybe not everyone would see them but there are certainly a lot of people that see areas and room for improvement, but they don’t act on it. Here you act on it, acted on it. Not just once, but several times. What’s the driver behind you seeing those opportunities and assigned to actually step in and make something happen?
What separates those that know versus those that do, I guess. I grew up in a household. I’m not sure if it’s much different than everyone listening in. We did not have money. My mom stayed at home. My Dad worked. Didn’t make enough. He did great. We were loved in lot of different areas, but money wasn’t something that came pouring in. My dad was very specific in what he did with his money, but he also taught us that you will have a roof, you will have food, and you will be taken care of. If you want things outside of that, you’re going to have to go get it yourself. He taught us very early on without realizing it that if we wanted something bad enough, you have to put a plan together and go execute the plan to figure out how to get it yourself. That difference between, “I want something,” versus, “I would need something.” I would never be in a position of needing anything, but if I wanted something, he taught us to put a plan together, figure it out, and go get it done. Without realizing it, that’s what he did. In a roundabout way, it was very helpful.
How beneficial do you think that lesson and that experience was or continues to be in your life as you’ve built multiple businesses and now looking where you are today?
If I follow that same mindset that part of why we’re successful, where we are helping our clients have a successful mindset, which is really accountability, responsibility, and ownership. It’s the same mindset, it just depends on where you’re looking at the situation from. Based on the conversation we’re having now, what I got ingrained in my head very early on is stop complaining about what’s going around. You stop saying you should, or could, or would. If you want something done, go do it. Figure it out. Work harder than the average bear. If you put a plan together and you execute, you should be okay.
When I work with clients and use the words like, “We’ll give it a shot. I’ll try. We’ll see what happens.” Those words don’t register very well with me because I don’t know what that means. Try is not very good. Is it you’re going to do it or you’re not? When you try, it gives us the availability of coming up short and being okay with it. I’m not saying that if you come up short, you have to beat yourself up a little bit, but we have to turn our mindset into not accepting mediocrity for ourselves. We have great skills, all of us, inside of us. When you accept anything less than your best, that’s accepting mediocrity. Unfortunately, because I’m a shrink by background, 68% of us walking Planet Earth will accept mediocrity from results. As a matter of fact, we convinced ourselves that mediocrity is okay, which is worse.
It’s interesting because I see this in so many cases and situations. Let’s just explore one here together because I think what you mentioned is a sign that a lot of people will encounter when they’re working with their own clients. You’re working in a client engagement and you review some recommendations with them and what the next step should be and they give you the response that you just shared which is, “I’ll give that a try,” or “I’ll look into that.” Something that’s a little bit ambiguous and not very convincing. How do you respond then to your clients? How do you rally them and get them to shift their thinking or to take a different action? How do you approach that?
We have a couple of filters that I use pretty extensively. One of them is called the Success Triangle through Sandler and it’s attitude, behavior and technique. When we look at attitude, behavior and technique, you have to know and own the tactics and strategies that need to be utilized to dominate whatever your objective is. You got to have the technique side. You got to know it, got to own it. The behavior piece is what your goal is, your plan, and your action. Now, all the money’s in action, we know that, but the sad thing is most of us might track and literally manage people’s results. When the reality is the results are the only thing we can influence. What we can control is our behavior. Most of us, without even realizing it, is we are actually following the wrong indicators. Leading and lagging indicators. Instead of saying you need to have x amount of sales, or you need x amount of first appointments, or you need x amount of consulting gigs, the reality is what behavior do you need to do to get that? The behavior is a big piece.
The attitude is, really we only have two different types of attitudes, you’re not going to speak for hours on attitude, because you know that drives everything, too, but we have self-limiting beliefs and we have self-empowering beliefs. Self-empowering beliefs are those that consultants have that drive them to do the behaviors even when they don’t want to. Self-limiting beliefs is even when they know they’re supposed to, they have procrastination around it. In many consultants’ worlds, for instance, they’re exceptionally good at what they do, but they loathe being a salesperson. Because they loathe it, anything that surrounding asking questions, prospecting referrals, upselling, negotiating, anything that has to do around that area, that’s self-limiting belief of I’m getting into the ugliness of selling. All of a sudden it dramatically impacts their behavior to utilize the skills and tactics. A lot of times when you’re looking for some consistency and people who aren’t ready to take action, I typically find it’s more attitudinal.
