Does Sales Training really work? By Tony DeFrancisco

I have been a student of sales training, personal development, motivation since 1975. In my home, one of our bedrooms is what I refer to as a library and is loaded with books, tapes, audio CDs, DVDs, VHS videos, manuals, journals loaded with notes taken for over 40 years. I call this my training room. Inside is a computer and a television set which plays both VHS tapes and DVDs as well as audio players for audio cassette and CDs. And of course a MP3 player.

So many times people ask me, “Does this training help?”  Last November and December I was able to generate over $100,000 in sales in each month.  Several weeks back I started in a new sales position with a new company and in less than a month I am already leading the sales floor. Small change to some. Major success to me coming from a formerly very shy, introverted guy with no sales skills and couldn’t even lead a group in silent prayer.

Speaking of shyness, a very successful businessman once told me that shyness is something you do, not something you are.  To  be assertive act assertive.

Sales training works.

It’s as simple as that. In fact, a study spanning 24 years (which ended in 2014) tracked 650,000 sales people. The final analysis was that 74% of salespeople fail. The number one reason for failure was… lack of sales training.

Those who received and implemented proper training were at the top of their industry in terms of production and personal income.

Be that as it may, for most, sales training does not provide sustainable results.

Why?

Here’s what Sales Performance International found out:

Companies with good intentions put their people through intense multi-day training events hoping all of the content will “stick.” It doesn’t. The “in and out” nature of such training prevents the most critical aspect of training… reinforcement.

HALF of the content of a sales training event is lost in 5.1 weeks.

84% of sales training content it lost within 90 days.

According to Sales Performance International…

“In the absence of a well thought out, “programmatic” approach to sales training, most expenditures are made with good intentions, but largely wasted. Research indicates that without systematic, ongoing learning and reinforcement, approximately 50% of the learning content is not retained within five weeks, much less applied. Within 90 days, 84% of what was initially learned is lost.”

The Solution…

A ongoing Sales Training System.

Which is very simple and aligned with the needs of sales people…

Teach salespeople the basics in bite sized chunks. This helps salespeople to understand and internalize the content. For this to happen properly, the training must span several weeks. If too much is presented too soon (as in the typical multi-day events most companies opt for) sales people get overwhelmed.

Systematic on-going training on a daily basis. “Practice, drill and rehearse” has been the mantra of successful sales trainers  for over 50 years. Salespeople must make training a daily part of their routine. One hour of training broken down into short 15 minute sessions works extremely well.

Reinforcement of core skills. Most salespeople have trouble in two key areas. Namely, handling objections and closing. Objection handling and closing skills must be reinforced on a continuous basis. Repition is the mother of skill. You need to go over every part of the sales process a minimum of 16 to 21 times. This is how you make new skills stick.

By combining these elements of a successful sales training program, salespeople report outstanding sustainable results.

Summary

1) Repetition is the mother of skill – practice, practice, practice

2) Sales training works and must be ongoing

3) Sales training works best when done in bite sized pieces. 

5) PDR -Practice, Drill, Rehearse

6) When you are green you grow and when you are ripe you rot. 

7) Invest an hour a day in mastering the art of selling.

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