Jason Forrest, the CEO of Forrest Performance Group, grew his company’s revenue from $1.9 million in 2014 to $3.4 million in 2017, an 81% increase.
Forrest Performance Group provides sales, management, and corporate training programs.
In this interview with Eversprint‘s Malcolm Lui, Jason shares how he and his team accelerated their high value sales by:
- Being really clear on how they are different from other corporate training providers along three dimensions.
- Creating a best places to work environment, as you can’t scale if you’re constantly losing people and hiring to replace them.
- Practicing what they preach in-house first, before offering it to their clients.
Malcolm Lui: Welcome to the High Value Sales Show of Eversprint.com. I'm Malcolm Lui, the Managing Member of Eversprint, and today we're speaking with Jason Forrest, the CEO of Forrest Performance Group, a provider of sales, management, and corporate training programs. Welcome to the show Jason.
Jason Forrest: Thanks Malcolm. Glad to be here.
Malcolm Lui: Jason, you grew your company's revenue from $1.9 million in 2014 to $3.4 million in 2017, an 81% increase. Before we talk about how you grew your company so fast, can you briefly share what your company does beyond my quick intro, and how your company differs from the competition?
Jason Forrest: Yeah. So. So when I started my company ten years ago my whole concept was I wanted to redefine training. So if you actually look up the definition of training it's to change behavior. But what I recognize is that majority of companies out there they don't have you know they can't change behavior. There's no there's no proof to it. So actually by one hundred and sixty four billion is spent every year on training but 70 percent fails reaches ROIC. So that's that was really our focus. And we do that really in five five different ways so one we believe in teaching the tactical how to approach to sell. So most people teach kind of what to do or why to do it but they don't also teach how to do it. So people leave kind of wondering what to do next. Number two is we're very beliefs based. So we teach that the psychology that reinforces the concepts. What happens with selling is it takes a lot of courage and there's a lot of like mental blocks that get in the way. And so we focus a lot on the psychology. Number three is we believe in sales management coaching so teaching coaches like managers how to be sales coaches and work they're people like athletes. And then number four is everything we do is program based. So instead of the one day event you kind of fly and learn some concepts. Everything is program based ongoing experiential learning and then last. Number five is culture. So we're all about how do we create cultures that can reinforce these concepts even after we're gone
Malcolm Lui: All right now you agree company quite rapidly one point nine million to 2014. You almost doubled it in 2017 to three point four million. What were the three biggest drivers of that growth
Jason Forrest: That's a great question. So I would say the first thing is being really clear on on how we're different. And so those five things that's you know that's really that's how we're different that's our our brand strategy that we really focus on. And then I would say the second thing is I'm very big on creating best place to work environments. I think the one of the struggles that organizations have is there they're really seeking that fast growth but they don't create a best base work environment. And so because of that they have high turnover and if you have high turnover you can never really scale fast because you end up having to consider retrain your people. And so we're really big on on creating that we've actually won best place to work in Fort Worth for several years now and best way to work in Texas and different places. That's a big focus for us is that culture internal internal culture peace and then I would say the third thing that we're always focused on is just practicing what we preach. So one of the things that we believe in is you've got to eat your own dog food. So meaning anything that we tell our clients to do first we vet it internally. So I teach all the concepts first my own employees and to make sure that they work and if they work we can teach and other people and sell them which is really different. It sounds surprising but it's very surprising and different in the industry of consulting a lot of consulting companies are actually run very poorly they actually don't live by their own things that they teach and so that was a big big focus for us.
Malcolm Lui: All right. So the the drivers in our number one you're really clear on how you are different from the competition what you offer. Number to creating an environment is a fantastic place to work. So you retain people and are not spending time rehiring and allows you to scale. And last one is practicing what you preach. You make sure that everything that you teach your clients to make sure they work first internally before sharing with others
Jason Forrest: And the third thing is it's an interesting concept because you know I'm a big fan that you have to sell yourself on kind of what you do and who you are before you can sell anyone up so anyone else and you know. And so I mean all of our employees I mean they're extreme advocates for what we do and who we are. And they really are advocates and that's because they they don't just work for a company that sells training. They they are a part of a company that trains them in the same ways that they are they're selling so they become believers of what we do and who we are.
Malcolm Lui: Now your sales training I imagine you probably also recommend that that your clients in their sales process be really clear on what they are doing and how they are different. How do you help them with that
Jason Forrest: That's a great question. So one of the things that we have is what's called the brand strategy and there's there's really three elements to a brand strategy. The first is is what are you sought after for so meaning that what would people know if you had some keywords out there and people were to kind of pull you and say hey this is what this company is known for. What would that be. So for us it's programs. So it's training programs that truly change behavior and you know we're a part of the company's strategy. So they purchase a lot of companies you know they they hire training to kind of checking off a box with us. It's actually part of one of their key initiatives for the year or for the decade of how they're going to get to where they go. So we're sort after from that partner perspective but the second level down is is what do you want to be preferred by some preferred means. If if you have two companies doing the same things then why would one company kind of prefer you over other silly things like Coke versus Pepsi. You know they both do the same thing but one prefers one of the other. And so like in our case we we want to be preferred based upon our relevancy. So being really relevant to our client keeping the training videos updated keeping them focused and clear a lot of a lot of training videos and content was created 10 years ago and updated.
