Why train salespeople?

As a sales trainer and coach, I’m asked this question all the time. Well, here are some answers.

1. The half-life of a Sales Professional is 3-5 years. That means that in 3-5 years, half of what the person knows about selling is obsolete.

2. Experience by itself will never be enough to keep up with the changing sales markets. What would you do if the physician said, “I haven’t read a book or been to a seminar in medicine since I graduated from med school 20 years ago.”

3. Why do the very best of every profession spend so much time in training?

4. Top sales producers commit to regularly, on-going training. Not just training now and then training.

5. “The success of current business strategies and the development of innovations frequently hinge on the skills of the sales force. Customer Service strategies are impossible unless the sales force is well-trained in this arena.”
– ASTD, Annual Research Report.

6. A new salesperson’s enthusiasm will carry them for the first 90 days, then selling skills must be in place or a dramatic drop (or total failure) in productivity will occur. Without skill reinforcement, in 12 to 18 months another drop (approximately 20 percent) will occur.

7. About 80 percent of first-year salespeople develop fears of selling and fail because they lack the basic skills of selling, as well as “fully” understanding the “hidden” success steps necessary in successful selling.

8. Past experience and formal education have no correlation to success in selling. Desire and commitment is what matters.

9. Make your sales calls count. “Companies with less than 10 salespeople report an average sales call cost of $336.00.”
– McGraw-Hill Research

10. “Sales people completing a selling skills intensive training program show increases in productivity ranging from 35 percent to 1665 percent. Yet, an estimated 70 percent of companies provide no selling skills development at all.” Why? Again, would you want your doctor to have had no further training since med school?
– ASTD, Annual Research Report.

11. Companies often lump product knowledge, motivational “rah rah” sessions and technical skills development under the heading of “sales training.” Yet none of these actually help the person sell skillfully. Product knowledge is “not” what makes the sale. Product knowledge is important, but “only” having a focus here creates what we call an opportunity to present all that you know and do the single most dangerous thing in sales. UNPAID CONSULTING!!!

12. We see training as insurance on our biggest asset – human resources. Find me a company without that insurance, that has stopped training its salespeople, and I’ll target that market and that company and have its business by year’s end. David Barcusee of Bergen-Brunswig.
– Sales & Marketing Management Magazine, January 1990.

13. “95 percent of the training that’s done on the job is done so poorly that the job suffers measurably. And both the trainer and the trainee agree that it’s the trainee’s fault, but it isn’t.”
– Training Magazine June 1993

14. “Great salespeople have an edge because they are able to let go of obsolete ideas…”
– Donald Trump – Personal Selling Power, September, 1993

15. After one year on the job, it costs approximately $125,000 to replace a Sales Professional.

16. After the first 90 days, the enthusiasm of a new job wears off and reality sets in. Without continual development, 80 percent of “new to sales” people will wash out of selling within the year.

17. Lastly, most companies focus on the wrong end of the problem when they train. They train only on skill development, not on fixing the two major reasons that get in salespeople’s way: self -limiting belief systems, what we call their “head trash”; and self-limiting behaviors. All the skill training in the world will not create more successful salespeople unless you focus on these other two.

Result? A changed, successful salesperson.
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Categories: Sales & Marketing