Skip to content
53 min read

What the Board Expects from a Sales Leader, with Al Wasserberger

Featured Image

Your company's board can be your best friend - or your worst enemy. Getting on their wrong side is a career-limited move. But, by understanding what they expect of you and your sales team, you can ensure those meetings go smoothly, no matter the message.

Al Wasserberger is a Serial Entrepreneur, Board Member, and Chief Financial Officer for Stormboard. Most of his career he's build companies. He's found that the part of building companies he most likes was the growth and corporate development work. 

What you’ll learn:
•    How Al's unique story can impact your business
•    What to do to get a board leader’s attention
•    How to create predictability
•    How to understand the customer’s language
•    How to transform from sales rep to sale leader
•    How to articulate the pain points
•    How to get yourself into the board room
•    Worry more about the impact you have on people than their feelings
•    How to find people who are doing it right
•    How to get where you want to

If you find yourself dreading to go into that boardroom, then it's time to Give us a call


Stormboard - The Data-first Collaboration & Digital Whiteboard

When you need to hire top sales professionals, turn to a recruiting partner that speaks sales. Alaant Workforce Solutions. Learn more and book a discovery call at

The perfect CRM system, streamlined business processes and happier customers – Eligeo CRM Inc can make it happen for your business. Go to for more info


100. Get the Board's Attention While Leading Your Sales Team with Al Waussabuerger

Hamish Knox
Full Funnel Freedom

Copyright 2023, Hamish Knox. Produced for Clawson Solutions Group, LLC by Retrospection Multimedia,


[0:00] If a person's not performing as a sales rep, it almost always comes back to those three questions. Can you find it? Can you quantify it? Can you solve it? Right?
And so, you know, the best movie ever made in the history of movies was the Princess Bride.
And in the Princess Bride, it's go back to the beginning, go back to the beginning, go back to the beginning.
And, and I think that's probably the most common piece of advice that I give.
This is the Full Funnel Freedom podcast, supporting sales leaders and managers to improve their sales funnels from people to prospects.
I'm Hamish Knox. In this show, you'll learn how you can improve your results, lead a great team and hit more targets with Full Funnel Freedom.

[0:49] Music.

[0:56] Welcome to the Full Funnel Freedom podcast. I'm your host, Hamish Knox. Today, we are going to get ideas and insights about what the board is looking for from a sales leader, from serial entrepreneur and investor, Al Wasserberger. Now let's hear from one of our affiliate partners.
When you need to hire top sales professionals, turn to a recruiting partner that speaks sales.
That's Allant Workforce Solutions. For more details and to book an introductory call, go to slash Allant. That's www.fullfunnelfreedom slash A-L-A-N-T.
I am massively excited to record episode 100 of the Full Funnel Freedom podcast with Al Wasserberger.
Al is a serial entrepreneur who has built and exited several companies in positions ranging from president, CEO, executive chairman, and now he is currently the chief revenue officer and board member for Stormboard based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He is also a social media personality for Eat More Vegans, an edutainment community for carnivores, which he produces and stars in with his daughter, Leah. Al, welcome to Full Funnel Freedom.

[2:18] Thank you, Hamish, and congratulations on episode 100. That's such a big accomplishment.
Yeah, thank you so much. So I'm delighted to be here with you today. I've given the audience the 30,000 foot view of who you are and where you've come from. I'm going to.

[2:32] Deep dive us tell us the al story What have you done over the course of your career and how did you get to where you are today?
So, uh good question an open-ended question. I'll try to be quick about it. So, My background really is all about building things, Uh building companies building products. I actually started on the technical side of the house Although now nobody asks me to do anything technical I need to call it for help printing because i'm an old man, so I still print things But the fun part along the way is the deal-making for me.

[3:07] It's always been, whether it's bringing in the client, whether it's building the partnership and the go-to market, or whether it's buying or selling the company, that level of engagement, the hand-to-hand combat, if you will, is the stuff that gets me out of bed, every morning.
I love it, thank you for sharing. So my story, while it starts from a technology perspective, I think the part of my career that probably most applies to this conversation started with a company I built called Spirian Technologies.

[3:39] Spirian was a pioneer in the electronic software distribution space.
And this was, by the way, by this point, I no longer was somebody that they allowed to write code.
I was way out of the technology space.
And so it was me that started it with an idea and then a couple of folks that I hired, and very quickly brought in folks to help go to market because the idea of electronic software distribution is one that has huge impact for large enterprises.
I, as you'll remember, was a guy who hired a couple other people to help.
And so if my target was large enterprises, I needed to learn how to sell to them because then I was gonna change their world. And I brought in a sales leader at that point, a guy named Ira, who became a partner in the business.
And as we grew that business, we found that we were able to grow this small business by being relevant to big businesses.
So whether that was a General Motors or a UBS or a big client whose business was changed because our technology could change it, or whether it was going to market with somebody like Cisco whose products became better because they embedded our technology, that became the thing.

[4:50] And that's where I was first introduced to some of the concepts that I think your audience really understands, which is if I want Cisco to send me the little guy millions of dollars, I first have to understand.

[5:03] Where the pain is. Why are they trying to make that pain go away? And I found that if I could build a business around making big companies' pain go away, it was a lot easier to sell than if I built a business building things that were cool and then trying to figure out how to use them to make pain go away. So that business was a successful sale. I built a couple of businesses since then with the same kind of pattern, be relevant to somebody bigger, find the pain, build a product around the pain, right? And then sell the pain and then eventually sell the company. So when Stormboard asked me to add to just my social media and barbecue empire and start thinking about how to help Stormboard become more relevant to enterprises, it was kind of an opportunity I couldn't pass up. Very cool. That is an incredible journey. And I love the idea of.

[5:56] Being relevant to someone who's bigger than you. So as we look at this journey of a sales leader and our audience as sales leaders, and maybe they're in that go-to-market. So if we can follow this journey from like go-to-market startup, then we're going to scale and then we're going to exit. What is a board member looking at from a sales leader in that early stage, go-to-market, we got to get some use cases, we got to get some proof points and get some traction going? What are, what is a board member seeking at that stage?
So as the company matures, what you need from your sales leaders are different, right? And.

[6:34] It moves from being risk to being proof, right? So in the very early stages, and if we go back to Spurian in the early stages, what I needed was to be able to prove that this whole idea of not hiring people to run around with discs and CDs, I don't know how many of your audience are old enough to remember those days that that's how we updated software, that not hiring people to run around and do that, but actually letting the computer update itself.

[7:00] Right, that that was going to be something that companies would buy, right? That's more important than the revenue. Sure, you need the revenue, you got to pay the bills, you got to grow, right? But being able to say, all right, this company and this company and this company have all made this decision, and therefore it's a reasonable expectation that more companies are is going to make the decision, that's more important than how much money they paid for the product, right?
So once you've eliminated that basic product, will it work and will companies like it, then you're into a market and product market fit kind of, again, risk analysis, right?
How do we find the know?
How do we quantify the no? How do we know who we shouldn't be pursuing?
Because they're not going to get to a yes, and who we are going to be pursuing, and then we can define the size of the market, and then define what the right go-to-market is.

