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Which sales training diet are you trying out in 2016?

Posted by Carole Mahoney on 12/30/15 8:00 AM


Have you ever tried a fad diet?

Next week a lot of people are going to be trying some type of new diet to get healthy in 2016. Whether it is gluten/dairy/sugar free, or one of those shakes that taste like cake, or have Jenny Craig deliver your meals to you every two weeks- all promise the same thing- miraculous results.

And for the first 4-6 weeks, if you can stick it out, you might see some of those results. It’s the stuff before and after pictures are made of. And you might pick up a few things, like eating less carbs- but as soon as the “diet ends” so does the habits and before you know it- those 20 pounds come back with a vengeance and the gym membership goes unused. We fall back into our familiar habits. Why does this happen?

Unfortunately, most sales training falls into the same category as the next fad diet. I lost count of the number of sales books, articles, in-person and online training I had invested in to learn more about sales. Like many, I thought that the more I knew about sales, the better I would be at it. From BANT to SPIN, Baseline Selling to the Challenger Sale, there are thousands of books about sales processes and methodologies.

Yet  according to the Association for Talent Development (formerly ASTD), despite the variety and wealth of processes, methodologies, and sales training available:

  • up to 80 percent of new skills are lost within one week
  • 87 percent of new skills are lost within one  month
  • 85 percent  of training fails to deliver a positive ROI

Very few sales books even discuss the fact that our  success in sales happens because of the work we do internally - in our head. And while some books will talk about your mindset and attitude, few will show you how it manifests and give you the tools to change it.  It’s not the training or the process that is the problem, it’s what is happening in the salesperson’s head.

Until we learn to deal with the mindsets, head trash, and stomach clenching weaknesses that almost all salespeople deal with, even the best training and knowledge in the world will fall short. It will always be a case of, “I know what I should do, I just don’t know why I can’t.” I mean, we all know we should watch what we eat and exercise regularly to lose the weight- so why don’t we?

Yes, you can sit for a few days in sales training, maybe pick up a few nuggets, but it does that change your mindset and daily habits? You walk out of training knowing what you should do, but how long before you end up falling back to “just following up” or “checking in” instead of adding real value to the engagement with the buyer?

Does that mean we ignore sales training? Of course not. But as one client recently pointed out after reading their own personal sales evaluation, there is definitely a big piece missing.

“...if I had known about these skill gaps/less effective approach about 4 years ago, many things could have been very different.  The great news is that I know this now and have an opportunity to grow and develop. ...It’s one thing to listen or read or go to a training… it’s another to have a 1:1 dialog, work through a problem, create specific action items and go through a series of steps in the process.”

How will your sales be different in 2016? Is there a magic training you can take that will totally transform your results? Or is it more likely that your results will come from the day in, day out, real life situations that you are able to change how you behave to get the results you want?

Topics: sales coaching, sales training