Historically, many companies embrace sales training strategies during the first quarter of most years.
This is a great way to kick off the New Year, re-motivate the team, as well as put in place some sound principles to help the team sell more by selling more effectively.
Following, please find a checklist for you to use as you put your training program together.
- Don’t just train skills: One of the big failings in most sales training programs is the trainer focuses exclusively on sales skills. Research has shown that all humans have a certain plateau, above which skills will not produce a measurable nor a significant improvement.
In other words, once you hit your plateau, getting very much better, very rapidly, is very difficult. Your training program must include a focus on the sales process.
Understanding the relationship between activities and results is the “secret sauce” of world-class sales training.
- Alignment: There are five different buying styles that have been researched and proven. If your training doesn’t align with the dominant buying style in your market, you may inadvertently train your people to do the wrong thing.
- Reinforcement: The number one reason that sales training fails to produce permanent results is because it’s not reinforced. Your training program must contain a reinforcement measure that enables management to inspect compliance with recommended best practices, as presented in the training curriculum.
- It’s not just a mental game: Many training programs assume that you can lecture your way into sales success. Nothing could be further from the truth. Selling, just like many human activities, requires an intellectual understanding of the best practices as well as a physical implementation of those practices. The physical implementation is what assures you of the acceptance of the new behaviors presented in the training program.
- Management coaching: The curriculum must be coachable by your managers. Managers should be trained and aware of the best practices associated with coaching salespeople for consistent, predictable and profitable sales success. Managers who don’t coach or reinforce are allowing the investment in sales training to evaporate.
- Permanence: Tragically, most sales training programs, according to many published studies, have a permanence of about 5.3 weeks. If you are investing in a training program and the result is a 5.3-week improvement, you will probably be very disappointed.
- Practice: Ongoing sales practice is the key to sales success. A one-time training session, more often than not, especially if it only focuses on skills training, is an exercise in infotainment.
Your team will improve their proficiency to produce profitable revenue as the company makes a commitment to proactive sales practice, process training and skills training.
Don’t confuse skills training with process training, or vice versa. In fact, the world-class sales forces of today invoke skills and process training.