[7:57] We don't worry about scale until we've already proven that, A, it'll work and customers will buy it, and B, that there's logic behind who are the right customers, and what are the reasons that they're buying.
Then we can organize how to invest, and start to look at things like customer acquisition costs and total lifetime value of a customer and how to calculate those, both in terms of, is it worth building a company or are we just selling dollar bills for 80 cents on the internet and trying to make it up in numbers and scale, right?
Or is there actually an opportunity to build this and grow it?
And then at that stage, it's how big can we get? How much do we have to invest?
And what is the reliability of that data, right?

[8:39] Until we reach a scale where now it becomes one of predictability, right?
And that's the stage that Stoneboard is in now, right?
We've got lots of big customers. We've got folks ranging from small education institutions and small consultancies, all to some of the biggest companies around the world that are relying on the technology, right?
The numbers are big. We're in a recurring model. So revenue is predictable, but deal flow is not always predictable, right?
And so the challenge now for the leadership team that reports to me, for my head of sales and my head of marketing and in my customer success organization is I need predictability.
Not only do I need to know that we're going to grow, but know is as important as grow.
And so when they give me a number of this is what we're going to hit, and this is my commit, and this is my stretch, I got to be able to count on it.
And it's the quickest way for a sales leader to lose credibility in the boardroom is to continue making sales and bringing them in.
But have them be surprises, either the wins or the losses. Because that's not an easy way to run a business. In the boardroom, we're not thinking about next week or next month or even next quarter.

[9:56] You've got to be aware, especially if you've got either public or private investors, you've got to be aware of quarterly. But a boardroom is thinking about next year and three years in financial. And so we're making investments in how should we grow the team?

[10:09] What should the infrastructure look like? Do we have enough capital to be able to make the investments that we're going to need a year or two years or three years from now? And the worst thing when you're doing that kind of long-range planning is surprises because there's a ripple effect. A surprise upside or downside of 10% today compounded out over the course of 10 quarters isn't 100% because it complements 200%. So now I can be taking a company from $50 million to either 100 or 200. How do you plan for going to 100 or 200? So predictability matters. Getting it done matters, meeting commitments matters. Very cool. Yeah. And that is something that I know I talk with the leaders that we work a lot about is the predictability. And investors, board members, we, we don't like surprises because, uh, those, as you just clearly clarified for us, really compound over time. So aside from the, the, so when we look at knowing what are some of the things that you've coached the leaders that, that you've worked with, that you've, you've raised up from maybe frontline to a, to a higher level, what are the, some of the things you coach them on to create more predictability in their funnels? So they maintain that credibility at at the board level?
So I'm a very data-oriented manager, and that probably comes from my technical background.

[11:36] But my head is a math head, so I tend to communicate in math terms, and not every executive is that way, right?
But I look at a very granular level at the indicators and their reliability, right?
So let's take Stormboard as an example.
The first thing that I looked at was which customer segments buy from us reliably and which customer segments don't buy from us reliably, right?
And we're gonna leave all the unreliable stuff on the side, but we made the decision right off the bat.
We're gonna stop talking to folks that we can't count on.

[12:13] The limiting factor isn't the number of people to talk to. The limiting factor is how many conversations we can have.
So we can choose who to talk to, and we know that there's no predictability in this segment of people. For us, that segment was right-brain creative people.
We knew that some of them would like what we're doing, and some of them don't like what we're doing, but we couldn't predict easily whether they were going to buy, and therefore, the energy we had to spend in order to get a sale was very high.

[12:41] On the other side, we knew that, If the person that's doing business with us kind of looks like me, right?
They're very data oriented. They like structure. They like order.
They like predictability.
These were folks who were going to flock to Stormboard and love Stormboard and had a very high conversion rate.
So we were going to make huge investments there. And then we were going to look at that middle ground of the folks who we didn't know and see if we could start to build personas and find patterns.
Because the more targeted you are at the beginning of the process, the more predictable you are at the end of the process, right?
If I know that 75% of the people who exhibit this particular pain are going to end up saying yes, well, then I can base my predictability on what percentage of the people have that pain.
And I can have my marketing department make all my messaging about that pain and do webinars about that pain.
I can teach my SDRs to ask on a call, by the way, has this ever happened to you?
Right, at the very beginning, at the tip of the spear, so that pain travels all the way through the process.
So when the SDR is handing off to the account exec and the account exec is handing off to the account manager and the success manager, that everybody knows this is the pain we're going away, then we know how we're gonna deliver predictability and we know that we're gonna be able to make sales.

[14:02] Absolutely, and also we're speaking the buyer's language as opposed to, hey, we've got a shiny thing.
We're talking about them, not about us. Is that it?

[14:11] Absolutely, right? And that's probably the most profound thing that people learn is that the customers like to speak their own language. And if you give them that opportunity that they will take it.
And so, you know, we just finished successfully. And when I say successfully, I mean, an hour ago got the confirmation from the client.
We did a tiger team save. So it was a client whose IT department wanted to take away our tool from our user group and go with a free tool from a big software company.
And they called us and they said, how do we build a business case to make sure they don't take this away?
And I said, easy, we're gonna talk about pain. Are you willing to imagine a world without our tool long enough.

[14:55] For us to help you to understand what that life would be and how to quantify it?" And they said, yes, and then we let them start talking, right? And the more data they were able to give us, and the more they were able to experience, as long as we stayed in within bounds and limited the number of times that they said, well, if that happens, I would just quit. As long as we stayed away from that, and talked about justification one time, not every time, that we felt like we we had a level of confidence.
And we weren't allowed in the room with IT when they went and made the case.
So of course we were very nervous that they were making their case this morning.
And we got notes from our champion, from the champions manager and from the executive all today thanking us for our partnership and helping them to experience their own pain.
It's so cool when the customer will help you to do that if you just get out of your own way, right?

[15:51] Absolutely. I really dig that. And also it goes into the, this idea we talk a lot about is when it comes out of our buyers mouth, it's real. When it comes out of our mouth, we're pushing aggressive salespeople or, or we're, we're telling our salespeople to be pushing aggressive. That's not what we're saying literally, but that's what they hear.
And they go out and go, well, Al, you don't understand, you know, could you see that this is working and this is working and the buyer's like, I don't care because you're not speaking my language as you've already identified. Right.
So as we are building and what it sounds like is you're co-building solutions with, with your buyer, right?
You're not just saying thanks very much and running away and coming back with a proposal.
You're, you're co-building.
So as these, as you are, are working with leaders who maybe were the top seller, right?
You get a top seller.
Now they got bumped up in the world. Uh, maybe they got the VP title cause they were of the first salesperson.
How do you recommend that someone who was top sales rep becomes top sales leader?
What are the steps that you would suggest they go through to back themselves out of the sale?
That's a really hard question. And I should probably say, I haven't seen a lot of top salesmen successfully make that transition. It is hard. That's true. and, They there's a there's a valley, right? There's this point where you go from being the top salesperson and bringing home that big check.

