If you haven’t had sales training this year, jump ship.
If you’re giving it your all and your organization isn’t supporting your efforts with fresh ideas and tools to help you succeed, another company deserves you more. After all, according to 2012 research from Aberdeen Group, “82% of best-in-class companies require sales training as compared with only 68% of laggard companies.”
Here is the rub. You, if you’re the DOS, have invested in your team. You, if you’re the sales person, listened, participated, agreed and desired to implement the new ideas but nothing changed. The economy and your competitive position in your market played more into additional or fewer sales than your skill.
3 Things to Do to Sell More After Sales Training
Regardless of how smart the new sales training ideas are, they won’t work if you don’t. Okay, I know you didn’t want to hear that but it’s true. Trying them a few times, particularly when they aren’t an ingrained habit and you aren’t competent or confident applying them – and then, not getting excellent results – isn’t the method that ensures success!
1. Practice. Role Play. Work it! Get a partner and go through the parts of the training that resonated for you and practice it again and again, and yes, again. Not only does this guarantee that you grasp it, but it breaks the current pattern and habit you would have fallen back to if you didn’t take the time to become intimate with the new strategies.
Regardless of how smart the new sales training ideas are, they won’t work if management doesn’t support them. There are few things that drive me more nuts as a sales trainer when leadership requires the team to attend training but they are too busy to do so. They “observe” for a few minutes and then exit to do more important stuff.
If you selected the right training, the group is hearing innovative strategies, people! New stuff! Fresh ideas. And it’s likely that management (you!) haven’t had the time to learn this stuff or you would be coaching your team without paying for a trainer. (This part makes perfect sense; you’re too busy managing, selling and doing the gabillions of other things on your plate!) But how will you coach the team and support them with their new skills if you aren’t the top learner?
2. Schedule the training when leadership can participate, play and learn, too. I’m not suggesting the VP of Sales has to sit in the entire day but if she or he can, why not? DOS and DOSM, this is your time to demonstrate your commitment to learning and your commitment to your team. Don’t allow an observer’s table in the back of the room. Learn with your team; they’ll respect you more, be more comfortable learning and get the message that this is so important that even you are willing to spend the day updating and refreshing your skills.
Regardless of how smart the new sales training ideas are, they won’t work if they aren’t relevant to you. Think of an off-the-shelf program like an old can of green beans. If the training company has a pdf or workbook that they use for everyone (other than “branding” it with your company logo), run, don’t walk, away from the training. You may also want to check the copyright date on that workbook. I saw one recently from 2008!
3. Start with “Why?” Why is it important to learn new ideas? When your team can answer that, they create their own buy in to learn.
Then, build on their current success. (Trainer has to know what they’re doing well to help them grow their success.)
Finally, insist the training incorporate your examples, your situations, your challenges. Training that boosts sales tackles actual, practical, real life issues that your team struggles with every day. “Here is the way you did it” and “here are new tactics and strategies to do it” transforms thinking and drives revenue, sales and success.