Jason Forrest: So we are constantly on an annual basis updating our material to make sure it's timely for the market. And then the last level is I call the table stakes but we would also call it competitive so competitive means what's what's the what's expected meaning what's the expected table stakes that a company just expects you to have and you better do right. They're not going to hire you because of it but they're going to fire you if you don't do it right. And so in our case our expected area are our table stakes are the customer intimacy. So just being aligned with the customer and making sure that we're all on the same page. And the second is operational excellence. So making sure that the materials are there on time and all the customer experience stuff is right. So again I can't win any sales based on operational excellence or customer intimacy because it's expected but you can definitely lose business if you don't get those things right. So I would say again if a company wants to have that clarity then again they may break into three chunks right. So the very least searching for. So like Jim Collins would call this your hedgehog concept right. So what you will be sought after for and then the next level down is waiting to be preferred for and the last is what are your table stakes what is your expected areas that you're going to get right. But is a foundation
Malcolm Lui: How quickly do you find that your clients and actually execute these three pillars
Jason Forrest: I would say most organizations we start with don't even haven't even thought about it at all.
Malcolm Lui: The
Jason Forrest: They've never they've never done even the work at all to figure out what what what they will be sought after for and preferred and expected and a lot of them get it kind of messed up when you first started. So they'll all say something like Well what we want to be known for operational excellence or customer experience and be sought after for that well in their industry it doesn't really work because again it's expected but it's not it's not something people sought after for. So like think about like buying a home. Right. So let's say you're a homebuilder and you're trying to create your personal brand around that and what your brand strategy is. Well most people when they're looking for a home that they're not thinking about you know who has the best customer service. That's not what they think of when it comes to home. They're thinking about their thinking about design or think about location and they're thinking about amenities and features. There's you know there's other things than they aren't so. So that would be an example of you know sometimes they go down the wrong path. They might see some quality who only knows a quality and have high quality standards. Again no one seeks out that when they're looking for a home they just expect it to have great quality
Malcolm Lui: Right for your second driver creating a best place to work. How do you do that.
Jason Forrest: Well so this was really interesting. So no I woke up one day when I was really growing my company very beginning. You know I went from myself. So I was able to do one point two million just by myself and an assistant. So and so when I wanted to really grow I had to bring on a lot of people. And so I was very fearful of that in the sense that or you know again another Jim Collins quote is he would say you know great leaders are productively paranoid. So you know Bill Gates and Steve Jobs and all of the great leaders out there they're productively paranoid in the sense of now here's what I wanna move towards where I'm paranoid there's gonna be mess ups along the way and so. Or another version that the optimistically cautious you know and so so I I wanted to make sure that everyone in my company believed what I believed. And so whenever you go from a social entrepreneur to a company owner the idea is that you know the biggest concern people have is why I'm not going to get Jason the more I'm going to get these other people. And are they going to take this as seriously as he has and they can get started about that. So my whole goal was how do I create a company where they can have any of my trainers or consultants and they don't feel like they're getting a less than or they're let down or it's not as good. And so you know we put a lot of energy towards that. So that one of my definition of or my being different definition of culture is what happens behind the boss's back. So when you think a culture people will say well a shared shared system of beliefs there's all kinds of definitions out there.
Jason Forrest: But mine is very simple and that's what happens behind the boss's back is the culture. So it's a call if it's the culture you want then you know with 100 percent certainty that you're your employees are doing what you would want them to do and act how you want them to act is if the boss is right there next to him. That's the culture you want. Obviously you don't want is the opposite of that. Right. And so it's a great question to ask audiences a lot and our clients is that you know you had the culture you want and you know do you consider yourself to have a productive and profitable culture. And then you know a lot of will say yes and then you you ask him that question. And also I'm not really for sure. Or you ask him another question like here's a great one that cost he believed in and that's that's well you know let me ask this question if if the if the boss is going from Division division division to division and there is or is there an email that goes out saying hey the CEO is in town or the CEO is in town. So everyone let's get buttoned up and they all laugh and they go yeah we do that. Well that's the culture you don't want because you're basically saying that you're not performing on a daily basis as if the CEO is there. Let's go through you don't want. So Gallup will actually say that that that 40 hour workweek the average employee is only giving you only giving you 40 percent of a 40 hour workweek in productivity. So the rest of time they're not being productive and actually earning what they're being paid
Malcolm Lui: Right. Now I can see how that creates a very effective environment but for me when you talk about being at best place the work force you want your people to do do the job as if you're there as well. But there's more to that. To make a company an awesome place to work right. They don't need you like being there. And you like the people that you're doing. People that they're working with elected they like to enjoy the work that they're doing. So how do you foster that
Jason Forrest: A great quick. So so we do everything based upon the six human needs psychology. So it was actually originally created by Tony Robbins who who kind of was in a new version of the Maslow's hierarchy of needs and I have many certifications on National Practitioner and neural twisted programming I'm also a addiction coach. So learning how to get people off addictions and so there fortifications. But but in the six human needs psychology the idea is these are all primal needs that people have and and so what we do is we focus on how how to like how to create FPGA is a place that fulfills each of a person's six human needs. So for example the 60 Minutes our certainty. So how do we get. How do we make FPGA a safe place for them to work safe in the sense of their work environment. Who they report to their peers. How do they also have certainty and the leadership and the direction the company is heading. The financial stability of the company variety is the second one that's fun. So how do how to how can we have fun at work and make this place a fun place as well as how can we give them new new new opportunities to kind of change up their days so it doesn't get so routine boring.
