- They have the wrong content. That is, they simply teach the wrong things.
- The training is rejected by salespeople. The trainees never “buy into” the premise that the program has useful things to teach.
- The training doesn’t “transfer” from the class to the job. Even if the trainees learn how to do something differently, they don’t go back and do it in the field, where it would count.
SUCCESSFUL TRAINING MUST FOCUS ON SKILLS THAT CAN BE TAUGHT, LEARNED, MASTERED, AND MEASURED.What’s more, the skills you are trying to impart must be presented and used within the context of a well-documented and effective sales process. The process must derive from solid research, and it must ring true to experienced salespeople. If they can punch holes in it, you’re done. The process and the training program must be custom-tailored to your company. A basic principle of effective training is to tie the learning to real organizational objectives. Training works best when salespeople have a clear vision of how the things they learn can help them and their company to accomplish concrete goals that they actually care about. One more thing: There might be a hundred skills that are teachable and learnable, and that contribute to sales success. But you can’t teach anyone how to do a hundred things well. You need to identify, teach, and reinforce the handful of skills that are most critical to high performance in a sales role. Therefore, Action Selling focuses on teaching what we call the Five Critical Selling Skills, rather than 40 or 50 of them. (If someone wants to sell you a training program that does claim to teach 50 skills, run!) Here is the handful of skills that we believe make the greatest contribution to long-term performance gains in selling. If you agree that the whole point of sales training is to produce meaningful, lasting performance gains, then the best way to avoid wasting money on ineffective sales training is to understand what the effective kind looks like. This was a brief overview of some ingredients that make up the “right content” for successful sales training. In upcoming issues of this newsletter, we will look at the other major causes of training failure, “rejected by salespeople” and “ineffective transfer.” For information about how to make sales training pay huge dividends, contact Action Selling at (800) 232-3485. Intrigued? For a fuller discussion of the key factors that determine whether sales training will succeed or fail, see our NEWLY REVISED white paper, 90% of All Sales Force Training Fails: Here’s the Problem – And the Solution.
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).