When we have conversations with them and we understand what their objectives are, I’m sure you do the exactly the same thing. What their objectives are, where they are right now, what’s your gap, what’s the reason for the gap, what’s the impact to the gap, are you really committed to fixing it? Because if you’re not, let’s not start the journey. When we get people into that gap, the real purpose for us is to figure out what their emotional drivers are? Mike, at the end of the day, people buy emotionally and they justify intellectually. People change based on emotions. They justified intellectually. If we want consultants to change, they need to understand that the severity of the gap that they have, they need to feel the pain that they’re in. The reality of a good consultant is not discovering the gap but making sure they have enough pain, and where they are, they are ready to change. Because if they’re not, you’re going to hear the things we just talked about.
When we started this conversation, you mentioned that you’ve been able to create some pretty dramatic results for your clients over the years. It sounded to me like you were saying that one of the factors in being able to do that is that you’re very selective in who you work with. I think you used the word committed. Is that the case?
We have a process that we have that’s called the Six P’s of Excellence which really helps a business owner look at blind spots within their practice. How do you really create a bulletproof business? There are very common gaps that people have. Now, when we look at consultants, regardless of how big they are, at certain points there’s common issues that you have for under a million, under 5 million in different types of markets under 50 million, 100 million. There are some common blind spots, but these individuals, when you look at the consistency of those great individuals that want to change and they want to get to the next level, the risk that they take is knowing where they are right now, although it’s great or good, where they want to go is better and they’re willing to let go of what they know to be true to go towards something of greater value. That’s the risk piece.
I have found, Mike, that a lot of consultants, we call them campers, they’ve done a great job. They have huge desires, huge commitment, took big risks. They’ve busted outside the comfort zone. They start to have success and maybe they’ve had success for five, six, seven years. Anyone listening, if you have the same financial level of success for four or five years, you are in this box. It’s called camping. Psychologically, what happens is our desire to grow, our motivation to climb that mountain turns into I want to protect what I built. It’s a shift in the mind, the shift to grow turns into a shift to protect. Now you have a great campground, great house or houses, couple of cars, take great vacations, have a nice life. You’re more concerned about upsetting what you’ve built, than growing. That’s called camping. Because of that, your mindset now is everything that you’re doing to build your business is around protecting what you built, not building what you have.
That also makes a lot of sense because if you’re in the early stages, you don’t have much to protect. Your mindset is not going to be focused on one of protection, but rather just one of growth. When you start to really find your purpose, start to see greater results and greater levels of income, now you have something that you actually want to protect.
Just two weeks ago, I was nice enough to be invited out to speak at a main platform for consultants. There are about 3,000 people in the room and the talk I did was, “Are you camping or climbing?” Unfortunately in today’s day and age, they want everything in short little bursts so it was just a quick twenty-minute talk. When you start talking, half the room stood up and started clapping and going crazy because they were climbers. They just started hitting out. I don’t want to say anything wrong with what they earn, but it’s the internal. They lost their mojo. They don’t have the same passion anymore. They don’t find themselves wanting to go to work anymore. That change in their mindset changes pretty much everything they do. A lot of times when we have a camper-climber conversation, Mike, a lot of them who were climbers and love to be climbers and just lost their mojo, lost their way for a little while and they want to start to climb again. Those are our clients, the ones that are campers, they like being a camper, and they like going home at three o’ clock in the afternoon, they get to work at ten, and they’re making a good lifestyle, and they take seven weeks off. That’s all great, too. We have many clients that we have from 80 hours a week to build that, to have that lifestyle, but still make a lot of money and still had their business go through the roof. Our clients, it’s not an or, it’s an and.
I think there’s a really important lesson here for everyone listening, which really comes back to that idea of being very selective with who your clients are. Far too often, people just say yes to any opportunity that comes their way, where you’ll learn over time, but you can benefit from it sooner rather than later. When you embrace this notion, this idea that by saying no to the wrong opportunities, the wrong types of clients, you allow yourself to then say yes to the right opportunities that come your way. Ultimately when we’re working towards creating a certain type of business where we’re reaching for a certain destination, if we’re saying yes to everything that comes along our path, we’re doing a big zig-zag. Whereas, we could really make a much straighter line to reach our destination much faster if we were selective. That’s hard for some people because it’s the short-term versus long-term mindset and a lot of people certainly are much more focused on short-term results and don’t allow themselves to benefit from a long-term mindset.
