The ambiguous act of sales training is responsible for the high failure rate of salespeople everywhere, in every industry. Quit kidding yourself by engaging in activities to achieve a result that you have not yet defined.
For instance, most people refuse to acknowledge that success is an illusion chased by those that fail to identify what it is that they seek. They have never taken the time to clarify what it is that they define as success, yet they keep stating that they want to be successful by chasing a mirage like a dog chasing its tail. Think about it, if you have not taken the time to define what success means to you, how will you know when you have actually arrived?
Sales training is no different. Most people are unaware that you cannot teach someone how to sell, because the sale consists of a series of activities that are combined to produce an effect, the effect being the sale. Sounds confusing? Stay with me for a minute.
The art of selling consist of convincing someone to exchange money or something valuable for a good or service. During this exercise called the sales process, a whole series of skills are being called upon at different points during the interaction. We are asking questions, listening, relating, conveying emotion, empathizing and sometimes sympathizing and so on, all in the hopes of getting the prospect to see our point of view. Depending on what you are selling, there are tools of the trade that you will need to learn how to use and frameworks, also known as systems and processes that you will need to follow in order to achieve predictable, repeatable and track-able results.
So you see, what most people call sales training is only a partial process consisting of activities to achieve a particular result. For example: the road to the sale only deals with in-person client interaction or phones skills is just one skill in a whole gamut of skills the professional needs to learn and so on. So in essence, the current definition of sales training when looked at from the perspective of what the selling professional needs in order to succeed is incomplete and ambiguous at best.
What am I saying? I am saying that if you are a selling professional, there is no way that you can be taught all of what you need to know in one day, one week, and in most cases one month. If you do not believe me, look at the extremely high failure rate of salespeople today. More importantly, how are you doing?
What is sales training? Can you define what it is to receive sales training? Can you tell me what it is that you were taught to do and is it enough to do your jobs now? Do you know what you are missing? Do you know what a knowledge gap is? In other words, do you know what you need to do in order to get there from here? Do you know why you are struggling? Do you know why you are still looking for another job? Do you know what it is to be a selling professional? Or do you still think it is just ‘show and tell’ in order to take an order? Do you know what it is to build, maintain and manage a book of business?
These are not trick questions, but ones that deserves reflection, because if you are serious about your craft and are depending on the training that you receive to pay your bills, these questions are your starting point when you arrive at the ‘do not kid yourself day’.