Spotlight | Bob Chapman, Sandler Sales Coach

Bob Chapman has more than 30 years experience in product marketing, sales management and personal sales production.

For nearly 20 years, he’s helped sales people, managers and business owners develop the skills to outsell their most optimistic projections.

Bob is an extraordinary sales trainer and coach, and I’ve had the privilege to work with and learn from him for nearly a decade.

Why do you teach & coach?

Why is Bob such a strong proponent of the Sandler Sales System? “It’s simple,” he says. “I can’t predict what will prompt a life-changing moment, but nothing matches that feeling of pride and joy when it happens. Sandler training changes lives.”

When he first met Clara Shappe, for example, she was a 50-something woman working in St. Charles, Missouri and earning $18,000 a year as a receptionist. She completed Bob’s training and diligently followed his coaching advice. Soon she landed a job as a Prudential insurance agent. “Sandler training transformed her life,” Bob says. “It was a powerful moment when she told me she’d just become the 13th top sales person in all of Prudential.”

He cites his experience with Mark Sondles, who called after a few weeks of coaching to say that a simple five-word question had eliminated his fear of closing. Mark told him this fear had for years hampered his success, but the new technique was making money for him every single week.

He teaches because of Tim, a young engineer who had a classic “Ah-HA” moment, after months of training and struggle. Tim realized he needed to reprogram his thinking, so he made a commitment to create an affirmation and use it every day for the rest of his sales career. Six years later, he dropped in to visit one of Bob’s training sessions. Tim revealed he’s continued this affirmation day after day, year after year — and today, he’s the top producer in a team of 30 sales people.

Bob does it because of the client who was struggling to redirect her business. Very well paid by large corporate clients, she ran into pricing issues when she approached smaller companies in her region. Once she learned to believe how good she was, prospective clients believed it, too, and she began landing significant contracts at her price.

What's your background?

Working with clients brings the greatest satisfaction. Bob says, “It’s gratifying to see clients achieve professional goals and reach income levels beyond their wildest expectations. What’s even better is so many of them take time to call or write to share their successes or thank me for my help. At least once a month, I get to hear someone say, ‘I used your suggestion and got the contract!’”

Early in his career, Bob refused to think of himself as a sales person. How then did he become such a successful speaker, trainer and coach?

“I couldn’t do what sales people did,” he says. “Sales people were pushy, aggressive and slick. I didn’t want to be seen that way. Let’s face it, lots of folks have the same reaction. Then I found the power of non-traditional sales skills.”

In one instance, a group of banks wanted their branch personnel to sell annuities to depositors, but the staff cringed at the word “sell.” Instead of selling, Bob taught them to ask questions. When they heard the right answers, their depositors would buy the annuities. They discovered selling was not about making a sale, it was about helping people buy.

What’s the biggest obstacle to learning how to sell effectively? People like to blame poor sales on a tough economy, he says, but the greatest obstacles are more personal. “I ask potential clients a few key questions,” Bob says. “Do you have a clear vision of what success looks like for you? For your company? Are you willing to invest the time and money to learn and grow? Are you determined enough to turn your goals into reality?”

How do you find clients?

Most of Bob’s clients come through direct referral. “Satisfied clients are my best marketing resource,” he says. In addition, he’s frequently invited to address individual businesses as well as local Chambers of Commerce, and commercial, industrial, professional and service associations. “Often, at the end of one of these presentations, someone will hand me their card and say ‘give me a call’ or ‘my sales team needs to hear this.’”

His clients represent a broad range of industries, but professional service firms represent a rapidly growing client group. Some of his most popular presentations include: The Art of Selling Today; Why Sales People Don’t Prospect; Selling in a Difficult Economy; Break the Rules, Sell More; Stop Trying to Sell & Grow Your Practice; The Professional Advantage; and Take Your Practice to the Next Level.

What's the bottom line?

People who are driven to succeed have certain common traits.

They have a vision, they’re willing to invest in themselves and their success, and they’re focused and determined. Learning to sell effectively is just that easy and just that challenging.

To see an example of Bob's ability to improve sales and drive bottom line results, read Success Stories | Focus on Results. To contact him, call him or send a quick email.


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