This month I am honored to feature the CEO of Sandler Training in Miami, FL, Mr. Carlos Garrido, for our SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW.

Thanks for taking the time to sit with us, Carlos.

Q:  First off, how does a Brit end up with a name like Carlos Garrido living in Miami?

A: Ha! Ely… as you can imagine, it is quite a shock to many people.  Especially as I spend quite a lot of time presenting at events and trainings.  In Miami, when people see “Carlos Garrido” on the program, they don’t expect him to sound like me!  Born in the UK, I spent over 15 years in Investment Banking and Business development in the UK, mainly in Manchester (where the good football [soccer] is played) and London.  I worked for companies like PwC and ASTRAZENECA leading deals and strategy.  When AZ asked if I could help them with their Latin America Business Development, working from Miami… How could I refuse?  Looking out over Miami Beach is a little more exotic than looking out over the Manchester Ship Canal.  Once here in Miami I fell into the trap so many do, I didn’t want to leave.

For around 20 years, Antonio (my Brother) and I had been talking about having our own business but we were in the classic ‘Velvet Lined Rut’ – both with great careers (his in Sales, Sales Management and ultimately General Management) and too comfortable to take the jump.  Then one day when he was visiting in Miami… we got very drunk and 9 months later we were the owners of a brand new business! True Story.

Our original ‘Drunken’ plan was to buy a business.  Find a moribund, tired business and build it out; and we did indeed find a business, a pool cue manufacturer, but that plan went a little pear-shaped when Antonio discussed the plan with his Sandler Sales coach.  He had been a client and fan of Sandler for years and his coach connected Antonio’s skills at Sandler with the market opportunity Miami offered.  Antonio was sold instantly, me not so much.  I initially said ‘no’ but I visited a number of Sandler trainings across the world over the next few months and fell in love with the program.  I began to realize how much money I had been leaving on the table for years.  I just thought that sales was hard and that’s it!  I started talking to clients of Sandler and they told me how it had impact their lives. I wanted to help people who had been struggling with the same things I had.

Q: And how is business? Who have you been helping?

A: Business is really exciting at the moment.  We have a really interesting model.  We serve clients from the smallest you can imagine (a single guy who wants to invest in himself and grow his small business) to massive international companies, and everyone in-between.  With over 250 training sites around the world we can and do train our clients’ people in every major market.

Q: Which is your favorite type of client?

A: I love them all for different reasons.  With people really struggling in small businesses we really take the sharp edges off their day to day.  Get them working hard at prospecting to build their business and fixing their client interactions.  Stopping the free consulting, learning how to minimize the ‘Think it overs’, avoiding discounts, keeping clients for longer.  All the things that are stopping them from growing their business.  For more successful teams we make them more effective and efficient working on sales process, sales management and coaching leadership.  With all our clients we have an enormous impact.  Often to their surprise. Ha! They honestly don’t expect sales training and BD consulting to work.

Q: Why do you think that is?

A: Because in honesty most of it doesn’t.  Impact training can’t change anything.  Seminars just don’t work… we train.  Our training room is like a boxing sparing ring, or a golf driving range.  Where you can learn new techniques and behaviors and then practice live.  Imagine watching a seminar on boxing and then stepping into a ring with a prize fighter … You would be murdered in there.  We give the seminars in pieces with sparing and practice as a crucial element at each step.  Then you can get in front of prospects with a little more confidence.  That’s how I see it anyway.

We work with a telecoms company locally, training the team, training the management, helping them hire and manage their talent, coaching the leaders, linking sales to operations and marketing.  In 8 months we have increased the performance of the company (top line) by 566%.  That kind of change takes time.

Q: You clearly love what you do… I can see it in your face as you describe your clients.

A: Who wouldn’t? We work with such a diverse range.  I worked with a team of general surgeons and revolutionized their prospecting and Practice Development skills.  Who knew they even had to sell?  I Love working with professionals (lawyers, accountants, etc) because they hate to see themselves as sales people and I teach them to love it!  We work with Insurance Companies, Technology companies, Manufacturing companies, the range surprises me every day.  And so the range of issues I deal with is just as broad.  It keeps me sharp and engaged.

Q: So what’s next for Sandler in Miami?

A: We are increasing the size of our team but we will remain committed to top quality client service and supporting that full range of clients.  We are also formalizing some of the services we already do for clients into distinct business services such as Sales and Leadership Recruitment, Talent Management, Appointment Setting, etc.  This is a really exciting time in our development.

Q: And finally, I always like to ask on behalf of our readers… What would a great referral look like for you?

A: We help so many different people Ely, but they all have some things in common: they have some success already and that has made them hungry for more; typically they have a level of frustration that their organization or their team is not performing at the level they should, sales and margins are behind where they want them to be.  They also typically have an open mind as to they way they go to market and are willing to change a lot about the way they interact with prospects and clients to drive more success.  Industries to think about (but not exclusively) would be financial services, technology, professional services, manufacturing companies, telecoms, medical services… But these are just ideas…. We honestly work with anyone.

Thanks for the interview Ely.