Jason Forrest: Number three a significance such significance is how can they feel like they are important. How do they feel like they matter their voice is being heard. It's very important for this connection so connection is you know they feel like they're connected the Vision Mission Strategy the organization they have. They have a vital friend at work. One are the questions we ask or not which is really fun. We actually do a lot of internal surveys and we ask the employees is there anyone at work that you talk to outside of work. And it's interesting because we've noticed the people who are are higher engaged with us are ones that actually have friends they've made that they still hang out with outside of work. And so that's really important. The fifth one is growth. So growth is do I feel like I'm getting better. I feel like I'm improving and being challenged and Alaska's contribution. Do I feel like I'm making a difference. Do I feel like from a is my is my contribution connected to what the company is trying to do.
Malcolm Lui: Right.
Jason Forrest: So those are the six
Malcolm Lui: It. What do you do to foster the connection side of things.
Jason Forrest: We do a lot of things. So. So one of the things that we have in our organization is a daily huddle. And so the president of the organization Mary Marshall she has a daily huddle with her Drucker board so all the department heads of the company. And then of course they then department heads have have huddles right after that when they're there. There are reports as well so The purpose of the huddle is several things that actually fills a lot of the six human needs because it gives people certainty draw on the same page but it also gives connection because every morning they start with some sort of connection activities so they can they have some sort of like question they ask that kind of helps people get to know each other better so that you know does a lot for people. And then also one of the things that we have little little things during the year that we do. So like for example every quarterly meeting we have different kind of connection type things we do to get you to get to know each other better. We've got weekly assignments that will do to hey you know like the six human needs for example. So that was when we did recently We talk about that a lot and we'll say get with someone that you haven't spent time with before and share share the ranking order of your six human needs and then learn there are six human needs and find the final things you have in common with them. We do that we also thing every year called Love Week happens during Valentine's. And it's where you basically are randomly paired out secretly paired up with like a secret admirer like a love Angel and that person has to ask questions do to know who you are without obviously revealing to you who they are so they have to ask other employees. Then they send you sprinkles and you like a gift today and an encouraging letter or encouraging note something that's something that's significant to you
Malcolm Lui: How do you get people to hang out after work outside of work.
Jason Forrest: I mean being I don't I don't know if we make anyone do anything we just create the environment for all that right. So so in the sense that we'll have different things like hey we've got this. Brewery thing you know people are going to everyone's invited and so it's more. You know I think it's it's just it's more about the individual connections it's more about creating
Malcolm Lui: Yeah
Jason Forrest: An atmosphere where people again want to hang out. Want to be a part of something only apart. You know the great question was that was I was the speaker one time that I thought was a really cool concept that was. Do you have a culture that your employees would wear a t shirt with your logo on
Malcolm Lui: Right
Jason Forrest: Which is a cool concept right. Most companies never four places in the past when I wasn't only my own company that I wasn't really proud of the company enough to wear a logo on a t shirt on my day off. You know
Malcolm Lui: Mm hmm. Yeah.
Jason Forrest: And so that's a big thing in that. And so I think you have to be mindful of that and go How can I create a place and get my primary driver. When I first did it was I I recognized that as an entrepreneur I'm going to spend a majority of my life here and and most employers that most most human beings and a majority of their life at work. And so if that's the case why don't we do our best to create a place that people want to be at versus have to be at. And they look forward to going to and we do that. I mean we have we have. We. We hire interns all the time from the local college Texas Christian University. And we we they're constantly and they work for us. You've read the millennials work version free. And they talk about how most places you know you leave work to get away from work so you go enjoy your life. But we heard most the time that without soliciting them they'll say that that you know they like to leave life to come to work. Is it because they like work better than outside of work.
Malcolm Lui: Right. Yeah. I mean I've worked in some places where it's fantastic and people enjoy being around each other and both at work and outside of work. And I've worked at other places where it's not quite like that in there's some sort of intangible element right to to get that community. It goes beyond just doing the business of the company as opposed to being more committed and engaging on other dimensions that are outside of perhaps work. And I haven't quite figured out what that secret sauce is. Besides perhaps it's hiring the right people at the very start
Jason Forrest: Well I think to fight again step I would say some just run rolling on some steps you're about a step one is is you've got to define the kind of culture that you want. So that's again I'm speaking to leadership right now you're going to find that kind of culture that you want and be very clear on what are the values and the attributes the characteristics of that. I'm a big fan of the see hear feel language. So what do you want to see when people walk in. What do you want to hear people say about you know about the organization and how do you want to feel when you're in the room with people and and so just you know I think going through those exercises like that kind of creates a compelling vision and then and then to your point it would be hiring people who are onboard with that compelling vision. And then creating accountability around you know we're not going to get away from the standard. So like in our company we have people really love the you know the right people. This is why I always tell people that that you know you're your culture might not be right. So I best a best place to work culture it doesn't mean it's the best place to work for everyone.