[17:19] To learning how to be a leader and Not being successful and that's not a week long or a month long or even year-long journey, right?
So being a top sales leader takes the same number of years to become as it took to become the top salesperson. And so not only do they have to understand this is a new and different skill, right, but their leadership has to understand that it's a new and different skill and that their expectations should be different. That, it's not, okay, if I'm at 300% of quota for the last two years and you're giving me 10 sales reps, you should expect them all to be at 300% of quota. No.

[18:00] You should expect none of them to make quota the first quarter because I still don't know how to be a manager, which is not a sell it, right?
So the number one success criteria for somebody transitioning from doer to teacher is learning how to not do, how to not be the one with the answer, how to ask questions, right?
So person who introduced you and I, Jeff tells everybody when he introduces me to them, whether it's a person that reports to him that he, that I'm going to be interviewing or a customer or whatever, is be aware, Al asks really good questions.
And it's one of the things that defines me. And not just from a sales perspective, and that's not the only reason that I love Sandler, but it is one of the reasons that I love Sandler is because there's so much about the question asking.
But if I can teach a salesperson who's becoming a manager to never give the answer.

[18:59] So only ask questions that lead somebody to give the answer themselves.
I feel like I've positioned them for success, right?
Because they're not successful because the customer bought, they're successful because they have salespeople who can get the customers to buy consistently over and over and over.
It's fun to watch, it's fun to be on a meeting and have somebody message you in the background and say, See, I did it as a question, right? And get there.
Just like with the customer, if you cannot give the answer until the customer's already given the answer and you can just say, yes, you've figured it out, then you know you won.
The same thing is true in managing salespeople. And the same thing is true in managing sales leaders, right?

[19:52] At my level, I can't ever say to my VP of sales, You know what you ought to do?
You ought to go do this, right?
But what I can say is, you know, when I look at the results of that approach, I feel like they're not the results I would have expected. Are they the results you would have expected?
And then you get the no. And then the, why do you think that is?
And what do you think we might approach differently? And what do you think the outcome of that would be?
And letting them develop the story.
At the end, not only do they own the story and therefore they're most likely to execute it, but because they came up with it on their own, it's not my credibility at stake, it's their credibility at stake.
They have ownership, they're gonna go execute, they're gonna go make it happen.
And that's the secret, in my opinion, to being a manager.

[20:39] Amen, I completely align with that. Now, I have seen though, that it can be incredibly frustrating for a leader, especially a new leader, to sit back and ask those questions and let their reps struggle and maybe not hit quota for the first quarter or two or three.
So when you're looking at that side and you've got a new manager who's like, but can't they just figure it out?
Well, no, they can't because Wayne Gretzky was a terrible hockey coach because he couldn't impart his knowledge of where the puck was gonna go.
What are some of the things that you advise? Isn't it against the law for a Canadian to criticize Wayne Gretzky?
Is this being recorded? I may not be publishing this in Canada. Okay.
So when you've had those, you've witnessed or you've had one of your leaders come to you and be like, Amos just isn't getting it. I'm asking him the questions.
I'm trying to get him to come up with the answers.
He's just not getting it.
I get the answer, maybe just wait on it. But what are some of the specific things you've coached leaders that you're coaching to do with a rep who might be struggling more than that leader wants them to.

[21:55] I believe Patrick when she only taught me that firing somebody is a last resort and it's a sign of failure on your part not a failure on their part, and that was 25 years ago that he told me that, and I have never had that conversation I believe it, and I think everybody that works for me believes it, and they understand that giving up is their failure, not the reps failure.
I think understanding that is core to getting to the bottom of the solution is that failure is not an option, and that it's not okay to say, Susie or Jane or Stevie didn't survive here because they couldn't close the business, that the reality is that you couldn't help them to close the business, right?
I'm a very tough leader, right? I'm not a let them off the hook kind of person, right?
Like, if I have to close the deal, then I don't know why I need you in the room.
And so you shouldn't ever ask me to close the deal for you.
And I think my managers believe the same thing, that if they have to close the deal, that the rep's not capable of doing the job, right?
But everything comes down to a question and pain.

[23:14] Every deal that doesn't close doesn't close because you didn't find or quantify or solve the pain.
If a person's not performing as a sales rep, it almost always comes back to those three questions. Can you find it?
Can you quantify it? Can you solve it? Right.
And so, you know, my, the best movie ever made in the history of movies was the the princess bride in the princess bride.
It's go back to the beginning, go back to the beginning, go back to the beginning.
And, um, and I think that's probably the most common piece of advice that I give.

[23:50] Is you might be over-complicating this, go articulate these things.
If you can articulate these things, you can figure it out. And it's the same thing for the sales rep, right?
What pain is the sales rep in?
And it's the pain isn't, I didn't close the deal and I'm afraid of getting fired.
That's not, that's not the pain, right?
It's, I can't figure this out, that's the pain. I can't get the customer to talk to me.
I can't get the customer to share in their language. I can't figure out how to quantify this because the customer won't buy into the methods I know how to quantify, right?
And so that's what the hand-to-hand is, is helping to ask questions.

[24:30] So that the rep can figure out their path. Does that make any sense?
Yeah, that's amazing. And it just reinforces this idea that as much as we might get frustrated as a newer sales leader, we're going backwards if we solve the problem for them.
And we're creating learned helplessness because all they learn is, well, just go talk to Al or go talk to Hamish or whatever, whenever I run into this problem.
And now they're not growing and all we're doing is getting our needs met because it's like, oh great, they come to me every time.
I don't want them to come to me.
Yeah, it's not scalable for them to come to you. I mean, there is a role for a senior executive to talk to customers.
Sure. But that role should very rarely be closing the deal. Like sure, there's a time when I might call a C-level executive, a customer and say, look, I'm short this quarter, I need a favor.
Can you pull this thing out for me? But I'm not gonna get a yes unless the salesperson has positioned it so that it's the right decision to make it.
I'm just asking for a matter of timing, right? Like, you know, is that closing?
Yes, but not really, right? All of the work had to be done for me to get there.
If I have to get there beyond something of that nature, right, then we haven't done the groundwork.
We gotta go back to the beginning.
110%, we will often teach what we call executive peer-to-peer selling.
And it's either, it's a door opener.

[25:54] Sometimes where the C-level calls the C-level and goes, hey, we're not going to get this deal done.

[26:01] Who's the right person in your organization that you can introduce my person to and let them go figure it out?
Then of course, there's the times where you call up and go, hey, listen, we're at the finish line, can we get this ball moving?
Because we've answered all the questions. That resonates with me. I've got one other question for you about the board and the sales leader.
There's someone out there who's listening right now who is not quite in front of the board on a regular basis.
Maybe they're just not invited to that, even though they're the sales leader or they're earlier in their career and they wanna be there.
What would you advise them to do in order to make them stand out as someone of consequence that the board might wanna pay attention to in the future?
So I, by the way, encourage every sales, every CEO to have their sales leader present to the board directly rather than having the CEO present to the board directly.
I think the game of operator dilutes the message.
And I think the board's ability to evaluate what the marketplace looks like is better if you're hearing it from the sales leader than you are hearing it from the CEO.
So the first thing is, if you're not being invited to the boardroom to explain what's going on, make the offer.
There's nothing wrong with saying, hey, by the way, this quarter is gonna be complicated.
There's a lot of different moving parts.

