A caution re sales training…

Bruce King

In the last week I’ve spoken to sales directors, sales managers and business owners, predominantly in the SME sector who have enquired about sales training.

One of the questions I always ask is – ‘What sales training and coaching do you currently do when people first join and what do you do on an ongoing basis?’

In almost every case the response is that they train new sales staff on their product or service offering but do not carry out any sales training or ongoing coaching.

My response to that is to say something along the lines of: ‘So you hire salespeople and because they have applied for a sales position, and have some background in sales, you just assume they can sell well.’

There is usually an embarrassed admission that I am correct.

If you are a sales director, sales manager or business owner… it is a big mistake to assume your salespeople have excellent sales skills. They need ongoing training and coaching. I am rather good at selling but I still read at least ten new sales books a year, read dozens of white papers and attend a few seminars. There is often something new – and always many things to be reminded of.

And if you are a salesperson… In most sales organisations, 80 percent of the commissions are earned by 20 percent of the sales team. If you are not in that 20% now, you have a lot to learn and maybe you cannot rely on your company to teach you, or what they are teaching you is not working. If you want your share of the 80 percent of the commissions, take it upon yourself to upgrade your skills. And if you are in that 20 percent, you still have a lot to learn to grab an even bigger slice of that 80 percent.


Bruce King

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