Jason Forrest: It just means the best place to work for the people that want to be at your culture. And so we have a play. I mean I would assume a lot of you would hate working for us because because of the daily huddles and because of I mean every every week every Monday I address the company and have what's called a Monday mission meeting it's 30 minutes standup huddle and it's at meetings where I give them some sort of assignment that I'm wanting them to do from a beliefs perspective a psychology connection perspective or something and then they have to go and do it and then they come back the next Monday and they report what they learned and how they grew and no one ever misses that no one was late to that. No one ever you know it's there it's what they wanted. It's what it's what they're a part of. But I think a lot of people would rather say you know I wanna be left alone I want to I want to be a part of that is my work and get paid to leave
Malcolm Lui: Right. Got it.
Jason Forrest: But not us not not this company they wouldn't last year
Malcolm Lui: Right. It's a good. I mean it is probably a better place somewhere else for them where they can thrive much more so.
Jason Forrest: Now. Sure. Worst
Malcolm Lui: So for your third driver you talked about practicing what you preach vetting things internally first any things that you've tried internally. That was a complete disaster although it seemed like very helpful at the very beginning. You can share with us
Jason Forrest: Oh man. Great question. I mean. I would say try not to be too general here. I feel like everything we've done. Everything I a lot of things that we do don't work in the initial version of them. But we end up finding ways to make them work. So let me give an example of one that was a little bit tougher in the beginning. So so one idea I had one time I was a part of this mastermind group called entrepreneurs organization. Are you familiar with it.
Malcolm Lui: Yes a number of my guests our members as well
Jason Forrest: Yeah yeah. And so one of the things you do in the show is called lifelines and it's where you spent 15 minutes sharing your highs and lows of your life and being very vulnerable about that. And so. So you know the first time I rolled it out I probably just didn't. You know I didn't roll it out with probably the right expectations and I'm not really sure if my culture was ready for that yet. And so there was some kind of internal politics and some people that didn't really. Like each other and just had some struggles that I don't think it really helped. I think it almost in some cases maybe hurt even more the relationship. They weren't. They were on the same page and weren't ready to do that. They shared but was almost like it was used against them. It wasn't used to understand them more and to get them more into because it was a lifelines as to create empathy and go OK. You know I I understand more of how you see the world in each human being wakes up every day with a different pair of glasses on you know and they see the world through that pair of glasses and you know we can create a better place if we start to begin the journey of understanding how like in your case. Malcolm you have you know a lifetime of experiences. And so. You know if if. If I say the word food like for example I say the word food what do you think of
Malcolm Lui: Barbecue
Jason Forrest: So. So
Malcolm Lui: Okay
Jason Forrest: I said yeah so so. So as soon as I hear I hear resources I hear health
Malcolm Lui: Okay.
Jason Forrest: Ok. If I say the word by saying the word Candy to you what do you say. What do you hear.
Malcolm Lui: Candy I just see an image of a peppermint candy when you said that
Jason Forrest: So I hear I hear I hear my kids annoyingly asking me for candy constantly. And how much I don't want to give candy more
Malcolm Lui: Okay.
Jason Forrest: So. So it just an example of you know we all have these maps these filters based on our programming. And if you can start to really understand that then you can start to empathize with them and be kind of respect people you know. So for example let's say you have a very positive relationship but can't you just in theory of observation can you think it's great. And I have a negative relation Candy. Well you know you might immediately judge me when I am. Kind of you know I don't want candy. I don't I don't eat that right. You're probably wondering why you so like George Bush about it about like being offered Candy. I just read about Candy you know and mean I'm not rude about it. I just purchased the negative programming to it that my automatic responses I don't have that in my life.
Malcolm Lui: Yep
Jason Forrest: And so. So it's just it just knowing people better. So again in that example I just. I just probably set the stage well enough for that. I mean my culture will be something that I could I could probably do it now. I haven't done it since then but I can do it now in a private received a lot better and it would be used against them in a court of law. But now back
Malcolm Lui: Right
Jason Forrest: It was probably all too premature
Malcolm Lui: Yeah. No requires Google to open up a bit. Right. They need to be in an environment where they trust like you said that whatever they share won't be potentially used against them down the line.
Jason Forrest: Exactly.
Malcolm Lui: Looking a bit ahead for 2019. What growth targets can you share. For us
Jason Forrest: Well I'm not sure until you turn 18 and I can tell you that my Our goal is to create a hundred million our training company. I mean that
Malcolm Lui: Okay.
Jason Forrest: Is our that is our goal.