[27:24] Why don't you allow me to come in and make a one-hour presentation to the board and tell them what my approach is going to be and what I expect and let me make the commitments instead of you making the commitments.

[27:35] Any CEO with their salt is gonna relish that opportunity to allow one of their direct reports to shine or a report further down that's a sales leader to shine.
And that could be somebody who is the organization sales leader, or it could be a region that's in flux, or it could be a vertical that is important to the board.
Asking the question is usually gonna get you that access. When you walk in, I'm assuming that most of the folks who listen to this podcast have spoken senior executives know how to act in that room.
It can be intimidating the first time. Nowadays, more board meetings are on Zoom calls than they are in boardrooms. My first board meetings was I was at the end of a very long table with a bunch.

[28:24] Of people with jowls looking back across the table at me asking for results. That's not as common anymore today unless you're in a very large company boardroom. But just like you would would with a customer executive, the first thing is know your audience, right?
You should know who's on the board. You should know each of their individual priorities.
And they are not the same.
A well-built board, which most boards today are well-built and diverse, have people from different walks of life for a reason, right?
I'm usually invited into a boardroom because of my understanding of go-to-market strategies, my understanding about sales and marketing execution.
That's why I'm, don't talk to me about audit numbers, talk to me about go to market, right?
The person sitting next to me who's representing a venture investor or a private equity investor or a public investor, right?
Is gonna have a totally different set of priorities and they're gonna have a language they need to be able to be spoken to.
So just like when you're sitting in a room where you've got a diverse set of buyers and you've got an economic buyer and you've got a technical buyer, both at the table, it's okay to look at the technical buyer and say, Janet, it's important for you to understand this.
And then to look over at the financial buyer and say, Susan, this is how that impacts what you care about.

[29:43] They'll appreciate you being able to speak to them and speak their individual languages.
You don't have to dumb it down so that it's applicable to everybody because everybody has respect for everybody else in the boardroom, right?

[29:57] Fewer words are better. Pictures are better than text.
That's true in any presentation, but especially in a boardroom, if you want them to pay attention to you, don't give them text to read because they will read the text instead of listening to what you have to say.
My board presentations, unless it's something like a financial presentation, almost never have words.
I almost always use pictures with no text. Ticking and if you watch my youtube channel, you know that all of my thumbnails are pictures And I very very rarely have text to convey because I don't want to, See same concept.

[30:41] Love it. Love it. Yes. Thank you for all those insights Al so a few questions before we wrap up the first question is you have had an amazing career and and you got here through some scar tissue and some bumps and bruises, I think might be fair to say.
If you could go back and coach younger Al and go back as far as you like, what would you advise younger Al to say or do a little bit differently?
So you arrive at the same place, but maybe fewer bumps and bruises and less scar tissue.
So the biggest piece of advice that I would give younger Al is worry more about the impact you have on people than about the feelings, right?
People understand that business is business.
When you pussyfoot around things, when you don't deliver direct messages, you think you're helping people because you're not hurting their feelings.
Whether that's a customer, whether that's an employee, whether that's an investor, whether that's a vendor, being direct and effective at helping them to get the result that they need is forever endearing to them.

[31:52] Way more endearing than remembering their kid's name or their birthday or the things that they taught us in Sales 101 were important, right?
You identify a career-limiting pain for a prospect and you transform them to a point where they feel confident and safe in their career, they're gonna love you forever and they're gonna do business with you no matter what product you're selling.
Have an impact. Amen. As someone who has developed personally and professionally over the course of your career, you mentioned Patrick Lencioni previously, what would you recommend the audience check out, reading, listening to, watching, that would grow them professionally and personally that you've enjoyed in your career?
Well, clearly the Full Funnel of Freedom podcast is the number one resource that you are looking for.
You know, it's a good question. I have to confess that I don't do a lot of reading.

[32:50] I've found that the best nuggets don't, I don't find them in books.
The best nuggets come in the room when you can ask the questions.
It's surprising to me how many people will let me in the room with them.
It's surprising to me how many people will answer the questions.
One of the most transformative moments that in my understanding of this was a gentleman named Peter Schutz who passed away a few years ago.
Few years ago. You may or may not know of Peter. Peter became a public speaker but had a very successful career as a CEO. He was a CEO of Cummins Engine and Caterpillar and later Porsche and retired as CEO of Porsche. And he had said something in a speech that I attended about.

[33:40] Democratic decision-making and dictatorial execution and how the roles of those are important and it's changed the way that I managed. But I walked up to him afterwards, like everybody in the room walked up to him afterwards, and everybody wanted to shake his hand and back and forth. And I walked up to him and I said, Peter, I'm struggling with this in my management team right now. And here's an example of something that happened the other day, that I feel like this approach could help me to master, but I don't feel like I learned enough today to master it and to bring it to use.
And this is a pretty decent-sized company, a couple of hundred employees.
And it's really important that I do it. What would it take for me to hire you to spend time coaching me to learn how to do this?
And Peter said, I don't have time to talk about it now. But if you want, grab your wife, come down, stay at my house in Naples for the weekend. We'll bring out some whiteboards.
We'll put it together. And we'll figure out how to help you solve your problem.
And I did, by the way. And...
Solve the problem. He ended up joining my board the board of directors and became a mentor to me and helped me to grow, But like if I didn't ask the question if I didn't show vulnerability and say I really want to know this, He never would have answered the question. I never would have learned the things that I learned from him.

[34:58] There's there's another person. I respect a lot named Hamish who you might remember I picked up the phone and called and said I don't know how to deal with this Hamish I need help. Will you help figure this out right now?
Eventually, I ended up hiring you to do a project but that's not what happened at first I asked you to help me figure it out and you helped me figure it out Help me talk through in my head and understand the situation I was in and that's my favorite way to learn today is to find people who I think are doing it, right and Who I think have something to be proud of and ask them to help me and it's amazing.

[35:34] And how many of those people will give you advice that's way better than anything you're gonna read in a book or learn in any podcast other than the Full Funnel of Freedom episode 100.
Well, I love that story and I certainly appreciate your trust in me to reach out and ask that question.
And I was flattered that you would reach out and I'm glad that I was able to support you and the team in some small way.
So last question for you, Al, before we wrap up, You've given us a ton of amazing ideas and insights today.
What would you like to leave us with, whether it's something to plug, a closing piece of wisdom, the floor is yours.
Well, thanks. So as CRO of Stormboard, I should probably point out that you folks are working in enterprises that have left brain analytical workers go, check out and the new Storm and AI feature that we released, something I'd love to talk to any of your listeners about and reach out.
But the takeaway here and the one thing that is most important for everybody your audience to understand.
Never give the answer. Always ask the question. I've now spent all this time sitting here giving you answers to your questions, so you win because you got to ask the questions and I gave the answers. But it doesn't matter whether you're managing people, whether you're making sales.

