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What's wrong with sales training today?

In your opinion... what's wrong with sales training today? - by Community Mailbox
Sales training seems like a good idea.

Or did you mean the sales training "industry?" - by Gary A Boye
Sales training seems like a good idea.

Or did you mean the sales training "industry?"
What's Wrong!

My business was created in reaction to the general disconnect between the sales training industry and the sales trainee.

1 The number one tool sales people rely on is language. However, since 1940, when formal sales training entered the market, no scientifically recognized theory or model regarding the fundamentals of language and communication, has been offered in any sales training.

To give you an idea of how much is missing, there are enough books on communication and related issues to fill one floor of an average size book store.

Verbal and body languages are only 2 of a number of components that constitute communication in sales. They are therefore not exclusively responsible for delivering the message. Yet, seminars consistently focus on just these 2 components which is terribly inadequate and even misleading.

Sales trainers will teach students what to say and why it should be said, but not why or how syntax and word meaning impacts the listener. Nor do they explore the full dynamics of other, and often more important factors, that defines communication.

2 Furthermore, the training is usually based on one individual's sales experiences--the speaker's. His or her experiences have been driven by their individual persona, psychology, temperament and other traits that are not offered in the training. Yet, these are the essential factors that move the sale. That's why 2 people can deliver the same exact sales script with one earning a decent living with the other not making quota.

Regardless, if the audience did learn of this private inner world of the speaker, it has nothing to do with them.

3 Surveys show that most experienced sales people do not attend sales seminars due to this very disconnect. When they do attend, their best hope to take back just a kernel of new information from a weekend of training.

These represent only my top 3 general issues regarding sales training. That does not mean good training does not exist, they are just hard to find among the overwhelming "formula" training formats.

This is why my learning comes from others sharing their personal philosophies and attitudes about selling rather than from a grocery list of things "to do." After all, IMO selling is a "way of being" as manifested through learned techniques. - by John Voris
After all, IMO selling is a "way of being" as manifested through learned techniques.
I will comment on that statement as it applies to your points on language.

Assimilating a language effects and further formulates a "way of being" for an individual. That assimilated formulation then acts as a container, or receiver, for new verbal communication opportunities that would be very difficult to learn if the language was not in place.

I remember the difficult time I had in training a young, intelligent salesperson to say 27 words simply because the type of words, and sentence structure was not recognizable to him. There were no "chunks" present that would have facilitated recognition. - by Gary A Boye
After talking with Gary tonight about "intrinsic" questions I can't help but wonder what the original question is really asking. - by Jeff Blackwell
I will comment on that statement as it applies to your points on language.

Assimilating a language effects and further formulates a "way of being" for an individual. That assimilated formulation then acts as a container, or receiver, for new verbal communication opportunities that would be very difficult to learn if the language was not in place.

I remember the difficult time I had in training a young, intelligent salesperson to say 27 words simply because the type of words, and sentence structure was not recognizable to him. There were no "chunks" present that would have facilitated recognition.
Sorry,

When I said a "way of Being" I meant that each of us has a unique "way of Being", not that we can alter our Being in a unique way.

It is commonly held that thinking is an extension and application of language as opposed to intuitive insights that bypass this requirement. This linguistic thinking is then directed through a reasoning structure for decision making.

Going further, according to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, the cultural structure of language determines our perception of the world or how we define our reality.

This was demonstrated in "What the Bleep." The Indians could not at first see the ship coming to shore. They had never seen one before and their language lacked any corresponding words.

National Geographic, found a tribe in Indonesia, living on "houseboats" with many never stepping on land their entire life. They have no word equivalent to steal and there is no corresponding behavior.

There are many examples throughout the world where the flexibility and application of language determines what is understood but not "Being."

This would begin to explain your frustration. Those 27 words and corresponding meaning escaped his vocabulary and therefore immediate ability to grasp the corresponding meaning. Through assimilation he would eventually enhance his capacity of communication along with absorbing new ideas of expression.

However, this is a cognitive and learned process that may alter a way of expressing the inner sense of being but not altering it directly.

Gary can visit and learn any language in the world but could never stop being Gary. His views of the world would change but change as one being Gary would change. Gary will never stop being curious or thinking in theoretical terms regardless of the linguistic alteration.

In other words, eliminate all that you know or believe you know and what is left is "being" as that empty container waiting to be filled. "I am not where I think" - by John Voris
As for the correct wording to present to your customers: There are no magic words that will bring about a sale. However, word choice, syntax, meaning and context all need to be selected appropriately when considering your target audience.

Regarding an individual's sales experience and skills:
Individual preferences and knowledge surely do vary the output generated in using a particular script. However, each person has their own strengths and can provide varied perspectives that are helpful in formulating your own approaches to selling. The most effective sales person assimilates knowledge to use the techniques that bring them the most success. What works for one sales person may not work for another, just as what works for one customer is not a one-size fits all solution. Every individual has their own style, comfortable with their own ways, is more effective than adopting what does not suit their personality type. Such an adaptation will come across as false and ingenuine.

So we best learn from others, with varied perspectives, learning from multiple sources. That rich knowledge base of information is what forms the most useful skills in a sales person's sales tool box, molding us to perfection..the ideal of which we should always be striving toward.

Craig Edmund Klepin, MBA - by Guru4sale
My biggest gripe is that training is often a reactionary response rather then being proactive. Good sales organisations implement training even when numbers are great. Poor organisations only want training when things are in trouble... - by MrCharisma
First, I believe that many sales training programs offer a "one size fits all" approach. However, as many sales managers can attest, most teams are comprised of a mixed bag of A players, B players, C players and unfortunately some D's and F's! So for one leader or consultant to come in and decide "this team needs trained in X area" is just not a sound strategy for an entire sales team.

Second, most sales training is lacking in terms of reinforcement. Like most new behaviors and techniques that must be learned, implementing new selling strategies must be coached and reinforced on an ongoing basis. Usually this is lacking, either on the part of the sales training company or the company that hired the training, or both.

A much better solution is to work with a sales coach. A coach helps diagnose the areas of weakness and from there partners with sales leaders on a development strategy -which may result in some training, some consulting and in almost all cases, sales coaching.

Coaching is a more comprehensive strategy in that it's more likely to be targeted to the sales rep's actual developmental needs. Coaching is also highly customizable as well as conducive to ongoing learning and reinforcement for not only the sales reps, but perhaps more importantly for the sales managers as well. - by CoachMaria
In your opinion... what's wrong with sales training today?
Another thought is that there is more blackboard chalk on trainers' hands from devising bulleted lists than ink from writing sales. - by Gary A Boye
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