In many companies, very little systematic thought is given to the design of a sales training program. Very often, one of the following fallacious schools of thought is encountered:
- “Salespeople Are Born, Not Made”- therefore the selection process is the only step to getting the right man. Having been chosen, the new recruit is then either successful or not, without any help from the company. Research does not bear out this theory.
- “Must Know The Product From The Ground Up” – all training is therefore devoted to lengthy product training, working on the shop floor, progressing paperwork, etc. Whilst product knowledge is very necessary, it is questionable whether this is the right way to learn it or whether this is sufficient on its own.
- “Watch Me Son” – the new salesperson is sent out with an old hand to watch (and thus learn) the experienced person’s techniques. Thus the new salesperson may not only pick up bad habits from the experienced person (who usually is not as trained as a trainer), but also mere observation will not teach.
If a successful training program is to be developed, it must be planned with careful thought given to the following questions:
- What are the key objectives?
- What should be taught?
- Where should it be taught?
- By whom?
and most critical:
For Example: Typical Objectives of a Training Program
- Increased sales
- Reduced individual selling costs
- Increased individual earnings
- Reduced personnel turnover
- Reduced need for supervision
- Improved employee morale
- Stronger customer relationships
Therefore, the objectives have to be formulated in these terms – i.e. Turning the company’s investment in personnel into an asset producing an increased return on that investment.