Who is training?

In our last episode, we talked about the fact that in sales, there are times when making more calls can actually do you more harm than good. Particularly, when we’re saying the wrong things, targeting the wrong businesses or approaching the wrong people.

Each of these situations is symptomatic of the same problem: untrained or poorly trained sales reps. And it’s a big problem — for the salesperson, the business that hires them and the industry at large.

Many new people are really excited to get started in our industry. They’re all fired up and ready to take on the world, so they just dive right in!

Sales reps like this suffer from what my late friend and colleague Bill Brooks used to call “energized incompetence.”

They toss themselves head-first into the proverbial pool and just start flailing and kicking!

They make phone calls and attend networking functions and get in front of prospective clients, all the while making themselves, their coworkers, their employers, the companies they work for, and the industry at large look ridiculously unprofessional and unprepared.

They engage in all these efforts in the hope that they’ll eventually figure things out as they go along.

But hope is not a viable sales or business strategy.

Some sales managers — not the good ones, of course — actually encourage this sort of behavior, turning people loose and saying “practice makes perfect.”

But as the great Vince Lombardi accurately pointed out, “Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.”

This means that when we practice doing the wrong things, in the wrong way over and over again, we get very good at doing the wrong things in the wrong way — exactly the opposite of what we should be doing.

And this problem is not limited to sales people and sales managers.

Many businesses in our industry, even some of the largest, spend enormous amounts of time and money trying to recruit other businesses’ salespeople, while investing very little or nothing to help, grow, train and nurture the people they have — those responsible for 100% of their sales to date. Then they’re surprised when their people leave or fail.

In fact, in some organizations, accountability for sales training becomes a gigantic catch-22. The sales reps believe the business should train them and the business believes the sales reps should train themselves. As a result, no one trains anyone and the salesperson, their families, the business and the industry all suffer for it.

In a nutshell: If you don’t train your salespeople, you are harming your business.

I conduct training at all the major industry trade shows and have done so since January of 2001. Training at these type of events is great to spark ideas, provide shortcuts or hacks, or even teach a particular aspect or aspects of the job.

But event training itself — the type of training that takes place just once (or even once per year) — is not a substitute for ongoing, process training… where the conversation continues, questions can be answered and the salesperson becomes grounded in the activities, methods and procedures that will help to ensure positive results.

Process training demonstrates to a salesperson what’s possible and often sets him or her on a path to lifetime learning and success.

If you’re a salesperson in our industry and you need help getting more leads, qualifying more prospects, converting leads into sales or creating loyal, repeat clients… or if you’re a conciencious sales manager or business owner who wants to train your salespeople, but just don’t have the time, desire, staff or resources to do it in-house, give us a call, toll-free, at 1-800-494-2721 and ask for a complimentary needs analysis. If we can help you, we’ll tell you that. If we can’t help you, we’ll tell you that too. But don’t waste another day — or allow your people to make another botched sales call — before contacting us to find out how we can help.

If you’re new to the industry and need to get grounded in the essentials of promotional products sales, visit us online at topsecrets.com/gettingstarted. If you need to get clients now with no distractions and no excuses, visit topsecrets.com/tsca. Or, if you’re a smart, focused, independent distributor doing a reasonable volume of sales, join the AIM SmartEQP community today at SmartEQP.com that’s SmartEQP.com.

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