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How to Train Sales People - Help appreciated

Hello Everyone,

I am in the process of hiring sales agents. These agents are commission only based sales professionals who will work for the company. In your experience, what is the best way to train these people on product/company training?

I am wanting to make videos of sales calls, sales pitch and company information. I do have a training manual but no video for the next month. I have the material ready as well as ongoing sales training and audio.

At this early stage I need to teach product knowlege. The two sales guys starting next week are in two different cities.

What have you found to be the best option? - by marketer
If you are hiring people with experience you need not fret. They know better than you do what to ask you, they will get all they need to know about product/company/principals/references etc.

That is why those in the know spend more time assessing an individual on sales skills, product knowledge is a very small portion of what is needed to sell. The benefits of the product/service - what is in it for the client, these are far more important to great sales people ... and to you, the fact that they are really good, that is what you need to focus on.

Do you hire based on whether you like an individual or based on what their performance will be?

Here is a fact that you will find interesting - the number one independent copier dealer in Canada in the 80's tracked complaints from prospects/clients. Do you want to know who had the most? It sure wasn't the marginal performers ... !

Seriously, from this vantage point, it is hard to guess what you really need. But it is often not what you think you need. And, unless you are an experienced Sales Manager (meaning you would likely not be asking the question), it is my advice you get help in hiring. Then you will hire on people who know how to smoothly interact with your other employees, learn what they need to know on their own and go to work producing you profits.

If you go the other route you will likely spend time - your valuable time - training duds.

Never hire rookies. Not unless you sell Minolta copiers and that rookie is the son of the President of Minolta in the United States!

I think you are getting my drift.

By the way, training is easy using Skype and Webinars like Webex. Distance is no longer the issue it once was. - by Gold Calling
Hmm well I have a question from a different perspective - I recently joined a firm as a sales rep and our product is software targeted at municipalities for fund accounting. I have never done sales beyond phone consulting about product in a previous tech support role, and as on site support giving my opinion to clients on what their next product choices should be, again in a tech support role. So coming here and learning the product was easy, but your comments make me feel like perhaps I belong in one of the 'dud' categories.

How do I overcome this to become a good sales rep? Because it sounds a lot like what you are saying is that sales reps know sales from the start, and learn everything else as they go. How do you successfully reverse that?

Thanks for any tips. - by Terrain
Nice to see someone with some focus on product knowledge. It's interesting that when we ask customers what they expect from sales people, they typically list product knowledge as one of their top 3 prerequisites. Yet when you ask sales managers to list what attributes and skills make great sales people you usually get a huge disconnect in the priority list.

Most client complaints relate to delivery, performance and and sales rep product knowledge. Complaints are expensive and receiving them should not be part of your sales, marketing, networking or reference plans.

Because sales trainers don't generally teach product knowledge (we teach sales skills and processes) it seems as if some sales trainers don't palce a high priority and value on product knowledge

Unlike some sales trainers I believe that product knowledge is critically important. Make no mistake, product knowledge is one of the most vital