Every sales trainer knows somewhere in the back of their mind when their
training isn't sticking, but few do anything to change it.
Instead, they focus on "should've" and "could've":
- The sales reps "should've" paid more attention
- I "could've" reached them if I had more time to prepare
- You "should've" told me they're unteachable.
By making excuses, you're not just shifting the blame: you're
basically admitting that the situation is impossible to change. In
other words: why are you even there?
To make sure your training is reaching the sales reps and making a
lasting impression on their work, here are some quick tips from the
World Class Selling Competency Model.
Get buy-in from your sales team
Just like comedians don't work funerals, you shouldn't train people
who don't want to learn. The first thing you should do is guarantee
that the representatives know why the information you're giving
them is helpful. And no, "corporate wants you to know this" is not
the right answer. In fact, if you can't even explain why this is
important to them, why are you training them on it?
Salespeople care about two things: making sales, and making more
time for sales. If you can tie in your learning to these two core
concepts, they'll be interested to listen but not convinced enough
to use it. How do you get them to change their behavior then?
Suit the sales environment
No one's ever made a sale by standing still and reading off a
PowerPoint. This means that you can't expect typical lecturing to
reach the sales team. You need to address the common situations
that salespeople find themselves in, and offer valid solutions. Not
only that, but you need to show how the situation may actually look
using the methods or techniques you're training them on.
If most of your salespeople start looking for the nearest available
exit when you mention role-playing though, then try to guide them
through a similar process by addressing common questions that a
client may have. More often than not, as long as you don't actually
say the dreaded "r" word, you can get away with them actually
paying attention and trying out the new techniques. The next
question becomes: what can you do to make sure they'll still be
using it a month from now?
Make it easily and readily applicable
Your sales team was making sales before you started the training
session, and they'll be making them after the session too. Your job
wasn't to reinvent the wheel; it was to help them be more
To do that, you need to make sure that your training builds off the
foundation of what they're already working with. The sales team's
behavior is based on past experience and trial-and-error. While
it's hard to make anyone change their behavior overnight, if you at
least match their old experiences with new methods, they'll start
The other main issue with training sticking is that by the time the
team finds themselves in a situation where the training applies,
they've already forgotten too much. A way to ensure that this
doesn't happen is to end your training program by asking each
salesperson to thinkabout the next three situations where they can
use these new skills. By at least visualizing when they can use it,
they'll already be more prepared to use it. When they finally get
the chance to try out the new skill they learned, they'll still be
familiar enough with it to start changing their behavior.
So why isn't your training sticking?
Sometimes, you're just going to have a stubborn, set in their ways
sales team. And since there isn't a mind control ray gun (not
yet, anyway), it's difficult to make them change their
long-term behavior. But if you've centered your training around
what the sales team wants, based it in familiar sales settings, and
made sure that they can use it right away, the team will start to
Or you can keep blaming them and wait for that ray gun. Good luck
Is Your Sales Training Effective after 90 Days?
In an article posted by Achieve Global in 2008 entitled "Does Training Rely Too Much on Coaching by
Managers? it is discussed that "training and coaching needs
to be long-term companions in developing employees." Sales
Training Drivers is in agreement here and it is centered on the
Sales Training Drivers core mission.
Sales Training Basics
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The book provides learning professionals with specific guidance on
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