The first thing you should know about Larry Lewis is that he is an advocate for entrepreneurship and small business. He believes that small businesses are the backbone of our economy and the foundation of our society. They provide their owners with the independence they crave and their employees with a better place to work. Although he has worked for larger, Fortune 1000 companies as both an employee and a consultant, he prefers working with small and medium-sized businesses.
Growing up in a family business – a wholesale distribution company that sold heating and cooling equipment to HVAC dealers – gave Larry the opportunity to witness firsthand just how important sales and marketing skills are to the success of the typical small business. While good products and services are important, sales and marketing skills are what typically separate the winners from the losers.
After his father decided to sell the family business Larry enrolled in law school and became a trial lawyer, learning the psychology of persuasion while honing his presentation skills in the courtroom. In 1990, he transitioned from practicing law to helping lawyers work more efficiently by going to work for Lexis-Nexis. It was here that he was introduced to the concept of SPIN Selling and, for the first time, he realized the power of using a systematic approach to selling.
Using systems for prospecting and selling, Larry discovered that he could accomplish far more in less time. His selling cycle grew shorter. He no longer wasted time preparing proposals for customers that weren’t going to buy. His closing ratio improved and he quit chasing prospects that wouldn’t make a decision. Using a system for selling, his sales results grew rapidly and he became one of the top sales representatives for Lexis Nexis from 1992 through 1995.
Longing for the independence that compels most small business owners to go into business for themselves, Larry acquired a Sandler Sales Institute franchise in 1996 and started his own sales training business. Armed with his new selling system and the mission of providing small businesses with the tools and training they need to be more successful, he built a strong foundation of new clients in a very short time. However, as the world entered the new millennium, Larry began to find that many of the prospecting methods and selling strategies he taught were growing less effective.
In 2000, Google was fast becoming a household word. After the tragedy of 9-11 customers became less accessible. Voice mail systems were replacing most gatekeepers. New technologies such as e-mail, cellular phones, and the internet were giving customers the freedom to execute their job functions away from their desks. Decision-makers were becoming more skeptical.
As a result, many of the strategies and techniques Larry taught as a Sandler franchisee were quickly growing stale. He needed more effective ways of reaching prospective clients. He needed a better system for generating referrals. He needed selling strategies that could keep pace with today’s rapidly changing sales environment.
In 2003, Larry sold his franchise and returned to corporate America where he worked as a sales development manager and as a salesperson on straight-commission. It was here that he had the chance to refine his approach to sales. He began incorporating strategies and insights from some of the best sales minds in the country into his personal selling playbook. These were people like Neil Rackham, Bill Brooks, and the Miller-Heiman organization along with lesser-known, but equally talented sales experts like Jeff Thull, Jim Camp, Dave Kurlan and Art Sobczak.
In 2008, Larry re-launched his sales development business under a new brand: Client Builder Sales & Marketing. Armed with his self-designed sales process and a sales training program tailor-made for today’s rapidly changing sales environment, his business quickly took off. In 2010, he wrote his first book titled Client Builder Selling and in 2011 his program was embraced by the Professional Business Coaches Alliance. Today, Client Builder Sales & Marketing has more than a dozen licensed sales coaches located throughout the United States and Canada.
It was through the PBCA that Larry Lewis met Bernie Heine, Michael Andersen and Tim McKinnon. All three immediately signed on to become licensed Client Builder Sales Coaches and their experience and sales acumen became readily apparent. Within a year of embracing Client Builder Sales & Marketing’s tools and training, Bernie and Michael began collaborating with Larry Lewis on larger projects and the two have made their mark on the future direction of the firm. In 2014, Tim McKinnon joined the team to give Client Builder Sales & Marketing a stronger presence in Canada.