Or, how to turn sales training into sales success
Hands up. Have you ever been on a sales training course and wished you hadn’t. I’ve been lucky with my sales training. On the whole it has been superb, except for a rather boring two days when the trainer put me through powerpoint hell somewhere near Milton Keynes.
Time is certainly a great healer!
Seriously though, I’ve had a lot of clients tell me they’ve spent days with a sales trainer when they really wish they had been sat in front of a hot prospect.
Want to know why sales training doesn’t always do the job?
As a B2B sales person for over 30 years, I have been on a lot of sales training programs. From IBM, through to in house training, I have experienced the good, the bad and occasionally the downright ugly. Here are my top 5 reasons why sales training doesn’t always work.
The Sales Persons Attitude
“I can sell already. I don’t need to go on a sales training course!”
As a trainer I have heard this so many times and I bet there are many sales managers out there whose stomach sinks through the floor when they hear this negative phrase.
Want to know something Mr or Mrs “I am the best sales person in the world and I don’t need training”? You are wrong! So, so very wrong. You are so wrong you probably shouldn’t be in sales.
In my experience when I have heard a sales person say they don’t need sales training, it is usually becomes quickly obvious that they actually do. In one case, I had a sales person tell everyone at the start of a training course I was delivering, that they can already talk the talk and was surprised that they were asked to attend.
The funny thing was, when it came to the session on questioning, it became quite obvious that they didn’t know how to uncover a prospects needs.
Let’s face it, if you can’t uncover a prospects needs, then you will always struggle to sell them anything!
Not The Sales Trainer For The Job
Just because a sales training company comes highly recommended, or has worked with other blue chip companies, does not mean that they will be any good at training the sales team. A round peg in a square hole just won’t work, no matter how many times you bash it on the head.
One of my other corporate clients always brings in outside sales trainers to deliver training to their sales team. The sales team are each responsible for winning big deals with often protracted negotiations, so the sales training needs to match their specific requirements.
At the end of the presenting session with myself, one of the team said that the role play had been great because it actually related to what they do in the field. I asked them to explain and was more than a little surprised at the answer.
The previous year they had been asked by the trainer to role play selling a Brussel Sprout and because they didn’t take it seriously they had scored low in that session. They worked in the heavy freight industry, so a Brussel Sprout to them was only relevant at their annual Christmas dinner.
It turned out that the previous year the training department had engaged a well known sales training company with a background in high street retail sales. Knowing nothing at all about heavy freight, the trainers were unable to relate the training to the delegates reality of selling high value and extremely complex solutions within the transport sector.
Definitely a case of round peg in square hole.
Practice Makes Perfect
One of the first sales training courses I went on in 1988, was to sell an IBM typewriter. I spent a week learning the whole sales process, but more importantly we got a lot of time to practice what we learnt. In fact, we were filmed practicing with each other. 30 years later I still have the VHS tape of every single role play I was in that week.
You see, the more you do something the easier it gets. Even better when you have someone there helping you perfect your techniques in the safe environment of a training room.
If you ever get the chance to practice any of your sales skills, whether on a course, or with a colleague, then grab the opportunity with both hands. I mean, who wants to make a mistake in front of that big hot prospect. I certainly didn’t want to risk it.
Sales Training Sticking Plaster
Here is the thing about sales training, you have to follow it up. It’s kind of the same for most training really.
You walk out of the training room after 4 days, feeling like a sales robot. Your trainer has shown you all the techniques that you were promised on Day 1, and off you go with renewed vigour to close more deals and earn more commission.
Then what happens. The company doesn’t check if you are actually practicing what you have been taught, let alone making sure you are doing it right.
Sales training is like a sticking plaster or if you live the other side of the pond, a band-aid. If there is no one there to help you keep it in place, then it will simply drop off and therefore not work.
What a waste of your companies training budget. Even worse if that was your hard earned money! Being accountable is key.
Little Or No Sales Training Available
There are many companies out there who struggle to find the budget to train their salespeople. It always amazes me why some companies spend a fortune paying recruiters to hire salespeople, then not give them the tools to do the job. Sales training is a tool just like any other, and with the right investment can deliver an excellent return for that investment.
Also, it doesn’t matter how long a salesperson has been selling, they still need the training to refresh their skills during the sales process. In fact, it is just as important for those experienced sales pros to have as much training as the newbies. Great companies invest in all their salespeople, not just those new into sales.
How To Ensure You Get The Right Sales Training For You
- Be honest with your company – If you think you can improve your sales performance, but not sure how then ask for sales training. Salespeople are an expensive commodity and every company needs to get a return for their investment in you.
- Take all the sales training you can – Never turn down the opportunity to learn new skills that could help you sell more successfully. The better you get, the more you earn remember.
- Practice in the field – Don’t be afraid to try out the sales techniques you have learned. Just changing one small thing can really make a huge difference to your sales performance, and quite likely the size of your commission cheques.
- Get support – The best sales training always has some kind of follow up or support in place. If you go on sales training that doesn’t, then look for someone to help keep you heading in the right direction. If you don’t have someone to coach you in your company, then look at independent sales coaches and trainers. Investing in a sales coach is something that many of the top salespeople do, because quite simply…it works!
- Sales training feedback – Your company, trainer or coach needs to know if the sales training is getting the results you all expect. Successful salespeople don’t just have the confidence and know how to sell. They also make sure that they surround themselves with a team who want the best for them. Positive and negative feedback will always help your team do that for you.
- Sales skills are your responsibility too – Don’t rely on others to help you to provide you with the sales training to help you sell more successfully. If sales training isn’t provided, or simply not good enough to help you be the best, then you need to find some that do. From online sales training to 1 to 1 sales coaching, there is a lot of help out there.
If you know you could be a lot more successful at selling, but you just don’t have the sales train and support available, then we need to talk. I guarantee that after a 20-minute FREE sales accelerator call, you will have a clear picture of exactly what you need to do to in order to sell more successfully and earn more money.
Go on admit it. That’s why you are in sales isn’t it?