So many sales training programs are unsuccessful. A typical company can spend tens of thousands of dollars to put an entire sales force through the latest, hottest training program touted to increase the bottom line. But usually only a small percentage of participants embrace the new skills taught. For everyone else, the status quo reigns, and the bottom line doesn’t move one bit. What went wrong?
Getting to the next level in selling requires a careful evaluation of your sales professionals’ true intentions.
Many believe that sales training is a one-size-fits-all proposition. They couldn’t be more wrong! Your sales reps cannot improve unless they are absolutely honest about who they are, what their intentions and motivations are, how good they are, and what their strengths and weaknesses are. Only then can behavior be modified. Not all reps have the same intentions or motivations, and are not equally prepared to learn. Training does work, but only under the right conditions.
Determine and evaluate the make-up of your sales team.
- natural born top producers
- they have big egos and are emotional, intuitive, passionate, competitive, extroverted, and impatient
- they learn by doing
- also top producers
- even-tempered, analytical, logical, and quietly competitive
- internally passionate and patient, and have a very controlled ego
- they thrive in learning environments
- stuck in a personal comfort zone
- passive aggressive, don’t like change, don’t like to attempt anything difficult
- they can show signs of brilliance, but are inconsistent or mediocre producers
- good news is that they are sleeping Performers or Professionals and can get there with strong management coaching
- these individuals get into sales because they think it’s easy, but then they don’t do what it takes to be successful because it is too painful for them
- victims of poor hiring decisions, they soon realize that they dislike sales
- they do not belong on your team
Who is on your team? If you were to ask your reps what category they think they fall into, what do you think their responses would be? If someone is in the top tier or is showing consistent upward sales, he or she is most likely a Performer or a Professional. If not, the rep belongs in one of the other two categories.
Identify what makes a superstar salesperson.
- What does the perfect sales rep do?
- What are their characteristics?
- What are their strengths?
- What is the most important quality they possess?
- Without knowing the answers to these and many more questions, how do we improve the performance of our team?
Evaluate each sales rep’s skills and behaviors against the best (or the ideal).
If you are truly building a winning team, evaluation is step one. But do you know what to evaluate?
Customize the path to breakthrough achievement.
Once you’ve identified the characteristics, strengths, skills, experience, habits, and attitudes of the “ideal”, it becomes possible to create a training and coaching path to take them to the next level. Train in the weak areas, leverage their strengths. Create a consistent and personal coaching plan and make sure ongoing follow-up takes place. Your people can be transformed.
Get a commitment to change.
It can be difficult to get everyone on board, but if things are done correctly, the percentage of committed individuals skyrockets. Unless they are motivated to improve performance though, no amount of training and coaching will succeed. Some people are simply not interested in changing, but with the right effort, even the hard cases can be moved to some change. When motivation and commitment are strong, a Caretaker can become a Performer or a Professional, depending on their personality.
Invest in success.
Pure and simple, training only fails because most participants don’t embrace the learning, and management does not reinforce the lessons in the field.