11 Oct

Dale Bierce

published on October 11, 2012 - 6:11 AM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

Dale Bierce
Fresno Center Founder
Sandler Training

Education:  I fully intended to complete my business degree at West Hills Community College while stationed at NAS Lemoore, but fun got in the way.
Age:  49
Family:  Wife of 25 years: Martha, son Bryan: recently graduated from University of Oregon and currently roaming around Europe for six weeks visiting other Sandler training centers before joining my company. Tyler: Senior year architecture student at Cal Poly SLO, Alyssa: 3rd year photography major at CSU Long Beach. 

Tell me about Sandler Training, how and when you became a local Sandler Training owner, what you do on a typical workday and how Sandler’s techniques have helped local businesses.

It’s funny, Sandler Training is the global leader in sales force development with 250 training centers in 25 countries worldwide and a 40-year history, and yet no one’s heard of us. From mom-and-pop business owners to Fortune 500 giants, we use an ongoing reinforcement method to teach people an honest, straightforward approach to sales or sales management and coach them through the implementation.
After a lifetime in sales I stumbled across Sandler in 2006 in Eugene, Ore. and had the same experience that my clients now have. We wanted to return to Fresno and Sandler gave me a reason, so we moved back and I opened the Central California training center in Fresno in 2008. I still conduct all of the sales training, sales management training and customer service training sessions that we do every week. The rest of my week is divided between coaching business owners, sales managers, or salespeople, public speaking, and doing the necessary prospecting and selling.

What makes your job special and what do you like most about what you do, Dale?

It is unbelievably gratifying to see someone grow professionally and personally as a result of what we do. What people get out of Sandler, they never see coming, and it’s awesome to watch how they change.  The first time a client said to me “you and Sandler changed my life”, I welled up. I’ll never forget that feeling. I always admired people who made their living at something that made them burn. Now I am one, and it’s cool.

How long have you lived in the Fresno area, Dale?

I came to Fresno in 1983. By 1996 Martha and I were married and had three kids when we moved to Eugene. We shook the mold off and moved back to Fresno in 2008.

What did you do prior to joining Sandler Training, Dale?

I’ve been a straight commission salesperson for 20+ years and still am. It may say president on the business card, but our growth is because I’m practicing what I coach.  The last 12 years before Sandler were spent selling luxury motor homes.  

What is your key business strategy, Dale?  

These two are the most important: 1) before agreeing to take on a new client relationship, we insist on the quantifiable potential for them to see a return on investment. We know that long term improvement takes long term effort and investment. But, if we can’t be relatively certain that they can realize a return of 3-5 times what they invest in us, we won’t want them as a client and they shouldn’t want us. We must make them money. Otherwise we’re expensive entertainment, and that’s a short-lived business model in any city, but certainly in Fresno. 2) Ongoing reinforcement training and coaching as a learning model. People change far more slowly than they learn. Knowing what to do, being able to do it, and doing it automatically as a habit, are vastly different things.

What is the worst thing a company can do in a down economy, Dale?

Not proactively manage its outlook and beliefs at the leadership level. Our belief about ourselves, our company, and our marketplace largely dictates the actions we’re willing or unwilling to take, and the level of energy and commitment we bring to those actions. Beliefs drive performance, or inhibit creativity.

What was the best business advice you ever received, Dale?

This was maybe not the “best” advice ever, but valuable for sure. A mentor once told me: “slow down to speed up”. Advice I desperately needed at the time. A client recently gave me wording I like better for this wise, but illusive, habit:  
“Slow is smooth and smooth is fast”.
Don’t take that to mean I’ve mastered that one yet.

What was your first job, Dale?

My first real job was at McDonald’s. I worked my way through every position at some point and I remember it as a great experience. I still remember working the McDonald’s at the Ohio State Fair one summer. What a hoot.

What do you like to do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies? What kind of entertainment do you enjoy, Dale?
I’ve been a runner since my early teens. Martha and I are home improvement nuts, and I’m an ocean sailing fanatic with dreams of circumnavigating under sail. I dislike TV and prefer live entertainment of all sorts.

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