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If I Have to Sit Through One More Sales Training Class… (Part 1)

We're an hour into this 3-day class. It's a train wreck.

A colleague of mine is a partner in an outsourced telesales firm.  I know him from his past life as a salesrep.  He worked for several big name technology companies and was consistently the top performer.  He is a sales heavy-hitter if there ever was one.

He and I were discussing sales training.  He said, “I can’t tell you how many sales training programs I’ve sat through.  Every major vendor.  The programs were too long, didn’t provide me with value, and frankly were an incredible waste of time.”  Here is what got me: he said, “I was offended that management would think so little of me that they would force me to sit through that.” 

Does this person need training?  Sure.  He admits he does.  But the training he needs must provide him with value—it’s got to help him do one thing—sell more.

Here are some abuses that your salesreps should never be subjected to:

  • Being trained by someone who has never sold.
  • Being trained by someone who doesn’t know anything about how your customers buy.
  • Being trained by someone who knows nothing about the industries into which you sell.
  • Being trained by someone who doesn’t understand how tough your competitors are.
  • Being trained by someone who tells them what they have to do, but not how to do it.
  • Being trained by someone whose program materials are old enough to be irrelevant.
  • Being forced to sit through training where the content doesn’t apply to them.
  • Being trained on a skill or a process only to find out after the program that there are no tools and no reinforcement—and management doesn’t know anything about what the reps learned.
  • Coming out of a class confused about what to do next.
  • Unfortunately this list of abuses goes on…

When abuses like this happen, there is generally plenty of blame to pass around.  But the blame rarely falls in the lap of the sales professional.  Just to set the record straight:

Salesreps have the right to be educated, trained, motivated, and sufficiently prepared to leave the training session with improved selling capabilities, no matter how much experience they have. 

Salesreps have the responsibility of participating in a training program with an open mind, ready and willing to learn, share their experiences, and to do what it takes to elevate themselves and their team to the next level of sales performance. 

This is Part 1 of a two-part post.   Here is Part 2.

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One Response

  1. Hey Dave,

    I agree 100%. when I was selling for other companies nothing ticked me off more than realizing the guy teaching us to make cold calls had never made one himself! I think its irresponsible for trainers to teach sales when they have never sold, never studied or talked to a buyer and don’t understand the selling environment

    Cheers Colleen

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