There are no two companies that train alike. Some go all out. Some do little or none. From my personal observation over the past five years, training (especially sales training) is in decline. Training budgets follow the economy and corporate profits.
I wince at the word “training,” because I have always associated it with lions and elephants. The word “education” seems more appropriate.
Training teaches you, “how.”
Education teaches you, “why.”
The person who knows how will always have a job. The person who knows why will always be his boss. (Although many people claim to be the author of this quote, it was originally written by Ralph Waldo Emerson around 1870. Emerson used “man” rather than the PC version “person.”)
Most companies provide salespeople initial, minimal training of essential product knowledge and basic sales skills. Big deal. Then the real world kicks in and the salesperson is expected to produce without the real skills he or she needs to “make plan” or “achieve quota” before they “get fired.”
Pile on the facts that customers have situations, barriers, problems and objections not covered in training, while the boss is demanding “cold calls” and all kinds of accountability. If you combine those elements with zero attitude training, low belief system, and constant rejection, it’s no wonder early turnover in some companies (maybe yours) exceeds 25 percent.
Here is a list of the major categories that need to be included in the training/education of your sales force in order to retain good people and achieve your sales objectives:
• Personal-development skills. Attitude comes before sales success. Positive attitude, followed by the five parts of belief, and classes on achievement and listening. Educate employees to make them better people before you throw them into the market.
• Communication skills. How to speak and how to write are at the fulcrum of sales success. Poor communication skills OR poor writing skills will lead to failure faster than anything other than poor attitude.
• Buying motives. Why people buy is almost never taught, yet it’s THE most powerful concept a salesperson can possess. Teach it at your best customer’s place of business.
• Product knowledge. It’s not an option to make your salespeople experts before they hit the road or the phone. Teach it at your best customer’s place of business.
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