[36:53] Whether you're building partnerships. If you want to be relevant, you're only relevant by having an impact. You only have an impact if you know the answer to the questions. Ask the questions over and over and over again, and you'll get where you want.
Amazing. Al, I have absolutely loved this conversation today and all of our conversations.

[37:11] Previous. I look forward to carrying on our visit outside of a recording. Thank you very much for being a guest on Full Funnel Freedom today.
Thank you, Hamish. And congrats again on episode 100. Thank you so much. You've been listening to the Full Funnel Freedom podcast. I've been your host, Hamish Knox. Today, we have had some amazing ideas and insights from Al Wasserberger, serial entrepreneur, investor, and currently the chief revenue officer and board member at StormBoard. The Full Funnel Freedom podcast is brought to you by Sandler Calgary. Sandler Calgary's clients desire to dominate their niche and seek to scale their sales sustainably.
If that sounds like someone you know, encourage them to check out forward slash howtosandler for more details and to book a 15 minute initial call. Thanks for Thanks for listening.
Leave us a review and a rating and share this episode with a sales leader or two in your life who you care about.
Until we connect on the next episode, go create full funnel freedom.
Thank you for listening to full funnel freedom with Amish Knox.
If you want to increase your sales with ease, go to Full Funnel Freedom.

[38:21] Music.

2023, Hamish Knox
Full Funnel Freedom

Copyright 2023, Hamish Knox, Production assistance by Clawson Solutions Group. Find them on the web at


[0:00] They need to have a team in place that's going to recruit for them. Number one, they should make it a top priority. Most individuals say it's a top priority until they, take three days to respond to a top candidate. If it's not a priority, like meeting your quota, then don't expect to have great success.
This is the Full Funnel Freedom Podcast, supporting sales leaders and managers to to improve their sales funnels from people to prospects.
I'm Hamish Knox. In this show, you'll learn how you can improve your results, lead a great team, and hit more targets with Full Funnel Freedom.
Welcome to the Full Funnel Freedom podcast. I'm your host, Hamish Knox.
Today, we will be getting ideas and insights from Dan Fantasia, the founder of Treeline, who has been advancing sales professionals' careers since 2001.
Let's hear from one of our affiliate partners.
The perfect CRM system, streamlined business processes, and happier customers.
Allegio CRM Inc can make it happen for your business. Go to slash Allegio for more details. That's slash E-L-I-G-E-O.

[1:22] So my guest today, Dan Fantasia, founded Treeline. His exclusive focus is on helping companies build world-class elite sales teams, and he has changed the lives of over 3,300 sales professionals. Dan has built a deep knowledge of what it takes to build and grow top-producing businesses. As a proven sales leader and innovator, Dan has created positively charged cultures at Treeline. Dan has been a contributor to Fox News. His firm has won numerous awards, including Best Best Places to Work, Inc Magazine, Fastest Growing Companies, Fast 50 in Boston, and so much more.
Dan, welcome to Full Funnel Freedom.
Yeah, Mitch, thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it.
You're very welcome. So I've given the audience, you know, the 30,000 foot view of who you are and where you're at today.

[2:10] Take us down a level, tell us the story about Dan. What prompted you to start Treeline and all the good things that you've been doing since you launched that company?
That sounds good, that's fair. I graduated from UMass Amherst.
I actually studied environmental design with a concentration in architecture.
Had no idea what I wanted to do. I spent my senior year in Denmark.
And then the following year, I spent in a van with a good friend of mine traveling the United States.
We ended up in Wyoming, became a ski bum for Jacksonville Ski Corps, and it was just a wonderful experience.
When I got back, I had to figure out what my options were. So I was trying to leverage my architectural environmental design degree.
I started at a company working nights, just working the night shift until I moved up to the general manager.
And basically that required me to sell. That's where I really learned that I was pretty good at sales and should be in it.
After a few years, I realized it was time to advance my career.
I went to a search firm, a recruiting firm.

[3:10] And they sat me down and said, I was looking for a software sales opportunity at the time, but they sat me down and said, we know that you have a bunch of offers on the table our clients, but why not consider this company?" And I said, well, tell me more about it. I had no, idea what I was getting into. So I happened to join that company and I was horrible at it.
I just wasn't good at recruiting. I was naive and I had no leadership. But after about six months, my CEO sat me down and said, you've got to figure this out. And so the next year I began the number three producer the next year was the number one producer nationally.

[3:44] Grew a team, became the youngest managing partner. And while I had a tremendous amount of success and loved what I was doing, I think all of the travel and the experience I had really helped me with adversity and to understand people. But one thing that happened at this company I was at was that it became really cutthroat and the environment was changing.
So I decided to leave and that's when I started Treeline in March of 2001, six months before September 11th. At the time, branding Treeline as an executive search firm was not a wonderful idea.
I mean, no one knew what the heck we did, but fighting through it, getting it done, making it happen, the company continued to grow.
And the idea behind Treeline was something bigger than all of us and bigger than any one of the employees and a company that had an unbelievable culture, totally driven on success and positive attitude and support. And it became a contagiously positive environment.
And we just continued to grow. And until today, we've been in business for 22 years, exclusively working with companies to help them find top talented sales professionals.

[5:02] And also helping sales individuals advance their careers, both professionally as well as financially, finding opportunities they really can't find on their own, and helping them to, like I said, advance their careers. That's amazing. And I love to hear more about the culture.

[5:19] There's a podcast recently that we did on corporate culture, and you've obviously got a great one because you've won best places to work and things like that. So from your perspective, how did you go about or how did you go about building out that culture? And what lessons could we take from what you've done to.
Build out our own positive cultures in our sales teams? I think it all comes from the top. It's a belief system that we all have. It's about transparency.

[5:48] Open, honest dialogue, which I think many times people struggle with. As a matter of fact, I think we even have to train our teammates on open dialogue, what that means. Because that means that if you disagree with someone or something, you have to speak your mind. You're not getting and let go. We just want to hear opinions. We want to hear ideas. We want to hear creativity and no one should be bashful. And so the company knows exactly where we are all the time, every day, every week, every quarter. We're constantly communicating with the entire team so that everyone knows exactly where we are as an organization financially, where we are revenue, where they are from a revenue perspective. I mean, everything, it's so transparent, there's no place to hide. And as a result, because of that, everyone has a hand on an oar and everyone's rolling in the same direction. And everyone feels really good about what we've accomplished, what we're doing. And they feel really good about, you know, helping people advance their careers. It's really, really great. That's amazing. But it also, it can sound scary.
You know, I imagine a few people who are listening right now, like, oh, wow. Like, I mean, you let everybody know all of that stuff. So when you bring someone onto the team, like you shared earlier, you almost got to train your team members on this, on being transparent.