Malcolm Lui: Okay
Jason Forrest: We are we are many millions away from that target. But we do have a.. We do have an annual goal to grow at a a minimum of 30 percent a year. But ideally 50 percent or so 30 to 30 is cover minimum and 50 percent is our ideal growth rate that we believe if we can if we can sustain that growth then we can handle it from an operational perspective because you know obviously you grow too slow then you get left behind and you grow too fast and you have a lot of operational errors. So that seems to be the number that we feel we can sustain
Malcolm Lui: Right. And let's be ambitious here to say you're shooting for 50 percent growth this year. What do you need to accomplish. What challenges need to be overcome for your team and you to get to that 50 percent growth rate
Jason Forrest: You know progression. So I would say just dumb I mean the big thing for us right now is we're we're constantly expanding into new new industries and new markets. And so in order to grow that fast you know you need to be known into new places that don't know you. And so right now we're just trying to find the right the right marketing initiatives to enter in. And we actually do really well. I mean I would hope you do really well. Once we actually talk to the customers and we are in that kind of proposal stage and we're you know a person is looking for training and we're one of the kind of candidates and we actually do really really well in converting that we convert more than half those we're actually high conversion around that's the hardest thing for us. Those just penetrating the markets that we don't we don't we can't even get a conversation at the table. So that's that's our biggest trouble right now.
Malcolm Lui: What makes this so difficult to get a conversation. I mean just from our conversation and I can see how you can help instigate change within the organization. Just on a few of the dimensions that we just talked about right. Culture best base that were branding and so on. So you know what company wouldn't want to do those sort of things and what makes it difficult for you to engage them and have that first conversation
Jason Forrest: Great question. So that the you know it was interesting is yes once they start talking to us they think it's really cool. And they're very interested in the conversation. But you know a lot of people we've we've struggled to somehow get people to talk to a to communicate the message from a marketing perspective where a person feels like we actually would have a solution to when. So no I earlier I said that stat 164 billion spent on training 70 percent fails.
Malcolm Lui: In the UK
Jason Forrest: That's that math that's up programming that's out there. And so you know people just don't they kind of lump us in with the 70 percent. So it's what we're what we're trying to do is constantly penetrate and say No we're we're part of that 30 percent. So one of the things we did actually helped a lot there. I wrote a book called WTS which stands for why trading fails obviously. And
Malcolm Lui: Right
Jason Forrest: And yeah. And so we do send that book out a lot. Actually it's a little booklet takes you less an hour read it's very on of stories metaphors example stats and concept it's really easy to read. And so and I also have a free audio version of it as well that we send out to people and people can get a hold of and on our Web site at FPGA dot com and and so we do things like that to obviously build awareness and to start the conversation but you know I don't know we I don't I definitely mean maybe you have some insights where we but we definitely haven't cracked the code to get in front of the people if we can. Like I said if we get in front of them then we have a very compelling message to tell them and we can show them how we're a better use of the resources than the other companies they're considering. But it's just getting in front of them is the tough part.
Malcolm Lui: Yeah. Yeah. I mean I remember four for one of the companies I work for. Perhaps in process is their coach right. They left their people mostly on their own to a to learn and figure out how to do things the right way and the best way as opposed to offering some formal training from outside consultants or work or training companies to help with that. So I guess there might be some cultural issues and they need to tackle as well to break through. I would imagine
Jason Forrest: Yeah. Well that and that what the culture issue is the problem once you start you know once you start I mean we we we have a client out that they've had employees there for 30 something years they would do it the same way for 30 years and then a lot of acquisitions along the way and mergers and and so they're now just trying to kind of unravel all of that and get on the same page of a new CEO and so and so yeah it's tough. I mean fortunately that case the CEO is very determined to make some adjustments but there's a lot of again that programming a lot of maps and filters that have been kind of established and norms that have been established in silos and and all of that needs to kind of move in a different direction
Malcolm Lui: Right now you talk about the 70 percent of the training fails. I mean I've gone to my share of seminars and workshops I've read my share of books. And I don't even know if I've applied even 30 percent of my attendance of those things and commitment and time spent reading and setting and learning. What do you think the story behind that why why aren't people getting more out of their training more out of their own self education
Jason Forrest: Yeah. So I I developed a formula that I've recently trademarked and it's performance equals knowledge minus leashes. OK so p equals K minus outperformance equals knowledge minus leashes really simple once you get to 10 years are great I think make a lot sense. So performance is what we see a person do. So let's go back to let's say we go to a seminar on learning the six steps to negotiate proper when it comes to contracts. Right. Always an important skill. And that's the knowledge. Well ideally they would use those six steps every time their negotiating situation which would be the performance side. We would see them do that and then we have success doing it. Well you have to minus out the leashes and the leashes are any resistance that prevents them from using those six steps 100 percent of the time. And there are four types of leashes the four types are one the self-image so self-image is I just don't see myself doing that. I don't see myself as a good negotiator. Like in that case that's the way they describe themselves. Number two would be reluctance his reluctance is are situational fears. Well I would use this these six steps when I'm talking to you know a person at my level but when you're talking to a person that's three to three degrees higher than me or has a higher intellect I don't feel as comfortable or friends and family I don't feel as comfortable so certain situations I don't feel comfortable using these concepts.
