6 Mistakes Companies Make When Selecting A Sales Trainer


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Over and over I’ve read and heard sales experts say that, “It doesn’t matter which sales approach or methodology you use, as long as every salesperson in the company uses it.”  This myth has been around for decades.  Don’t believe it.  It just isn’t true.

When ESR does postmortems on failed sales training initiatives, we often find a significant mismatch between the client’s sales performance improvement requirements and the vendor’s capabilities.  That’s not the only reason that these initiatives fail, but it’s a common one.  If you have a whole sales team following the same process, but that process doesn’t match customer buying patterns and preferences, for example, you’re not going to get very far at all.

Here are some of the reasons companies wind up with the wrong training company for their needs:

  1. They hire a training company based on brand recognition only, without doing a deep dive into the vendor’s capabilities.  Although millions swear by Coca-Cola, it isn’t the right drink for everyone, is it?  Neither is Pepsi.
  2. They engage with a training provider with whom they have worked in the past, even though their present company’s situation is very different.  I used to get my car serviced at the Jeep dealership.  I no longer have a Jeep.  Should I bring my Prius there?  Do they understand the design and functions of a hybrid car?
  3. They get a referral from colleague (or a suggestion in a comment to a LinkedIn group query).  The friend’s company is in a different market, selling different products to different customers, but they hire the trainer anyway.
  4. They hire a company that has the hottest new approach, or a trainer who wrote a book with what is purported to be a brand-new solution to what the company believes its problem is.  Wasn’t it Los Del Rio that gave us the Macarena in 1996?  Hmmm.
  5. They attend a promotional event (webinar, sales leaders’ conference, or public training event) and are impressed with the passion, quality and unbelievably deep insights of the trainer, so they hire him or her.  Ron Popeil was brilliant, but I wouldn’t have hired him to train my sales team. (You’ve got to read the essay on him in Malcolm Gladwell’s What the Dog Saw.)
  6. They search the Internet to find a trainer whose offerings are appealing based upon what is represented on the trainer’s website.  Maybe it’s all true.  Maybe it isn’t.  Maybe it’s what the company needs.  Maybe it isn’t.  Rolling the dice on a career doesn’t make sense to me.

Photo credit: © Dmitry Naumov – Fotolia.com

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dave Stein
Dave specializes in helping his clients win critical B2B sales opportunities as well as helping them hire the best sales talent.Dave is co-author of Beyond the Sales Process. He wrote the best-selling How Winners Sell in 2004.


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