I’ve been told many times (good and bad circumstances) that I have the personality to be good at sales. I can walk up to most anyone and introduce myself or start a lasting conversation. I, for the most part, am an extrovert.
Not to say that introverts don’t make great sales professionals, it’s just commonly thought that extroverts make the best. I have no idea either way but I do consider myself an extrovert as well.
But single qualities like that will never make a GREAT sales person. To be great you need sales training.
And to a point I believe that we all, yes EVERYONE, should get sales training. I’ll dive into that a little later though.
Sales training as been around since there were sales to be made. And although it has evolved in many ways through the centuries, sales training has always been vital to success.
No organization should share any expense as it relates to training their sales team.
Why Sales Training Is So Important?
To have a successful sales team you need to train them consistently and on attributes that can be measured and refined. ~Tweet This!
Unfortunately most organizations think that sales training is an expense.
What every organization should think is that sales training is an INVESTMENT! An investment in your sales team handling objections, having accurate product knowledge, and being able to succinctly explain the value of your products.
And yet sales training has taken a back seat to many other otherwise initiatives.
Sales training is where you get to work out the kinks in a sales pitch, in a pricing delivery meeting, in the final close, in conflict resolution, in a- risk client meetings, in price negotiations, etc.
I am not a CEO or VP or Sales (not yet) but if I was, right after salary budgets would be sales training budgets. Setting aside an appropriate amount to ensure the success of my sales team would be a top priority.
In the past, I was lucky enough to have been with two great companies that had amazing sales training programs. And I promise you I have learned so much from those experiences.
My current company too has a very involved an extensive training program. My time in sales training was filled with basic knowledge learning and multiple demonstrations so that I could build on and refine my sales pitches and presentation skills.
In all instances I felt well prepared to enter the market as a knowledgeable sales rep because these companies understand that sales training is a NECESSITY for EVERY organization.
Sales Training For Everyone
I am a firm believer that sales training should be taught at a very young age. Junior high (6-7-8th grade) at the latest.
Why so young? Because we are sales professionals our ENTIRE LIFE. Throughout out lives we are required to sell and negotiate a wide variety of things…
- Our candidacy for an open position
- Our compatibility as a mate
- Our ability to afford a mortgage payment
- The price of a new car or house
- Our boss on a new project or initiative
- Our friends on going to one bar over another
The ability to sell and negotiate one’s worth is an extremely under developed skill set within the education and job system. Basic sales techniques like follow up are missing from many people who are actually interested in sales positions.
I’ve had my fair share of resumes to review. But of the hundreds of resumes I’ve received, how many follow-ups do you think I’ve received. ….
Not many. Single digits in fact.
And of those I interviewed how many do you think followed up with me afterwards?
ZERO!…It kills me to say that.
Follow up and follow through are sales skills that are more often taught than innately known. And because it is a rare quality in people, let alone sales professionals, I know that sales training is a rare occurrence.
A proper, structured sales training program at a young age, or sometime in the past for prospective job hunters would have taught that. And they would have earned much more attention from me and my company.
Is It Best To Hire or Train Sales Skills
This depends on many factor, and will likely be different in every company. But from my experiences, sales teams who have performed the best have been comprised of sales people who were hired and molded. Often times taken from different industry backgrounds as well.
Did those times have a mix of the well trained and the not? Absolutely. But the defining attribute is that the company hired for ability, charisma, flexibility, thirst for knowledge. Not selling ability.
To sell is a very good skill to have. But every product is different.
I personally know that it is quite different being a software sales rep compared to a polybag sales rep. The industry is different, the sales cycle is different, the customers are different, and of course the product is different.
Hire for potential, not skill. ~Tweet This!
What Do You Think?
Is sales training and expense or an investment?
Are we sales professionals our entire lives or is it simply a job?
Should you hire for potential or skill? Be sure to let me know in the comments below what you think.
~ Johnny Bravo
Image courtesy of savit keawtavee / FreeDigitalPhotos.net