[7:06] What have you experienced in terms of bringing someone on who kind of got scared by that level of transparency in your organization?
Oh, I think everyone's scared. Fair. Fair. You know, like when everyone gets started, the transparency is I think it's uncomfortable for most people because they're just not used to it.
They're just not used to open dialogue like they're, they think they've come from an environment where everyone is open.

[7:34] But it is not, it's not the case. I mean, when I say open dialogue, I mean, if it's on your mind, let's talk about it.
We do something that helps with this on a quarterly basis.
We do something called a, we call it a start, stop, keep. You may have heard of this before.
Basically what does the company need to start doing?
What does the company need to stop doing? What does the company need to keep doing?
We do it anonymously, but we bring that up at the end of our quarter and we talk through those start stop keeps because it's helpful for, to get new ideas, to understand it's anonymous, so we're just trying to figure out what are your thoughts, what are you thinking?
What ideas are out there? And some ideas are horrible.
So you have to feel comfortable realizing that the ideas aren't great, but no one feels silly about throwing on an idea, right? It's perfect.
It's all about creativity and the business world is moving so fast.
If your team is not contributing with new ideas and trying new things, then you just can't move the company forward. If you can't move the company forward, then you're basically dying.

[8:36] So you need that input. You don't know it all.
You need the team on board with you, at least in my opinion.
Very fair. If the entrepreneur or the owner is the smartest person in the room, that company's probably got a ceiling in terms of growth.
So you've got this great core culture at Treeline and you're working with these organizations to find the right professional sellers.
So how does that culture translate to when you're going out to market and you're prospecting, qualifying, keeping clients long-term? Help us understand that a bit more.

[9:12] So one of our core values is doing the right thing. Do what's right.
Right? And so for 22 years, while we've seen a tremendous amount of growth, we are a niche player.
Focus only on hiring or helping our clients hire talented sales professionals. So there's one thing we can't do. We can't burn our brand. I mean, it is super important. So that means that when we're calling on our candidates or job seekers for new opportunities, we really become trusted advisors.
We want to understand what they've done in their career. We want to understand what their strengths are. We want to understand what they're looking for from a compensation standpoint, from an industry standpoint, so on and so forth. And then when we highly recommend a new opportunity to them, we have to make sure it's a great opportunity. If it's not the right fit for them, just tell us, because that open dialogue goes both ways, right? It's not just in the company, it's around the company, it is with our candidates, with our clients. So if we don't think it's a good fit and we're worried, then we'll tell you. Because the last thing we want to do is help somebody find an opportunity or help a company hire an individual that's not a good fit, because after three months or six months, if it doesn't work out.

[10:21] Guess what? Now the candidate's mad, the client's pissed, you feel horrible. And so what we don't want is we don't want that pit. If you ever helped someone find an opportunity that didn't work out, you get this really empty pit in your stomach. And it's a horrible feeling, because now you've disrupted their career, they're looking again, it's just an absolute mess. And so for us, it's more important to help our clients find the right fit, both candidate and client, so they can sustain a career and success. And when they sustain a career and they're successful in the organization and the company is successful with this person, they keep coming to us, they refer us. And so while that is a slow way to grow business, it is a wonderful way to grow brand, to build your brand, right? To have that brand equity, because now you have the candidates that have great experience. If you look at our reviews, we've got a million five-star reviews. So you have the candidates love you, the clients love you, you do the right thing. And as a result, we have very little fallout, very little turnover.
Like I think we had two people last year of the hundreds of people we helped find opportunities to fell out. And that's because something changed at the company.

[11:31] Sure. Either the manager changed or the company got acquired or something changed.
Wow. So then when you are looking for opportunities, right? So what makes a great fit if you're, say, putting, we'll do both sides. You want to find a candidate, a great fit. What have you seen over your career that makes a great fit landing spot for a professional salesperson?

[11:57] Time. Meaning when people come to us because something changes and they're in a rush, Now, they're desperate.
Now it's emotional. Now, they're just taking something to take it.
They want a job. They want to make it fit no matter what. If they have concerns as they're going through the interview process, they kind of ignore them or brush them off because they want a new job.
If you're happy where you are, and maybe you're just a little bit uncertain, or you're a top producer and you're crushing it, you are crazy not to be talking to someone at our company.
Because when you talk to a recruiter, it doesn't mean that you're actively looking for a new job. It doesn't mean you have to leave today, but you want someone, you want to talk to someone about your strengths and what you're looking for financially, what base salary you want, or what base salary range you want, what on target earnings you want, where you want to be, what kind of software company or hardware, whatever it is, whatever you want to be part of, right, whatever industry.

[12:51] Deliver that message to a partner, a recruiter, what have you, and then have them look for you.
As jobs come up, we will let you know when something that meets your criteria comes up.
If you have nobody looking for you, you'll never hear about those jobs. So guess what happens?
You have no runway when something does change at your company. Now you're forced to look and now you're in a rush. But if you get to us early enough and say, you know what, Dan, let me consider opportunities that meet these criteria. If you can meet these criteria and I can help you find a job that's a better technology, more compensation or a higher income level, don't you want to hear about it? You don't have to say yes to it. You don't have to take an interview. You don't have to accept an offer, but don't you want to hear about those companies that are looking? So my advice would be give yourself plenty of runway, establish the relationship early on so that you're you're not stuck.
I love that. And I appreciate it could be hard. Like I have a loyalty script, right?
I grew up in a rural area on a farm. So I've got that loyalty script and it could be really hard.
But like you just said, you're asking to see a menu.
You're not ordering.

[13:57] That's exactly right. I love that. I love that. So doing that as a high performer, you do end up in that right fit. Cause you're right.
Anytime we move too quickly, it's like a rebound relationship.
And I get sometimes rebound relationships work out. Please don't message me and say, I got into a rebound relationship and everything was wonderful and we've been together for decades.
Fine, I get it, you're a unicorn. But if we have that opportunity to really sit back and consider we make better choices.
So now let's flip the script. So now I'm a sales leader.
I'm coming to you and your team going, hey Dan, I wanna be on the lookout for really awesome sellers to add to my team.
What would you be coaching me to do to make sure that I'm supporting you and your team find the best people for me. Love it. All right.
So the first thing I'd want to do is just consult with you and understand the culture, the environment, what your top performers look like.
The second thing I'd want to understand is the hard and soft skills.
What are the soft skills of those top performers and what are the hard skills of those top performers?
Meaning those top performers in your sales environment, what's your average deal size, what's your quota, what is your sales cycle? Are they transactional? Are they strategic?
You know, there's a million things that I want to talk to, because what I want to understand is, if you have a transactional sales environment.
Then we need to be finding transactional salespeople. If your average deal size is $30,000.

[15:21] And your average sales cycle is three to six months or one to three months, great.

