David Szen

David Szen is a master facilitator and leadership development expert. As a Principal Consultant at Symmetrics Group, David has designed and delivered custom sales and leadership content for countless clients. He is most comfortable in front of groups or in keynote settings where his high-energy delivery style connects with people and brings content to life. David’s specialties include sales training design, leadership development, coaching performance management, workshop facilitation and strategic account planning. He recently co-authored the book The Multigenerational Sales Team with Symmetrics Group's founder Warren Shiver.

Recent Posts

Boosting Sales Coaching Creativity: 3 Techniques to Reinforce Basic Selling Skills

By David Szen

I spend a lot of time with sales leaders and my hat goes off to the hours they work and pressures they accept in their role. Their job is a hard and often thankless one dealing with complex client, employee, organizational, competitive, and financial pressures.

Sales leaders have a great capacity to reinforce essential selling skills in their teams, but all too often, the day-to-day demands get in the way. While dealing with daily pressures and fire drills, many of their reps are stumbling on fundamental selling skills. The ones I hear a lot about are: 1) discovery/questioning skills, 2) navigating and answering the tough questions, and 3) delivering relevant and powerful value messages.

Here are three techniques to put the creativity back into coaching and develop these key selling skills amongst your team.

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Global Sales Program Roll-outs: The Good, the Complicated and the Overlooked

By David Szen

Sales organizations of all sizes have the desire to transform, train, and develop talent, but rolling out a sales program in a global firm can get hairy quickly. While global sales transformation initiatives are exciting and ideal projects for outside consultants (like us), there are definite pitfalls. Whether you are responsible for planning and rolling out a program, or a sales manager leading your team through it, you play an important role in the successful execution and adoption of the desired change.

Having participated in our fair share of these global deployments, here is a list of lessons learned, organized around “the good, the complicated, and the overlooked”.

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Sales Call Planning: The One Thing Seasoned Reps Should Never Stop Doing

By David Szen

The life of a sales professional is a busy one, juggling prospecting activities, managing your sales funnel, traveling, growing existing customers, and handling administrative demands. Many sales professionals have the chance to earn a very high income, because if they get all of this right, it should absolutely be rewarded – this is NOT easy work.

What do I know for sure about human behavior? The longer we do anything, the less likely we are to step back, take a few needed moments to prepare, or practice. Think about it this way. How many things do we do each day that if we were asked to do them differently, we would just get angry? Would you be angry if you were made to drive on the left side of the road? Would you get angry if you were told to text with one hand only and the letters on the keyboard were in different places? Would you get mad if Starbucks changed the names of their drinks to ENGLISH and not Starbuckian and had all new drink options on the list? The answer to each question is likely YES.

Look at NFL coaches on the sidelines. They have on their headsets and are holding a huge laminated document that has something very important on it… the game plan with many options, depending upon what they are facing at that particular moment. Why? Because they are prepared and have already spent the time to get ready for the game.

How can we instill this game planning discipline in our sellers, whether they are new or seasoned?

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Sales Coaching: To Bear Fruit, Build on the Fundamentals

By David Szen

If you’re like most sales managers, your inbox is crammed with the latest and greatest coaching secrets. Each year, hundreds of books and workshops promise new techniques to help your sales team exceed its targets, out-sell the competition, and generate greater-than-ever revenues.

But let’s get real: year after year, does the art and science of coaching actually change all that much?  Has selling evolved in a way that requires a brand new perspective every cycle?

We think not. In fact, we’ve come to see successful sales coaching as more incremental than transformative. It’s like tending an orchard. Tree farmers read up on new techniques in irrigation, fertilization and pest control, but the essentials – the best practices – evolve. Same with sales coaching: While new models and methods can be useful, sales leaders who build on the fundamentals are likely to get the best results.

If you have one bad harvest, you don’t uproot your entire orchard; you go back to the ABCs, make small-but-continual improvements based on new knowledge, maybe prune a few under-performers – and pretty soon your efforts will bear fruit.

But what does an effective sales coach look like? And what are the basics of the discipline?

In this blog, we look at the fundamentals of sales coaching – the traits of great coaches, coaching to the bell curve, and managing sales reports.

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The Generational Mentality Map

By David Szen

The composition of generations in the workforce today is different than ever before. Each generation has unique traits that impact the way people think, communicate, and buy. It can be a tricky selling environment, especially if you do not understand and embrace these nuances.  

So, how can you equip your sales force to sell across generations? Here is your field-tested cheat sheet to help you better understand - and sell to - Millennials, Gen-Xers, and Boomers.

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Top Performer DNA in Sales -- Knowing Your Sales Math

By David Szen

At Symmetrics Group, we regularly meet highly successful sales professionals and have developed a "Top Performer" series that highlights what the best and brightest people do to thrive in their respective fields. Our Top Performers book profiles 15 people with proven records of sales success in order to uncover “success DNA” that separates them from the pack. Not surprisingly, we found some common DNA – or success markers -- across these Top Performers, one of which is the knack for knowing their “sales math” inside-out, top-down, backwards, and forwards. 

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5 Must-Haves to Nail Your Sales Kick-Off Meeting

By David Szen

A Sales Kick-Off meeting (SKO) is a huge investment for any company gathering more than 100 sellers in one place to gear up for a new year. In our experience participating in myriads of SKOs, we have seen an unfortunate disconnect between what companies think they’re delivering versus what their sales teams are actually taking away. While companies leave their SKOs believing their sellers are energized and educated, attendees often view the experience as a three-day string of mundane sessions, offering little or no tangible takeaways to use in their sales activities going forward.

What are the elements that make a great Sales Kick-Off meeting and what are the pitfalls to avoid?

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Sales Coaching Collision – Old School Meets New School

By David Szen

At a recent workshop I engaged in a conversation involving three parties, each from a different generation. Representing Generation X, I approached a Baby Boomer Sales Manager and a Millennial Seller discussing the ideal amount of activities required to fill out a “robust” pipeline. It quickly became clear that the Manager did not feel that the Seller was getting in front of enough prospects.

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Work Hard, Play Hard – The Annual Sales Meeting Mentality

By David Szen

If you hang in a professional sales, consulting or sales leadership role long enough you will spend a few weeks of your life at the ANNUAL SALES MEETING.  You know, the ones with clever themes that are going to make you feel like changing the world: “Aim Higher,” “Deliver,” “Innovate and Motivate,” “All Together,” “Amp it Up.”  I could go on forever about the time and money companies spend to differentiate their yearly sales rendezvous - I have the t-shirts, water bottles, bag tags and pens to prove it - but at the end of the day, these meetings share a common purpose that usually boils down to a combination of the following:

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The Millennial Sales Pursuit – You Spin Me Right ‘Round

By David Szen

In consulting, we have the pleasure of working with clients across a variety of industries who share interesting stories.  Every once in a while you hear a story that makes you stop and think about the traditional ways we try and advance a sale. Here is one of those such stories…

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