Jason Forrest: Number two number three is the rules. So rules are really rules of engagement. So it's the if only as you know so I will use these six steps if only the following conditions are met. If only you know I've I've spent several hours with the customer if only I've talked to them multiple times if only the decision makers are all present I heard one recently from a salesperson that said they were taught from a previous sales trainer that before you submit a proposal make sure that you have relationships with three people at three different levels. So some you know at the functional level at the middle management level of the CEO. So that's a that's a rule. So they won't even do the six steps until they accomplish that role in the last one of the story. So story is external so the that would be like well the economy is not good right now or the market is not good or the reason why I'm not applying this is because you know the timing's not right.
Jason Forrest: These are stories they create. And so those are the four types of leashes. And so you know it's just look at it from a math formula. Right. So you have let's say you've been a veteran a veteran employee who's got a 10 on knowledge you can see them do it they've done in the past they know how to do it they would pass a test they got it but they've got a nine on leashes and so their performance is one they do it one out of 10 times versus a newbie goes to class learns it has zero leashes and so let's say you've got a knowledge level of a two well to minus 0 is 2. Right. So there's a lot of times why you'd call it kind of beginner's luck. Like that's kind of the urban term for what I'm describing but. But the reason the beginner's luck is because they've learned something they did it and it almost surprised themselves that it worked. But but but very quickly they start hearing making up their own stories or hearing alibis and leashes from other people and they they kind of drop those themselves
Malcolm Lui: Right. So you you wrote a book you're why training fails you WTS book. Great title by the way. And you came up with your concept of a p equals K minus L in school. I mean what you described as though some really interesting topic sounds like this some stuff I can learn from from reading up on the content that you have on those things. How do you come up with these ideas.
Jason Forrest: I would Great question. I think as an entrepreneur I mean some reason you know I've been I've just been gifted with seeing the problems and things and kind of frustrated and you know my my best way is probably to solving my own problems or you know as a teacher myself trying to or a coach trying to get a person unstuck or explain something and just having a extreme kind of frustration of you know why is why is this person not succeeding in this area and how do I get them succeed succeed more and what's stopping them what's preventing them what's keeping them. And just you know constantly kind of being obsessed with trying to figure out you know the answers to it. And so from that it's helped me create a ton of models we've we've got all kinds of models that. We obviously sell and have IP around that kind of explain things to people and that's really the goal and I think that the goal is you know how how do we just make things simpler for people so that they can have the awareness and have the resources to be successful. One of my core beliefs and I think if anyone gets anything out of today this will be the thing I would want them to get and that is two things One is that people are always doing the best they can with the resources they have. So the eternal What are re internal resources they have they're doing the best they can. Number two is is that positive change always comes from adding more resources so those will do. And so if you look at the human race going forward when someone's succeeding or failing you immediately look at that map of the world and you go OK well they're doing the best they can with the resource they have at whatever level it is and the number two is but the more resources they would do better. And so that's you know that's just kind of how we look at that. We look at life
Malcolm Lui: Right
Jason Forrest: Or we look at life
Malcolm Lui: What about making better use of your existing resources. How would that fit into these two core beliefs
Jason Forrest: Well it's a great question. So I think a lot of people they don't they don't have enough awareness of their existing resources so they feel like they're going to give examples. Yesterday I was coaching an executive I had a big seminar yesterday with about 50 60 executives from a four billion our company and I took this one through an exercise where he said You know I don't feel like I have enough structure to be a coach. And and so I asked I took it through a coaching coaching process on that. And then I start asking a series of questions. I said Well what do you what do you do. Currently that's working. And he said you're right we teach models the as well I do huddles and I said Great. So do the huddles work. And he says sometimes I said Well OK. Well how off do you do that. He told me as a well what what what parts of him do work. And he told me. And then I said what would be the ideal time to do it. He told me as a will do you coach your people. He said Yes I will. How do you coach them is the way I follow the process you taught.
Jason Forrest: And I said all the time is I know sometimes. And I said well what would happen if you fall all the time. I said it will be more effective. So I just get what I kept doing. Every time he was stuck I kept going back to what is he already doing sometimes and what's in what would happen if he did it all the time. And so you know by the exercise at the time this exercise was over. I had to realize that he had actually all the resources he need inside of him to be successful at that moment with the task at hand. So not all the time you had resources you need but at that in that situation he had enough resources in order to get unstuck with this leash that he had which was I don't have enough structure to be a world class coach. And but through the exercise he realized he had all the structure he needed. He just hadn't catalogued it correctly in his brain and he had an organized the way they use it you know going forward which is why the
Malcolm Lui: Right. When I talk to you about a re what I had in mind when I was asking about people making better use of their resources when it came to my mind and perhaps I find it a resource that I have that I'm not utilizing investor's time. What's the best advice you give your clients in regards to making the most of their time.
