Yesterday, I had a conversation with a Sales VP about the training he said he wanted (but didn't really) for his sales team. In most cases, unless the Sales VP initiates the call, bringing someone in from the outside really isn't high on the VP's priority list. When a CEO initiates the call, and then invites a Sales VP to join the conversation, Sales VPs are usually worried about:
- How it will make them look? It will usually make them look good, but they usually worry that it will make them look bad!
- What we can do that they haven't been able to do? They aren't supposed to be sales trainers. They are supposed to be leaders, so it's an inappropriate expectation.
- What if we tell their salespeople things that are different from what they've been telling them? I'm sure we will suggest different things - that's the purpose of training. But that isn't a bad thing, it's a good thing - especially when the Sales VP embraces it.
- What if they lose the respect of their salespeople? Really? For bringing top quality training into the company and helping them become more successful while increasing their earnings? Respect goes up, not down.
- What if they lose the respect of their CEO? The respect is lost when they fight the initiative, discount the need, or suggest that they can do it themselves. Obviously, if they could do it themselves, the CEO wouldn't have initiated the conversation.
I can always tell when a Sales VP is worried about these things because they'll start asking all of the wrong questions. They'll want to know about agendas, content, slides, handouts, style, approach and timing. Instead they should be asking about results, solutions, and what they need to do to make it work!
It's all about the trainer and the trainer's ability to engage the team, keep them engaged and get them to change. The other stuff? It's just stuff and has no bearing on the effectiveness of a sales training program. I can produce the best slides, manuals, handouts and content, but if I suck at training, none of that will make up for it. And I can produce the worst materials on earth, but if my training gets the desired results, none of that will get in the way.
Of course, it's best to combine great materials with great training, but in the end, the only difference between good and bad results is the trainer. Read these articles and the three below for more on how to assure that your sales training initiative is successful:
Would you like to talk about turning your sales team into the most effective, consistent, winning sales team in your industry? That's a conversation I'm always willing to have. Just email me.