[15:26] And your quota is $650,000, great. We'll find you a person that meets that criteria. What we don't want to do is have that type of environment and then introduce you to a enterprise sales representative that sounds spectacular. They sit down with you, they do this awesome presentation.
You decide that you're going to hire them and you've misjudged their selling characteristics and how they misalign with your selling environment. So now you have a transactional sales environment, but an enterprise salesperson, you love them, you hire them, they quit after three months or six months because they're not built for a transactional environment. They can't keep up with the metrics that you require for them to be successful.
So now you're frustrated, they're frustrated, and it doesn't work out. We sit down and we want to consult with the company to understand all of those hard skills and the soft skills to make sure that when we go to market, we're looking for the right individuals for your company. We'll talk about competitors or industries that really work well in your field.
We'll go after those markets, we'll hunt these people down, we'll fully interview them and qualify them to make sure that they meet those hard skills and the soft skills, and then we'll introduce them to you. The challenge for most companies, they don't typically understand this.
So then they go to market, they just look for like a salesperson. And if they do understand it, which is awesome. Those are the best companies to work for. If they do understand them, then their challenge usually is they can't build like a people funnel. They don't know how to recruit.

[16:53] They've never built it as a leadership skill for the VP of the CRO for the enterprise. And so they end up getting only a few candidates and they end up hiring the best of the worst.

[17:05] And that's where the challenges tend to happen. So it's understanding those hard and soft skills.
And then it's having the resources required to bring top talent to your organization.
If you don't do that, you end up hiring crappy candidates and the rest is history. Yeah. Fair enough.
Double-click on resources for a second. When you talk about resources to bring on those high level A players, what specifically should a sales leader be planning to do from your experience?
They need to have a team in place that's going to recruit for them.
Number one, they should make it a top priority.
Most individuals say it's a top priority until they take three days to respond to a top candidate, right?
If it's not a priority, like meeting your quota, then don't expect to have great success.

[17:56] So you need to make sure it's a top priority. And in order to be a top priority, you need to have the resources to recruit for you.
Now, the downside is if you have internal HR team recruiting, they typically have a lot of different roles that they're trying to fill.

[18:10] Yeah. What they don't realize is how important sales is. If you have an open territory, a $1.2 million territory, that means it generates $100,000 a month. And if that territory is empty for three months, you're down 300 grand. Talent acquisition doesn't always necessarily understand that, right? And so because they don't understand that it's maybe not their top priority and you've got to push to make sure it's their top priority because sales recruiting is tough. It is different than any other recruiting. And if they're not good at it, if they're not comfortable calling on a top producer and confident enough to convince them to spend time speaking with them, and that there was an opportunity that could change their lives, they will not get those candidates. Instead, they'll post a job, they'll get whoever applies, and they'll pass those people along to the sales manager. So you need to, if it's not a number one priority for you, it's not a number one priority for them or for the enterprise, and you just won't get the talent that you need. The second thing I would do is learn how to sell. It's going to sound insulting, but nine times out of 10, when we sit down and do an intake call with our clients, we say, why should we work? Why should a person work here? They talk about the technology of the product or what have you, but what we really want to know is the intangibles. Why are you there? What is so dynamic about the company? What makes it so exciting? Like learn how to sell transparently between two humans, why it's such a great place to be. That's how you win people over.

[19:38] Godly Number three, I'd say, assume that no one wants the opportunity, leave your ego at the door, don't have them like pushing, don't push so hard on reps that you got 10 interviews and they're jumping through hoops because really the top players aren't going to wait around for that.

[19:53] They're going to move on to find better opportunities or you're going to turn them off.
And so just make sure that while you have a rigid sales or rigid interview process, you're not turning off the best players.
And if you are, find out where you're going wrong, where things are going wrong. And then I'd say, you know what? Make sure that you move quickly, move fast. Right?
You know what I mean? If you can't hire in two weeks, you're doing something wrong.
If you find a really good candidate, you should be able to move that person along easily within two weeks. If you can't do it that fast, then it's not a priority for the entire organization and slowness would just turn people off. So those are the things that I would suggest as a company. The last thing you talked about, if you can't hire within two weeks, walk us through that. Because there's the cliche of hire slow, fire fast, right? And I get hiring top performers, they're not going to wait around. So when you talk about hiring, like hiring in within that two weeks, there's more to it than just like, oh, we've got a good candidate, make him an offer. What goes into that sort of a quick turnaround on bringing a good seller on board?
Right. If you were to say to a company, what are your challenges and weaknesses? Well, we keep losing candidates in the process. We need to move the process a little bit fast. Okay.
Have you done that? No, we haven't. Why not? Why can't you fit? If you have two weeks is 14 days.

[21:14] I'm not saying move the, you know, change the process or remove stages of it. I'm saying.

[21:20] Move it quickly. Why take a month? What's the purpose? Like why take a month? If you know someone has to do five stages, why take a month? Everyone that's involved in an interview process should be prepared and meaning everyone in the interview process should carve out one hour a day or one hour every day that is reserved for interviewing talented individuals. And as you go through the process, maybe after you do the first interview, if you like someone, you should set expectations with your team that I'm going to book a person in your calendar in the next week during this interview time that I think is really good. And by the way, if I'm going to book it in the second person's interview schedule, then the third person's interview schedule, the fourth person. And if by the way, they don't make it at any point through the process with one of these individuals, I'll delete them out of your schedule. But for now, I want this booked and ready to go because I've got a territory that is down and not producing revenue, and I need to make sure this is a priority for everyone in the organization. Absolutely. Yeah. And my experience, personally or professionally, people make time for things that are important to them.
Yeah, when people say, oh, I don't have time for that's code for it's not important to me.
It works with your kids just as well as it does with your team members.
So then if we have all of these resources laid out, right, so we've got this process, we can accelerate it because we know that we need to accelerate to get these high performers.

[22:44] So great, they've been hired. I've been in this position. It's hire and forget.
Hey, Dan, welcome aboard. Go sell stuff. Talk to you later when you're not performing.
What advice do you give to your clients in terms of actually taking that high performer from, hi, welcome aboard the company to, hey, you're our top performer at this company in this short window of time? It's amazing how often you sit down and talk to a company and you say, yeah, I just need to hire salespeople. And when I hire a salesperson, they're going to crush.

[23:15] It. That's not how it works. You could be the number one rep from a competitor and you come into a new environment with a new organization, you need onboarding, you need training, you need a functional accountability. I think as a team gets going, you need, obviously, excellent onboarding and training. However, you want to do that is up to you. Then you need functional accountability.
And something that is very helpful to get someone started if this is new for you. As you interview, as the person's finishing the interview process, do a 30, 60, 90 day plan. Have the interviewer, interviewee do a 30, 60, 90 day plan and not, you can judge the plan of course, but to understand what they want to do in their first 30, 60, 90 days so that when they start, you can edit and tweak this based on what you believe the requirement is over that 30, 60, 90, but you all have a playbook to get started with. And now you have accountability because the person that has been interviewing just told you what needs to be accomplished in the first 30 days. And if you don't agree with it, you need to tweak it or you need to explain what you do as a organization.
Same in the first 60, same in the first 90. And then that same functional accountability should hold true for the next 12 months. But part of this job is understanding how to ramp up and train the individuals on product and on sales, but also how to hold them accountable to the the activity metrics that are required to be successful in this environment.