Jason Forrest: Ok so is a great question so I would say no one no one would be. What is your primary question. So in life in business everyone has a color is my primary question. They just don't realize what they what the question is. So so for example let's say if you are a CEO in charge of operations it would be. How do I increase the speed and profitability of my organization today. That would be your primary question. If it's me as a CEO it's how can I be leading edge today. So how can I push the company even further today and expand the horizons. If you're sales it's how can I move the sale forward today. If your sales manager how can a coach sell forward today. If you're marketing it's how can I bring in one more lead to that. So it's it's been really clear on what is your primary question as it relates to your individual role. I think that's really really really important. And then and then and then say OK well I'm going to operate off this primary questions if you want what's the first thing I need to do tomorrow.
Jason Forrest: What's the second thing you do. What are what are the two three four things that I need to do that would help me fulfill my primary question tomorrow. And I think that planning needs to happen the night before not the day out because you'll be in kind of reactive mode and then you want to create some non-negotiable is it so you know maybe three or four is too many maybe it's just one. But the ideas have that accountability with yourself and and and if you can with other people that say you know no matter what fires come tomorrow no matter what reacting comes tomorrow no matter what things the urgent things that come up this is the one thing I have to do tomorrow to make sure my primary question is being fulfilled. And so to make that like your own personal comment with yourself and others as well as that night before planning with my your primary question all those things would be the first things on my mouth I would say without going into much more detail
Malcolm Lui: Yeah. You know it makes sense right. I mean you you make progress on your one thing right. It's very very popular TED Talk right. The one thing in a book as well you just make steady progress on that and then you have to get back at the end of the year or
Jason Forrest: Yeah that's
Malcolm Lui: You know
Jason Forrest: Right.
Malcolm Lui: Multiple years later. I had a question for you. Well you're talking about marketing and then we we started talking about some other topics that came off that discussion as well. But maybe I can bring you back to that a little bit. You talk about doing a bit of marketing trying to figure out that puzzle the challenge of connecting with your ideal clients and getting them engaged because you have a fantastic product and service is better letting them be aware of it. I took a bit of I take a look at your online marketing activities and for my tools it looks like you're doing a little bit of paper slick advertising but from a CEO perspective business is like you're making a huge investment out front. These are the tools that I have. What's your take on that.
Jason Forrest: Great question. I guess I don't know. I had so many different competing perspectives on that. We've we we actually were much higher and ranking at one time. We did pull resources from that and did more kind of guerrilla warfare type marketing strategies that seemed to do better for us. But I don't I'm on the fence with that because you know I do feel like there's obviously value in and having a higher NCO ranking but at the same time I don't know if that's just for my own ego or if that's that really matters anymore. You know I just don't know. I struggle sometimes with wondering you know like even myself and I don't know who the right person to judge. But you know when I'm looking for something you know I usually ask people that I know what they would recommend before I just do a search for it. So I don't do a lot of searches on Google going you know whatever it is you know whatever thing I'm trying to defined. I don't I don't for some reason I don't use it as often you know. So I don't know the answer to that. I I personally think that we should put more money towards it. But the other people we've counseled said that they should we should put more money towards other things and there is none of my new around right.
Malcolm Lui: Well it goes back to a utilizing your resources in the best possible manner. Right. So prior to go back to your primary question to figure out the best way to go to
Jason Forrest: But what is your perspective on that. I mean do you do you feel like people still think they're looking for you know some big corporations looking for an internal sales training program anything they go to they go to Google and type in sales training
Malcolm Lui: I think I think some might write maybe not all of them but I think some will right. Your task with improving your team's sales performance and you're giving a budget to bring in a outside consultant or or training team to help with that. Yeah for sure you will perhaps ask your peers and colleagues and other people in your company who have hired other firms have done well and you probably would also type in a search and find others as well. So I think it's a good avenue. I haven't done the research to see if your competitors are using paper click ads but I imagine they are right. It's a good avenue to find people who want a solution right now at this very moment.
Jason Forrest: Brain
Malcolm Lui: But I think it might not be the best solution for you in your particular case or there's so many different ways to engage people. Paper click ads are one way you know Lincolns and other snail mail cold emails cold calling television advertising in so many different channels. It's just a matter of getting in front of the people you want to go in front of and using a medium where they are.
Jason Forrest: Mm hmm.
Malcolm Lui: All right. Different people have different choices of where they hang out except for one company that I interviewed in my first interview in fact they found that A.M. radio was a fantastic way to get in front
Jason Forrest: Oh
Malcolm Lui: Of their ideal clients. Yeah. Not what I expected but they generate a huge amount of new business from their own AM radio show because their ideal client still listens to a ham radio. So it's quite a surprise surprising insight that they shared some three last questions for you. Question number one if you had a billboard what would your billboard message be. And keep in mind most people only have six seconds before they drive by a billboard. So what's your message.
Jason Forrest: I don't know. One comes up with a thing billboard stuff so you know change your beliefs change your life. I do like that. Change your beliefs change your life. Coach one coach everyone my train fails. Great question. I'm gonna be honest. I'm gonna work on that one.
