Many sales people, sales managers and corporate executives who have invested in sales and sales management training have been frustrated with the results. In many cases, after spending tens of thousands of dollars on sales training programs, there was no positive change in behavior or no measurable improvement in sales results.Will Your Sales or Sales Management Training Programs Succeed? Probably Not. Here’s Why!The methods of the training program itself is the main reason for these expensive failures, not the size of the investment or the skill level of the students As reported in Dale’s study, the average person forgets 90% of what they hear in a lecture based training program. Yet most sales and sales management training seminars still consist of only programs given around a board room table.Lectured based sales training is the same as inviting a “facilitator” to speak to your professional baseball team, and then sending them into the game expecting them to win. Can that really happen, just because you hired some expert to talk about how the game should be played? Ridiculous, isn’t it? So why then do so many organizations believe they can train their sales people by sending them to sales training courses where they only listen to a lecture for a few hours and expect them to be quota busters when they get back to their desks on Monday morning?Think about it. Students can’t learn everything about sales all at once. Training is much more effective when it takes place over time and when it builds on previous skills already mastered. Sales is a process that can be repeated, but no one ever learned to play the violin in one afternoon.The second reason many sales training seminars don’t succeed is that the purchaser doesn’t know what it is exactly that he needs to get out of the training course In other words, they don’t have any clear goals or objectives. What is it that you want to achieve from your sales or sales management training course? Are you struggling in one specific area of the sales process where you need concentration?Since no two sales or sales management training seminars are created equal, you must know exactly what your goals and objectives are before you make any purchases. You must also know what particular competences you wish to acquire by completing the training.Don’t act too quickly however. Focusing on the symptoms of the issues will not fix the real issues themselves. For example, is it that you are not making the required number of prospecting calls to be successful, or is it that your prospecting approach itself is not effective? Is one of your issues that you are not asking the right questions in your fact find meetings, or is it that you are not [meeting with the right|are meeting with the wrong] person in the first place?By knowing why most sales training courses fail, you can avoid the common mistakes before you invest, and you can make a wise buying decision for you and your sales team.Aim Higher!Susan A. Enns, B2B Sales Connections
How a sales training course, with some unique techniques, was developed to give each member of an average team an effective process and selling success.The new sales manager was introduced to the existing team at their monthly meeting. The team of 15 field sales people were a mixed bag of industry veterans that had been around forever, and younger people who had moved into selling from other parts of the company. There were a couple of salesmen and women that had sold in other markets, and some with C.V.s that showed a long a list of selling related roles such as account management and company representatives.After the introductions the new manager wanted to get a feel for the level of sales skills the team had. In a conversational style, the manager asked questions that would highlight the team’s knowledge and experience. The idea was to assess their sales skills and the manager would then provide the sales training courses that would increase each individual’s sales results and make the team successful.After asking questions and discussing the sales process that each of the team used, the manager discovered the following:Very few of the sales team had an effective sales process that took the prospect from first contact to closing the sale. One of the more mature team members said they had received only one sales training course in their 20 years with the company.Each sales person on the team had one way of selling, and their lack of sales skills meant there was no flexibility in their sales pitches. If what they did didn’t work they lost the sale, and then blamed the company, the product, or even the prospect.Sales introductions focused on telling the prospect that they would try to offer them a cheaper deal than the one they currently had. Sales questions were poor and did not highlight real customer needs. They established the details of what the customer currently had, but not what they really wanted.All the sales presentations were based on price. The aim of all the sales presentations to prospects was to beat the current supplier’s and the competitor’s prices. Despite the team’s many years in sales they had not had effective sales training on how to sell to a prospect’s needs. The team talked about features and benefits but didn’t know how to use them to sell.Sales objections were answered with prepared replies that came from their own experience and they had no real process for dealing with objections.You would expect the sales manager to have been surprised, and disappointed, at his new team’s lack of sales ability. Here was a team of people who had been in sales for many years but did not know or understand the sales process. You might think the manager would feel there was a massive uphill struggle ahead to turn this team into consistent target achievers. But the experienced manager had seen it all before. It’s an unfortunate fact that many people in sales have not had the benefit of effective training. There are sales teams around the world in exactly the same situation as this one. Some have had sales training, but it either hasn’t worked or they haven’t taken the techniques on board. Others haven’t received sales training. Many sales people don’t know what they don’t know, they are unconsciously incompetent. It isn’t their fault and it can quickly be fixed.Instead of feeling negative about the new team the manager used a sales training course that covered all the sales skills needed to build a successful selling process. The course used a step by step guide so that all sales people could learn, and fully understand, the professional sales skills presented. What made the course different was a unique set of exercises that helped each person to build their own successful selling process one stage at a time.It started with a sales introduction, that grabbed the prospect’s attention, and then used special motivation techniques to move them through to the next stage, sales questions. The clear instructions, and unique exercise program, showed every person on the team how to structure their sales questioning to get all the prospect’s real needs. Then the sales presentation section used a technique that really explains features and benefits, and how to use them for selling success. The sales presentation gently led into an easy closing technique, which meant there was no need to use trick closes or hard sell techniques. One of the most effective parts of the sales training course was the sales objection section. A four step process that was easy to use in real sales situations.The sales training course worked so well because it had been developed by the sales manager while training and coaching real sales people in the field. These were not complicated classroom sales skills, which had obviously not worked with many of the team in the past. This was sales training that had been developed and proven with working sales people, selling to real buyers, and each individual on the team used the course content to achieve selling success. The result was that each team member had an effective sales process, in their own words, and unique to their products and services.