[24:44] Absolutely. And it goes to the fact that if you're co-building, right, this kind of sounds like transparency, like what you talked about earlier, Dan, right? Let's be transparent with each other before I've come on board your team. Because as soon as I'm on board the team, now we've got legal involved and now we've got severance potentially and all that kind of mucky stuff that we want to avoid. So yeah, let's build this early so that if there are any yellow or red flags, we can either turn them green or you can possibly disqualify me. Fair?
Right. Exactly. When you're interviewing people, there's no need to oversell somebody. Be realistic. Again, transparent with them. A lot of times when we interview, we'll say, it's not an interview. We just want to try to find the right opportunity. You don't have to sell me. I'm not going to sell you. Let's just talk about if this is a good fit or not, especially when we're hiring for ourselves. You don't have to sell me. I'm going to tell you what's good and bad about this opportunity. And by doing that, we can help sustain the career of individuals that that joined the company because they know coming in what's good and bad.

[25:43] They understand it, right? I don't want to oversell you. Don't oversell me.
If you're not capable of the job, don't put yourself in that type of situation.
It's not worth it. Let's just find a good match.
Yeah, absolutely. So, as we're getting towards the end of our visit today, Dan, I've got a few questions for you, but I am curious, aside from what you've already mentioned around organizations maybe don't have, they think that people could just sell for them or other red flags.
What are some of the other yellow and red flags that you see from sales leaders who are coming to you going, I need help hiring? And as you go through this interview consulting process, you're like, oh, this is a giant house fire. We got to put these house fires out. What do you look for that makes you say, run for the hills, I don't want this business?

[26:30] When we're talking to a company. When you're talking to a company.
Yeah, yeah. So when we are consulting with an organization, any firm and most companies, most CROs or VPs, they know, they believe they know exactly what they want. And it's fine.
Will go to market.
And track every person we reach out to. We will understand what our outreach looks like. We'll talk to you about what candidates are interested and what candidates are not interested.

[26:59] For companies that can't pivot, so two things. Number one, if it's not urgent, it's not important to them, we'll fire them because we're not going to waste all this time if you don't have the urgency. Bring your great candidate and we'll lose them in three days if you're not ready to at least talk to them. So you got to be serious. And then you have to be flexible because your understanding of the market is probably inaccurate. It's only accurate if you have the data to support your conclusions. So when we go to market, we will bring you the data. We're talking to candidates. The candidates that you want to hire may be making significantly more money than you're offering, or they all have non-competes because they're working for a competitor, right? So we need to figure that out. We can't just go after your competitors if every one of them have a non-compete. So if you have no flexibility to understand the data that we're sharing with you and you're not willing to pivot, we can't help you because there's no silver bullet, there's nothing that we can do that's going to change this. Now, if you're understanding, you look at all the data and you look at all the information we give you because the Treeline resume, the same thing is very transparent. It talks about your average deal size, your sales cycle, your compensation structure. We give you all this information for every single candidate that you interview.
As a result, it's transparent, we don't waste a lot of time.
That means that when you're talking to.

[28:18] And interviewing these candidates, you can understand what their background is, what they've done, what they've accomplished, and if they are potentially a good fit for your organization.
Got it. So we say in martial arts, what doesn't bend, breaks. So very similar in your world, if you're like, listen, I need this. Awesome. Go find that somewhere else. Is that fair to say?
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, if you have no flexibility to pivot and change, the market is going to define what you can and can't hire. If the person costs too much money based on the level of experience you want, then reduce the level of experience or increase your compensation.
But you have to change if there's, if you're very rigid and you have no flexibility around, you know, the data that we're giving to you, you're not going to get a hire because there's, there's not much more we can do. It's, it's what the market's telling us. And so if you can't pivot around that, I don't know how you're going to get your hires.
Absolutely. Absolutely. Dan, I'm curious if you could go back and coach younger Dan, right? So go back as far as you like. It could be like three months ago. It doesn't matter, but you go back and go, hey, younger Dan, you're going to be in this awesome place, you could run in this great company, you also have a lot of scar tissue and a bunch of bumps and bruises.
What would you coach younger Dan to say or do differently that would get you to the same place but with a little less scar tissue and fewer bumps and bruises?
Dan I think you need the bumps and bruises. Marshall Yeah.

[29:40] Dan Whatever advice I would give myself, I would say the bumps and bruises have helped us get here. You know, it's, I would say I would say keep a positive attitude, move forward.

[29:57] Don't give up.
Adversity is part of life and business and you're gonna have to expect to tough it out and work harder if you have to.
I love it. Great, great advice. And yeah, those bumps and bruises are also learning opportunities.
Yeah. But sometimes we'd appreciate a few or less lessons, so to speak.
I don't know, I think you need, you just need them.
That's kind of what develops you. So I think a positive attitude.
But you have to have the right mindset, right? This too shall pass, right?
You know, nothing is permanent. So when you look at your own development, because you are someone who is constantly learning and growing yourself, what are you reading, listening to, or watching for your own professional and personal development that our audience might want to check out for themselves?
You know what? I just listened to an awesome book. It was called the Comfort Crisis.
Just awesome. I loved it. I thought it was good. So I thought that was great. And I also, a matter of fact, I'm looking for, I'm just reading this book right now, Key Person of Influence. It's a pretty good book that I've got right now. I really find it interesting. So that's another good book to consider. I appreciate that. We'll put those links in the show notes. And so, Dan, final question for you. What would you like to plug, a final bit of wisdom or insight that you'd like to leave our audience with today? The floor is yours? If you're looking to build a sales team, or if you're looking for one salesperson.

[31:21] If you're struggling and confused, feel free to call me. I can't tell you how often we consult with companies at no cost, of course, just to help them figure it out. So if you're struggling, you know what? Email me, connect with me on LinkedIn, go to our contact us page on our website, which is You can email me directly fantasia at and just reach out. Even if you just want to get a lay of the land or see what's happening in the market, you don't need to buy from us to get a lot of great, valuable advice.
I appreciate that. Dan, we will put all of those links in the show notes except your email, because I don't want you to all of a sudden be on a bunch of newsletter lists that you didn't subscribe to. It's been great hanging out with you. I look forward to carrying our conversation on offline. Thank you for being on Full Funnel Freedom today.
Thank you for having me.

[32:16] You've been listening to the Full Funnel of Freedom podcast. I've been your host, Hamish Knox. Today we have got some incredible ideas and insights from Dan Fantasia, founder of Treeline on how to successfully onboard and find the right sellers to grow our sales teams.
The Full Funnel of Freedom podcast is brought to you by Sandler Calgary. If you desire to dominate your niche and seek to scale sales sustainably, go to forward slash how to Sandler to book a 15-minute initial call. Thanks for listening. Leave us a rating and review. Share this episode with a sales leader in your network you care about.
And until we connect on the next episode, go create full funnel freedom.
Thank you for listening to full funnel freedom with Amish Knox. If you want to increase your sales with ease, go to Full Funnel Freedom.

[33:09] Music.