At the end of the day, you have long-term, short-term, look you’ve got to pay bills. If you have an opportunity, and you, and I know this because we’ve been doing it long enough that just because you can doesn’t mean you should is a great mantra. Just because you tend to do it doesn’t mean you should do it. I’m sure you’ve been doing it long enough to where you did some of those cans when you really shouldn’t have and you find yourself bending over backwards trying to manipulate things to make it work and really doing more than you should have to have the fruition piece come done. When you do it, it’s good, but it’s not fantastic. As time goes on you start to realize I have a wheel house. I should know where my lanes are. Being really good in my lanes. If you have the opportunity to have enough of a market and enough of a draw, it’s fantastic, but in the beginning sometimes you may have to take business to get the experience to know I should stay in my lane.
As you look back, Glenn, over the years of building your businesses and especially the business that you’re in right now in the coaching and consulting sphere, what’s one of the biggest challenges that stands out to you that you really learned a lesson from that? Looking back, if I would have handled that differently, if I just had the benefit of hindsight, it would have made such a big difference?
In my world there would be more of very large cases that I was working on or consulting deals or large talks the night before. It’s getting in front of eight or 10,000 people and going through that anxiety and sleepless night and the next day you’d do great like “What was I nervous about?” If I look at my clients and I look at their world, what I’m about to mention is not family run businesses because I do a lot of family run businesses that are just different dynamics, especially with succession plans. A lot of the biggest challenges that I have found some consultants having, you can put them on two different buckets, but I would say across the board, one of them would be accountability which is creating a plan, having buy into the plan, and then executing your plan. That accountability mindset, which is again, we’re both in the business of helping consultants create better practices. It’s great stuff. Every problem that a consultant has, I think when it comes to sales, bringing in business, new business, the right revenue, the right type of clients, only happens for one of two reasons: either they did or said something they weren’t supposed to or they didn’t do something they were supposed to or where they were supposed to but didn’t say. Either they did it and they weren’t supposed to or they didn’t do it and they were. That’s it. If you really take a look at everything that happens in bringing in new business and rainmaking, under those two hospices, the growth and the shrinkage of your consulting practice starts and ends with you. Why make excuses? We blame everything besides ourselves.
Let’s go a little bit deeper into that area specifically. Use your own example and case or just those that you work with that you observe. What are some examples of things that people say that they shouldn’t say?
It depends on your philosophies of selling. If someone turns to you and says, “Mike, I think we have a pretty good idea of what we need. Do you mind if you put together a proposal for us?” If you don’t have a really good plan on how to qualify people, most of us think that’s a great buying signal. The reality is it doesn’t necessarily mean much. If you didn’t ask questions about money, if you didn’t ask questions about their budget, if you didn’t ask questions about who has to sign off on an all those questions that go there, and all the questions that would have to go in decision making and the hierarchy and who besides yourself is involved in all these great simple questions? If we don’t do any of that and we go and do their proposal, shame on you. You’re going to get back, think it over, this is awesome. You’re going to find out the answer to the questions you should have had answered before you did the proposal. It’s shocking to me that people think the proposal is part of the selling process. The proposal should be a summation of what they’re agreeing to buy. That’s what a proposal is. The proposal is written confirmation of what we verbally agreed upon.
How about the other one where people don’t do things that they should have done? What are some good examples of that?
Or they did things that they shouldn’t have done. We’ll take them both sides. Let’s suppose they turn around and say, “Mike, this is great. Why don’t you send me something next week and we’ll get back to you.” You say, “Okay,” and hang up. That’s not what you’re supposed to say. You didn’t say the right questions. You didn’t ask the right stuff. A lot of what we get in a buying environment is the outcome of our skills, our attitudes, and our behaviors. Unfortunately, most consultants think selling is an ugly word. That’s why we use the word rainmaking, not selling. We use the word head consultant versus salesperson. A lot of times what you’ll find is many will choose not to do the right stuff because they don’t want to be seen as a sales guy. One of the reasons that Sandler dominates in the training business is we teach people to sell without sounding like a cliché salesperson. Because quite honestly, that’s not how they buy. They don’t buy features and benefits they buy to avoid or get out of pain. The nice thing is consultants are literally, I hate to use the example, but wolf in sheep’s clothing. You’re a consultant. You’re not supposed to be a great sales guy. Use that power to your advantage.
Glenn as your business has developed, talk to me a little bit about how your marketing has evolved. Let’s start with where you are right now. What do you find is the most effective way for you to attract new clients and to build your pipeline? What’s working for you right now?
