Training … Do We Still Need It?
During challenging economic times like we have experienced over the past few years, often the first thing cut is sales training or the sales trainer. Many companies don’t invest in a full time trainer, but often times, training for a day, sales training calls, etc., are either reduced or eliminated. “We need to be out selling” is the excuse many of us have used. But training may be the most underappreciated part of our business. It’s easy to eliminate because it’s tough to measure concrete results.
Training is a great exercise for you and your salespeople. Whether selling skills are needed for advanced sales or elementary ones, training is a great asset in keeping your selling skills sharp. Training also assists in having the sales team more prepared and more professional.
We just wrapped up a national sales meeting, and we invested a full day in training. I found that this really recharged the sales team. We were going over some basic scenarios that we encounter on a day in and day out basis. We weren’t reinventing the sales wheel either, we were just making sure the wheel was still round. Role playing was one of the main tools we used for our training and it proved to be an extremely effective training method.
There are several factors involved with making a good training event. Preparing in advance is one of the keys for effective sales training. Some of the other questions you want to ask yourself:
• What are you trying to accomplish?
• How can the training be reinforced?
• How can you do a status check or follow up on the effectiveness of it?
Training is an easy item to eliminate. It takes time to prepare and reinforce. And it takes an investment to implement and continue it. Sometimes we say ‘This training is what sales people should already know.’ But even pro golfers practice all their common shots thousands of times – shots they should already know how to hit. Salespeople should do the same.
Finally training creates a professionalism of your organization and promotes longevity amongst your entire staff. Again, these are tough things to measure, but these things certainly contribute to both the top and bottom line.