Why does sales training get some a bad rap during a fragile economy? At last week’s Telebusiness Alliance meeting when everyone had to get up and introduce themselves, I thought long and hard about my intro. Should I say I’m an “author” and say that I’m President of TeleSmart, a sales training…….(oops better not say sales tttttraaaaaaning…because it’s a big bad word) or perhaps I can substitute sales training with sales enablement (because it sounds better and still is undefined) or as Dave Stein refers to it officially as “performance improvement provider.”
The problem is that people are starting to equate sales trainers at the same level as car salesmen- there are so many out there and few are really any good. I agree there are many creating a slimy congestion in the field. There’s nothing worst than someone who comes out of a dysfuctional relationship, hates their parents, has dealt with drugs and decides they now want to become a therapist. Same thing with sales trainers, most approach it with a checklist. Been in sales, sales management, done presentations, sat through long boring meetings, know how to engage and influence, like people and knows how to interact;….and voila, they are now a sales trainer.
The problem is not many are any good and few will ever get to Best status. Dave Stein agrees- especially in his recent post, Come on, Dave. Who’s the best sales trainer which he provides detailed questions to think about before hiring a trainer. These important questions are also a prelude to the in-depth needs assessment questions and discussions that must be addressed prior to the project.
When I first launched my company 16 years ago, I had no idea what training was all about. There were lots of mistakes and blunders along the way and I still feel I am on this learning path. Because being a good sales trainer is like being a great salesperson, you must fully develop yourself as a person before you have hopes of developing anyone else.
Have I reached Best status as a sales trainer? I continue to learn and grow and over the years, I’ve learned about human behavior and especially salespeople under stress. I am acutely aware of the huge responsibility it is to deliver training to a group of know-it-all salespeople who are impatient, apathetic, mistrusting, distracted and very edgy. I must also learn their playground- their custmers and their company and their sales cycle. Lastly, I must stay fresh with content that is relevant, fun and timely.