While You’re Training, the Competition is Selling

A major mistake many companies (large and small) make is spending too much time and money training their salespeople. This is not to say that salespeople shouldn’t be trained – they must. However, it can be terribly expensive and time consuming. In fact, a recent survey showed that companies with annual revenues of less than $5 million spend, on average, over $5,000 and four months training new sales representatives.

Train them, but keep it focused on what you hired them to do – qualify, convince prospects they want to buy, handle objections, and book orders.  Forget about teaching them basic selling skills (assuming you are hiring experienced salespeople) or how to fill out an expense report.  Instead keep it simple and to the point.

  • First, and most importantly, give them as clear a picture as possible as to whom to call on and how to qualify that prospect.
  • Next, teach them the sales message(s).  Make them memorize the pitch and to not change a word until they have sold a million dollars worth.
  • Third, teach them the party line answers to the most common questions (objections) raised by your prospects.  Answers to questions on price (“Your price is too high”), delivery (“I needed it yesterday”), fit (“I want it in a different size, color”), etc.
  • Finally, show them what a bona fide order consists of, for example, credit report, signed contract, etc.

Who they are supposed to be selling to is most important because if you put the “best” sales person (with the best product) in front of an unqualified prospect and the “worst” sales person (with the worst product) in front of a qualified prospect… the “worst” will outsell the “best” every time.

And, don’t forget about old-fashioned MOTIVATION.  Sales people’s professional lives are a never-ending series of ups and downs. You must stimulate and challenge them regularly. Contests, special incentives, recognition, they all work. Just, don’t forget to keep your sales people focused on what matters most by training them on what matters most to the business.