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Sales Training: Trial by fire

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For many companies, sales training looks more like a trial by fire than actual training. Is it any wonder most sales jobs have high turnover?

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Here's a recent letter from a sales man at a car dealership?

“My month is not looking well… it’s the 17th and I’m only at 3. I've been stagnant for about a week. That's why I’m researching training online and how I found your company. I need good tips in increasing appointments… Trying to just figure things out currently. I've only been in the business since May... So, still trying to get the hang of things overall and improve/develop sales skills. Also trying to get back my enthusiasm and have fun in this business.”

Could this be someone in your company?

All to often sales training consists of "go out there and sell something!" That's it. Nothing else. Not even a pat on the backside.

Sales people looking to succeed usually get to carry their own water. Meaning they are on the hook for they're own development and growth. Sales people more often than not can get left to their own devices and spend the majority of their early career making it up as they go along. If they survive the first couple of years due to luck, decent advice from a co-worker or a good economy, then they've probably built some pretty rough habits along the way and will most likely poison the well of new hires one by one; resulting in a cycle of mediocrity with one or two superstars rising to the top.

These sales people stuck in the mediocre mud are good people. People with families, who are worth helping. They will have a number of great qualities that when properly guided, nurtured, trained and coached would forge them into a effective, well rounded salesperson. Unfortunately under the current circumstances sales people are fighting a tough uphill battle.

Too many sales people who enter sales or start new sales roles with different companies all have a similar story tell. Many are thrown in to swim with the sharks and left out there... set adrift.

Recall the letter from earlier? Has this guy already quit but just hasn't made it official yet?

Remember, whether his manager hired him or inherited him, he’s his guy now. He may have quit on himself, but the manager owes it to to not quit on him. If this sales person looks familiar (keep in mind, there may have more than one), the leadership in the organization owes it to him and his family to push him to succeed.

As a manager, wouldn't one rather he quits because he was pushed too hard rather than not hard enough? However he came to work for the company, he wouldn't be there if someone, somewhere, at some point didn't see his true potential. Right?

Problem is most managers simply don’t have the time to train this guy. How covered up is a sales manager? They have to be leader, manager, husband, father/mother, coach.

But it is the right thing to do to help this guy.

He can become a statistic or he can be great. Unfortunately and more often than not these sales people will become a statistic because they are learning from experience only and left to their own devices.

How and why does this happen? Without an understanding of the fundamentals of selling and without a customer centered information based sales process, sales people will never know how to get from A to Z effectively and often.

Ultimately without the right attitude, the right approach and the right level of action, the new guy's sales efforts will flounder if not straight up fail.

Selling does not have to be a nightmare nor does it have to be a very complex role. To be effective, sales people need training, support and solutions. They deserve to be started off right, building good habits early and often, and then coached through out their career.

Will they rise to the top on their own? Some will on talent alone, the rest? Probably not.

“Under pressure you will not rise to the occasion, rather you will sink to the level of your training.” –Barret Tillman

Sales people, much like players on a sports team need daily practice, coaching and positive reminders of their goals and dreams.

An NFL team has one goal, win the Super Bowl. The players on the team have different strengths and weaknesses, different talents and skills, they are all unique. The coaches all have different specialties too. However, they all have the same field to practice on and the same gym to workout in. The coaches will help the players get focused and motivated, they will drill plays, build speed and strength and create a team that works as a unit where everyone supports and pushes toward the main goal which is winning.

For the sales managers out there:

  • What is your Super Bowl?
  • How are you supporting your coaches?
  • Are you running plays every day with your team?
  • Are you helping them prepare mentally?
  • Are you looking at the film after the game to see where you can improve and fine tune?

Why not?

Who was the manager who took you under his/her wing? Who was the teacher in school you’ll never forget? Who was it that pushed you to be better than you were? Will you give that to your people? If you quit on them, they will surely quit on you. If you push them to greatness, some will still quit, but there will be some who will take your leadership and create something truly remarkable.

Are you a leader or a manager?
Are you a maker of good men and women who can provide for their families or are you just an employer?
Who are you?
What will you be?

Take a look at the slide show to see what Grant Cardone suggests for effective sales training in a company.

just make sure you get the key points handled and it will be successful.

Train daily
Make training easily available
Hits ALL levels of ability
Quick and efficient
Solves problems in real time
Engaging
Trackable

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