Malcolm Lui: I have to say you're a very you WTS title is awesome.
Jason Forrest: Thank you.
Malcolm Lui: It's good. Now which which came first the why training sales or the WTS and you found the words that fit
Jason Forrest: Oh my guys are great. I think I don't know. I don't know. I might it might have been just kind of the same time. You it might have been just or might you know what I prob probably I probably solved them UTF and. I just thought why train. I mean I probably just so I'm sure I saw the logo and just got excited about about about that
Malcolm Lui: Yeah I mean not even that can be a great big word message. Right.
Jason Forrest: Yeah. It's provocative what's funny about it it's provocative a novel which is great but a lot of people have such a map marked on those maps before. This
Malcolm Lui: Yeah.
Jason Forrest: Is a negative programming to that label that I've heard people say they know they were mad at me for writing the book. They can't read it because they can't have it in their possession.
Malcolm Lui: Oh really.
Jason Forrest: Yeah. So I'm like
Malcolm Lui: That's
Jason Forrest: People need to lighten up a little bit right.
Malcolm Lui: Definitely better. What's good about it is that people have these negative connotations to it but then they get surprised when it's totally different right.
Jason Forrest: Yeah.
Malcolm Lui: And you have their attention and make them think a bit about it. Final two questions. Sure your ideal clients and what's the best way for them to reach you and your team
Jason Forrest: So are I ideal client our clients who want to bring in sales training as again part of their strategy that it's a commitment to them from the top down. It's something that they know will move the needle for them and they're going to take it seriously. That's our our ideal client. They can find us at FPGA dot com stands for forced performance group FPGA dot com and we also we also have a really great way to get to know us. Have a new book coming out coming out called The the the mindset of a worry of a sales warrior the mindset of a sales warrior it's forty three strategies on getting rid of those leashes as performance you will sell knowledge on leashes so letting go that resistance and the strategies on how to do that. All my coaching I've done around that and we have a master class where we teach it right now in a very very on a monthly basis and it's FPGA masterclass dot dark comedy then come in there and sign up for the master classes where we'll go through the strategies live but then also have recordings of it too and I also do coaching on there. So we have people that opt in for it be coached by me for 15 minutes of it and we use as a case study to help other people learn from it.
Malcolm Lui: Very cool. Now the FTC masterclasses is a free fast yet that you provide. Those are interest they can raise their hand and talking further about your other programs or is this a page program right off the bat
Jason Forrest: It is a paper my right off the bat but it's the only program that I actually personally do. So all my over clients is up there with my other trainers and so it's the thing that I do. But I will tell you it's very very affordable. We're only talking you know hundreds of bucks a month for a person and but then when it gets you less than that if companies end up signing multiple people at the same time you know to be a part of the group. So
Malcolm Lui: Right now. Do you ever fire clients for the ones that you bring on board. They you go through the training you help them as much as you possibly can but for whatever reason whatever their leashes are they just don't implement and execute them. So they're in the 70 percent
Jason Forrest: Good question. So we what we do is we. We do. I would say about about once a year ish I would say there's probably one client that that we agree that we don't work together. So meaning that yes I guess you could say that we fire them. It does. It does say in our contract. So majority of our contracts that they're in the full fledged program are actually month month. We're the only training company that actually does month with contracts normally as a 12 month agreement and we just believe that if the program's not working and we shouldn't stay on just because of that. So we won't have that accountability. If you're in the full program you're not in a full program then we can't guarantee the success. So we do ask for a longer commitment for that but what it does say in the contract that we can fire them or they can fire us know any month
Malcolm Lui: Yeah and it makes sense to it. If they're not willing to go ahead and commit and take action on what you're helping them it's it's really not in their best interest to continue in my opinion.
Jason Forrest: Well. And I just automate my billboard. So one of things that we tell people is that our brand is we really want to become our not be known for the cross fit of sales training the cross fit of sales training. So we said that a lot. That's probably the right billboard there. But also took your point a lot of people they don't they don't know they're getting themselves into. Like they they like oh I could really do that. That sounds great. But it's such an intense program that we really want to turn you into sales warriors and make your sales seem very disciplined and your managers very accountable and all that has to happen and so a lot of it's just too much for their culture to handle and they're just not right. Not everyone can be Nick Saban be Pete Carroll or Bill Belichick or you know these world powers you know these strong coaches and there's not all of them just don't have the grit for it
Malcolm Lui: Yeah it takes time. It's not much smaller overnight sort of thing. No doubt no doubt about that.
Jason Forrest: That's right.
Malcolm Lui: Jason it's been awesome having you on my show today. I really enjoyed hearing how you grew your company so fast and as well as the insights you shared about sales and leadership and culture building
Jason Forrest: Thank you. I've enjoyed it as well. I look forward to sharing it with the audience.
Malcolm Lui: We've been speaking with Jason Forrest, the CEO of Forrest Performance Group, about his company's rapid growth. For interviews with other fast growing, high value sales companies, or to learn how we can accelerate your firm's high value sales through automation, visit Eversprint.com.
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