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Creating Success by Design

Creating Success by Design

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Ethan Rusnack, Hamish Knox, Sandra Crozier-McKee, Carrie Tuttle and Nisha Berman. Photo by Riverwood Photography.

Hamish Knox’s path to sales and leadership training intersected and doubled back to ensure he encountered the right people at the right time to take him to where he was meant to be. The contacts he made and experiences gained in proofreading and inside sales with Canada Newswire helped land him where he is today: running Sandler Training in Calgary.

More than a decade ago, he and his Newswire sales manager, Gord, met for dinner and the conversation turned to sales training. Gord recommended that Knox check out Sandler seeing as the training program mirrored how Knox thought and talked already.

“That night I couldn’t sleep so I Googled it and found a blog post from Sandler colleague Bill Bartlett. It was like I walked into church and God spoke to me. I was like, how do I do this?” says Hamish Knox, president of Sandler Training in Calgary, who launched the Full Funnel Freedom podcast on October 4, 2021.

Soon after, Knox attended a two-day session to ensure the program was a fit, and he was hooked. He read founder David Sandler’s book, You Can’t Teach a Kid to Ride a Bike at a Seminar, and he knew he wanted to be part of the organization. He signed franchise papers on January 1, 2011 and left Canada Newswire in April to launch his training business.

“My first six months I made 5,000 cold calls, which was either leaving a voice message for or speaking directly with a decision maker. There was somewhere between 9,000 and 15,000 dials my first six months,” he says.

He finessed his approach and started accelerating the business. As soon as he moved into a space he outgrew it, moving from Kensington to Montgomery and eventually building out his current training centre on 8A Avenue SW. The first year was hard work but rewarding, and his efforts were recognized when he was named Global Rookie of the Year for 2011.

Since then, Knox and his team of four have grown the business, supporting clients professionally and personally. He also mentors up-and-comers through Futurepreneur and is offering a scholarship-in-kind to an Indigenous-based company for a full year in the Sandler Management Solutions program along with access to thousands of hours of audio and video training resources to help them succeed.

All of Sandler’s training is tailored to serve clients in any industry and size of company, and their clients include CEOs, business owners, sales managers and salespeople. Through a full suite of training solutions that address issues in leadership and sales and foster professional development, Sandler helps clients hone their sales and communication skills, resolve conflict and empower them in their business.

“Anywhere there are human beings interacting, we provide support and guidance,” says Knox. “Sandler is based on transactional analysis, which is the psychological theory of how human beings relate to each other and all the games and scripts and head trash that can conflict when we’re talking to somebody.”

Globally, the average client works with Sandler for nine years, learning from and being supported by trainers through every stage of their lives and business. And there are vast resources available to Sandler trainers; Sandler is the largest leadership and sales development company in the world with offices in 27 countries that serve clients in 55 countries. Whether sessions are conducted in person, virtually or with online resources, Sandler is proud to support clients however it best fits their needs.

Sandler has attracted attention from prestigious institutions too. Harvard Business School integrated Sandler’s sales training methodology into its MBA curriculum, while Columbia University is currently conducting an ROI study on Sandler’s training program.

There is no question that the system is very successful and very different. While other systems offer a two-day boot camp that throws everything at clients in a short time, Sandler takes a different approach.

“Sandler is built on the idea of ongoing reinforcement over time. Human beings are not light switches. The hardest thing for us to do is adjust our behaviour. With a boot camp, all you’re going to take are the one or two things that were most comfort zone-adjacent to you and maybe you’ll do them, maybe you won’t,” Knox says. “We are very much in the reinforcement business.”

Sandler offers a boot camp to get everyone on the same page and then hosts foundational sessions that teach the team the same language so they can create sustainability, onboard more effectively and scale business. It subscribes to the AKASH model of learning, which presents an awareness of a knowledge or skill gap, acquires the knowledge to fill it, applies that knowledge, and with enough application it becomes a skill and once that skill is honed it becomes a habit.

“Sandler, in a nutshell, is creating success by design instead of by default,” he says.

Some great businesses find success by default, whereby they have a product and react to growth and success but at the end don’t know how to repeat it. Sandler Training helps professionals create and replicate ongoing success, both personally and professionally.

Hamish Knox believes strongly in the Sandler system and has a decade’s worth of clients who can attest to its effectiveness. He also has the respect of his colleagues around the world. In 2020 he became the first Canadian and the youngest person in terms of age and years with the company to win the David H. Sandler Award. It is the highest non-selling honour determined by peer nomination and recognizes the recipient’s dedication to and embodiment of the Sandler values.

“Hamish has been very prolific with his thought leadership. He has written two books for us, Accountability the Sandler Way and Change the Sandler Way, and participates in podcasts and webinars for our international audience. He is always willing to share advice, coach and role play with his colleagues and regularly takes the stage to address and train colleagues at Sandler network conferences,” says Dave Mattson, CEO of Sandler Global.

Hamish Knox continues to grow Sandler Training in Calgary through his foundational values: achievement, learning, support and celebration. And there is nothing he’d rather be doing than supporting and celebrating his clients through their journey with Sandler Training in Calgary.

8561-8A Avenue SW, Suite 2204 
Calgary, AB T3H 0V5


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