The best sales training is not sales training Toggle the boxes to read through.

Your sales training should start with a positive attitudeBecause the title of this page is " The best sales training is not sales training" some readers may think that there must be something wrong with me or that I drink too much, or both. But no, there is nothing wrong with me and I hardly ever drink, the reason for this title is, if you take a team of sales agents who were selling consistently but now are not selling and divide them into two groups: the first group is put through an intensive sales training, sales techniques and objection handling and the other group is put through motivational training (no sales as such included, only attitude, self image and motivation). At the end of this training session the group which underwent the attitude and motivation training will in most cases perform better and show more improvement than the other group.

There are many reasons for this, perhaps the most logical is the fact that in a typical sales training situation the trainee is simply taught more and more sales techniques, more features about the product and some pressure as well (things like, 'you improve your figures or you may be replaced'). In most cases the person's inner fears, doubts and insecurity are not even mentioned let alone dealt with. It is my personal belief, and a lot of top sales trainers share my opinion, that is where the real problem lies, the inner person. Change the person's perception of what 'sales' are really like, instead of only showing different ways of describing the product or handle customer's objections, and the results will be overwhelming.

Psychologists, the best sales trainers?

The attitude sales training is the real foundation upon which all sales techniques, compliance and health and safety are built upon.I am a firm believer that very soon there will be psychologists working as sales trainers and sales managers, the training given will be more like fifty percent attitude and psychology of sales and fifty percent sales as such (this fifty percent will include compliance, health and safety and product knowledge). Now it is eighty to ninety percent compliance and health and safety, it looks as if they are training staff to be health and safety officers and compliance officers, instead of sales consultants. That is the main reason why people walk away from the job just after a few weeks (sometimes a few days), they have no idea what the job is like. When the training methods change into proper sales training everybody will be much happier, the companies will save a fortune as they don't need a new sales force every couple of months and the sales personnel will be much better prepared to do a job that can be very stressful, complicated and sometimes even daunting.

The attitude sales training is the real foundation upon which all sales techniques, compliance and health and safety are built upon.

I am not saying that there shouldn't be compliance and health and safety, this type of training is necessary in sales training, but the new trainees should first and foremost be trained on how to sell, now they are only being trained on being compliant, they are not being trained on how to sell, and as a result they don't normally last for any length of time.

You don't do the right thing once in a while, you do the right thing all of the time.
You don't strive to do the right thing once in a while, you strive to do the right thing all of the time.
Winning is a habit
and, unfortunately, so is losing.

You can learn a lot from good books

Whenever I get a chance I read a good book, most of the acquired knowledge comes from books. If you are interested on the subject I can totally recommend the following:

Psycho-Cybernetics, The Greatest Salesman in the World and
The Official Guide to Success by Tom Hopkins.

They are some of the best on the subject of how you can use your mind to achieve greatness in the world of 'sales'. The first explains how the thoughts that you hold in your mind control everything that happens to you, irrespective of your circumstances, and the other two are sales books but are a breed apart from training manuals that are full of unrealistic promises and confuse the readers with unnecessary terminology and advanced principles that very few people understand.

A typical example
How the sales training works (or rather, how it doesn't work) in some companies
A certain company, let" s call it Somecompany wants to hire sales personnel for an existing sales campaign, they advertise the sales positions with a well known recruitment agency, the recruitment ad reads as follows: Sales staff required for a very exciting campaign, no experience required as we give you all the training you need, new product on the market, very easy to sell. This company is a market leader and has gone from strength to strength over the last 12 months. This company has the best sales training in the industry as well as one of the best commission structures on the market. They have a lot of replies, a lot of those replies come from very young people, first job, lots of dreams and ambitions. The ones who were successful at the interview were offered a job and told, " You start on Monday, such and such a date, the first 3 days you will have an induction training where we will tell you all you need to know in order to be successful and make lots of money.

On the day they arrive at the company" s premises where the induction training is taking place they are all given a warm welcome by a very nice looking girl who assures them that this a brilliant start, it" s a very good company to work for and they are all going to learn a lot over the next three days and after this induction training they will be raring to go.

For the next three days they are all kept very busy, loads of information about the company, the products they will be selling and all the different rules and regulations. All the information that they get concerns the product, compliance and health and safety, but no sales training as such. On the third and last day of this induction training, in the afternoon, there is some proper sales training, a very brief explanation of NLP, and some information about the commission structure. They all decide right there and then that they are all going to make a lot of money, thinking that they already have everything they need to succeed. This young and nice looking girl (that in some cases has never sold anything in her life, and has no idea what the real world of sales is like), has spent a lot of the induction training assuring them that everything and everybody will be just fine.

On Thursday morning and just a couple of hours into the job a couple of trainees (there were 12 in total) decide to leave, it" s not what they expected. The other ones were assigned areas to work and given very clear instructions on what to do and how to do it. Most of them start to wonder if they had done the right thing. The strong minded ones are trying really hard and in some cases achieving positive results.

There are only 3 sales agents left. The others no longer work for the company, some decided to leave and others were dismissed as they didn't produce what they were expected to produce. The morale among the group is low, and the only help they get from the people in charge are reminders that if they don't increase their figures they will have to go as well. One of the agents who is trying really hard asks the manager for help, the manager's answer is, " you should know that, it was all covered in the training" .

That" s correct, nobody benefits from a situation like this, neither the company nor the sales personnel. The company won't benefit from this situation because the sales personnel is very poorly trained so whatever sales they do won't probably be genuine sales. Those clients will probably never buy anything from that company again, so the image of the company will be greatly affected.

The sales personnel have not done anything wrong, it" s just that they were asked to do a job that they knew nothing about. Sometimes sales staff mislead the clients because they are under a lot of pressure from management to produce results, but end up getting into a lot of trouble so they more or less come to the conclusion that they don't really want to stay in sales, they think that they have to do something wrong in order to survive in this business. The selling profession is a very noble profession and nobody should be expected to sell by misleading the clients, if these sales agents are doing this for the first time then probably they will stay well clear of sales jobs in the future.

Everybody loses because of poor training, the companies, the sales staff and the people who buy products or services from this company. This is also one of the main reasons why the sales profession is considered, in some circles, a demeaning profession.

Watch this space for a brand new book on the subject

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