In my opinion, hundreds of millions of pounds world-wide are wasted every year on irrelevant, unnecessary, or inappropriate sales skills development and there are four obvious reasons.
To begin with, the one off programme may supply a short term motivational buzz and provide the delegate with a number of thought provoking ideas. However, in reality, once they are back at the “front-line” the day to day pressures of hitting quota etc take over again and the reactive mindset returns. It is rather like the Chinese meal effect; when you leave the restaurant you feel stuffed but by the time you arrive home you want to eat again.
Secondly, most, not all, but a very high percentage of courses on offer today, deliver what I term “generalised” skills development.
For example, a guy operating within the aerospace sector, negotiating multi-million pound contracts can find himself sitting next to a young saleswoman who markets insurance policies and is based in a call centre. On her right is another guy who is developing a successful career in manufacturing, selling hydraulic components and next to him…..I think you will appreciate my point. To achieve sustained success in all of these disparate industries requires specific skills sets and the “generalised” workshops simply cannot deliver them.
Thirdly, most and again I would estimate it is at least 80% of training organisations today, make the assumption that all delegates are at the same level in terms of experience, expertise and have the same “commercial bandwidth.” This is of course, totally unrealistic.
Whilst it is not possible to equate age and experience with success, the reality is that although some professional salespeople do have ten years experience, most have one year’s experience ten times!
The very best salespeople – the ones that consistently exceed expectation, have usually received ongoing skills development from the “emerging” stage all the way through “advanced” right up to “consultative” level, if appropriate but the keyword is “ongoing”
Finally, and this is the most significant and blatant error of judgment most Sales Directors make, is that every member of the team receives the same training, i.e. they are all dispatched off to the same course regardless of whether or not they already have those skills or if indeed they need to have them in their current role.
The point here is that there is far too little planning, assessing, and objective setting; it is much easier to abdicate responsibility to the training company. The downside to this approach is of course, so much money is wasted.
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