I’m probably one of the simplest guys in the world when it comes to this piece. I really think it’s easy. It’s called Emerson’s Law of Compensation. If you spend 80% of your time taking care of your clients, I mean really taking care of your clients from a business standpoint, etc., your clients will bring you more business than you ever know what to do with it. For 25 years, I’ve done almost no marketing that the average person would talk about in terms of online marketing and LinkedIn and social medias, etc. My mindset’s pretty easy. If you hire me to do A and I do A++, you’ll A. never let me go, and B. you’ll make sure that everyone that you know knows about me. My marketing, Mike, is pretty easy because my clients will bring me clients.
Let’s go back to the early days before you had the ability to do that when you didn’t have the clients, so you have to first get them. What worked for you in the early days to get your first few clients?
Back in the day, it’s all phones. That’s what we had. We used to walk around to pay phones in the city and you made phone calls. One of the things that I was pretty good at was speaking which, go figure, because I hate speaking in public, but what I found really successful for me as a consultant was being a guest speaker at other events and me filling the room for business owners on how to become a better rainmaker, how do we better at managing your people, how to make sure your people can get more productivity, have better truth in their pipelines, how to get them outside their comfort zones so they’re not doing milk runs all the time. I found myself like to get in front of you as a guest. What I did, Mike, is I did a lot of consulting work in the beginning as a guest speaker. A lot of speaking engagement. In the very beginning they were free, but now of course I get paid.
Your business has grown to the point where you’re spending 80% of your time really just taking care of your clients. That’s then generating plenty of referrals and new business for you. Your business and revenues have grown. How are you managing that growth? What has helped you more than anything else in terms of whether it’s support or technology or systems? What have you used to allow you to scale your business without, I’m hoping, just working the same amount of additional hours.
What I did was what we call it the blind spot. The blind spot is me actually doing what I teach others to do. That’s taking a look at a three-year look. If I found anything past that, it’s just not reality. Where do you want to be in 2021? That means financial results, types of clients that you’re working with, what you’re selling, what are your averages, what does your client base look like? Where do they originate from? All the financial stuff. From there, we go into process. What processes must run in the firm machine like by 2021 and then also people which was my org chart and then balance. If I look at 2021, Mike, with clarity, then it’s just reverse engineering. If that’s what 21 looks like, what does twenty look like? Then what does nineteen look like? What does eighteen? For me to end this year, I have to accomplish these objectives for me to hit what I need in nineteen and twenty. The way I look at it, it’s not an annualized process. These are just stepping stones.
If you look at the staircase in your house, the top stairs, whatever your objective is in each landing is just a year or a month to get there. As long as we have clarity on what we’re trying to build, I have found that’s my best tool because as I move through different levels of IT, different levels of social media that we can play in, different ways to communicate, distant learning, web-based, cartoon-based. I mean I have lots of different things at our disposal that we utilize. All these choices if we don’t have a big picture are made emotionally and in a vacuum. When we make these decisions, we always have our storyboard of where we want to be in a couple of years saying, “Is this going to get us there or are we just chasing shiny objects?” What has helped us as the best guiding light is keeping our what I would call short-term decisions within a long-term vision.
It’s a great approach and we use something very similar. How has your org chart changed as the businesses has grown? Is it yourself and assistance? Do you have multiple people? What is your business structure look like in terms of team members?
We have quite a few people. I wouldn’t say quite a few, but handful. Obviously, I have an assistant and I have no CIO and CFO. We also have team members here that are in the developmental phase, which they’re putting together programs for. We have three different programs were in the process of doing one from coaching, which is coaching advisers and coaching consultants on how to become better. We have others that go into the sales process. We have others that go into negotiating. We just finished one up for leadership, so we have five or six people to do the development and I have twelve people that do training and coaching for me. We have a total of just under twenty people here.
This has been a really great conversation, Glenn. There’s so much more that we could dive in and explore here together. It’s been a lot of fun. I want to thank you for coming on and sharing a bit of your story here. What’s the best way for people to learn more about your work and to connect with you?
It’s relatively easy. You can do the prefix of 361 then you can just call Sandler, which is 631-726-3537. They can always find us on the web which is Mattson.Sandler.com.
Glenn, thank you so much.
Thank you so much, Michael. Best of luck and I hope everyone out there achieves the greatest success they’ve always wondered and wanted.