Yes, I know that the landscape is littered with false promises and terrible advice about how sales training can help your company turn things around. Maybe you have fallen for some of those promises yourself – and been burned.

Don’t despair. There really is a foolproof training plan to get out of a sales slump and enable your reps to start hitting and exceeding their goals. Here is the outline of a training process that includes all of the elements that lead to success. I guarantee that it succeeds 100% of the time:

  1. Prepare your team to receive the training.
    • Without motivation there can be no significant learning. Reps must see the need to change, and they must believe in the benefits they will receive.
    • Give them pre-work to prepare them for the training experience. This will allow you to focus more on the application of new skills during your training.
  2. Train your team on the specific, teachable skills that are required to excel at sales. The five Critical Sales Skills identified by Action Selling are: Buyer/Seller Relationship; Sales Call Planning; Questioning Skills; Presentation Skills; Gaining Commitment.
    • Focus first on the bottleneck in your sales cycle that is causing the most trouble. Does the problem involve prospecting calls? Needs assessment? Presentations? Something else? As an example, if the bottleneck you are working on is “needs assessment,” a focus on questioning skills would make sense. (How, exactly, do you analyze your sales cycle to identify the bottleneck? More on that in an upcoming edition of eCoach.)
    • Create exercises that allow each rep to put their own spin on the activity. Use an open-architecture method for exercises, where reps are guided to create their own solutions.
    • Start with the fundamentals, and quickly build upon each skill using relevant examples. Once you’re sure the baseline skills exist, expand the training to fit your specific situation.
    • Create role-play scenarios using actual client situations so that reps have a chance to practice on deals they are currently trying to make…
Duane Sparks

About Duane Sparks

Duane Sparks is founder and chairman of The Sales Board, the authoritative source of practical and leading-edge information about the art and science of selling. He has created Action Selling sales training products and learning systems that transform sales organizations. Duane is author of these best-selling books: Action Selling, Selling Your Price, Questions (the Answer to Sales), Masters of Loyalty (How to turn your sales force into a loyalty force), and Sales Strategy from the Inside Out (How complex selling really works).

Discover how the best sales training process can make spectacular improvements in sales skills. Action Selling: How to Sell Like a Professional (Even If You Think You are One).