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General sales training or industry sales training

This is a hypothetical - you just got out of college and want to start a career in selling cars, insurance, real estate or some other large industry. What kind of sales training would you recommend? Would it be industry specific or more general?

Is there a list of recommended sales training companies or trainers for different industries? - by Seth
The company that you work for should have a training program. However, you need to do a little research to find out if it is any good. Talk to people that have been at the company for less than 3 years and are having financial success based on your definition. Ask a lot of questions about their training and how they got to where they are. If you really want to be in that particular industry/company and they don't seem to have a good program, look at outside training firms.

Sandler, SPIN, and High Probability Selling are the 3 talked about most on this site. I'm sure there are many more. I don't think that it needs to be industry specific, but I think that you want to make sure that they have experience training people successfully in your field. Call them up, read about them, etc. See which ones sound good. Then ask for references to people they have trained in your industry and call those people. Pick one, pay the tuition, learn, apply, succeed.

Good Luck! - by Derek
The company that you work for should have a training program.
I wonder how many companies really do provide sales training that gets results. I was told that the turnover rate is really high with new salespeople. Maybe if new salespeople had better training and were more successful the turnover rate would drop. - by Seth
In our industry, real estate, many of the brokerages provide their own versions of sales training and many don't. Most of the real estate sales training that I've looked at was almost too specific. It was more like "do this" and "do that" versus actual sales training. I don't know how it is with other industries or companies but we train our agents in the basics of sales training so they know not only what to do but why. - by AZBroker
I think that the "Why" is often overlooked, so it is great that you include it. - by Derek
In our industry, real estate, many of the brokerages provide their own versions of sales training and many don't. Most of the real estate sales training that I've looked at was almost too specific. It was more like "do this" and "do that" versus actual sales training. I don't know how it is with other industries or companies but we train our agents in the basics of sales training so they know not only what to do but why.
Why has often been the missing ingredient.

I was a trainer with a large direct selling organization for a few years. The company, rightly or wrongly, required the representatives to use a prepared presentation. Considerable time was spent teaching that presentation. One thing that they did in outlining the script was to put it into two columns. On the left was "What you are saying". On the right was "Why you are saying it". - by Gary Boye
This is a hypothetical - you just got out of college and want to start a career in selling cars, insurance, real estate or some other large industry. What kind of sales training would you recommend? Would it be industry specific or more general?

Is there a list of recommended sales training companies or trainers for different industries?
I would suggest both. Start off with the basics and then learn how your industry/company operates within that framework. If I could only choose one I would take general sales training over industry specific sales training any day of the week. - by BossMan
If I could only choose one I would take general sales training over industry specific sales training any day of the week.
Can I ask why? - by Seth
Can I ask why?
A sales education built on the fundamentals allows a salesperson the freedom to change industries without having to completely retool. General sales skills and abilities work equally as well in food sales as they do in car sales as they do in office equipment sales, etc.

Industries are in a constant state of flux but relatively speaking human behavior isn't. ;wi - by BossMan
A sales education built on the fundamentals allows a salesperson the freedom to change industries without having to completely retool. General sales skills and abilities work equally as well in food sales as they do in car sales as they do in office equipment sales, etc.

Industries are in a constant state of flux but relatively speaking human behavior isn't. ;wi
I think those are really good and important points to think about when considering sales training. Gracias. - by Seth
For a new person, or for that matter, any salesperson, continual grounding in pure sales training is a necessity and most probably won't come from the salesperson's company.

I do sales training for a number of companies--from small mom and pops with 5 or so salespeople, to some of the largest in the world. Of course, my training is done on a contract basis, not as part of their training department. It might be evident why a company with 5 or 20 or 50 or so salespeople would contract me--they don't have a training department. But why would Fortune 50 companies spend money contracting me and many, many other sales trainers? Because they don't do a very good job (if any) of training their people to sell. Their concentration is on their product/service training and the details of how to "sell" those products or services, that is, overcoming specific objections or dealing with specific questions about the product or service.

There is a real difference between true sales training and product/service training. There is some overlap, of course, but not enough for product/service training to be effictive as sales training.

Consequently, the only real sales training most salespeople get is from their manager--and the subject of sales is far too broad and far too complex for one person to know and be good at each of the parts. Even sales training companies have to specialize--or have huge staffs to cover the ground professionally (most companies are like mine--specialize in particular segments, mine being lead generation and personal marketing, or, if they are a larger company, they still specialize in some particular selling theory, such as SPIN or whaterver; very few try to do it all). A manager, or even a few managers simply cannot do an adequate job. Unfortunately, most companies expect--rely--on the manager doing it all and then they wonder why their sales force isn't particulary well trained.

The fact is unless your company hires trainers like myself on a contract basis or are consistently sending you to seminars and feeding you CD's, etc., you'll have to find and pay for the training on your own.

On the other hand, no one should be able to do a better job of product and service training than the company you work for since the products and services are theirs--and no one should know the products or services better than they themselves. But even there, some companies--usually smaller, but not always--have to contract with outside trainers to come in and train their sales force on the company's products and services simply because the company doesn't have adequate training skills. - by pmccord
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