There are 5 types of sales trainers:
1. HR Bureaucrat. This so-called “sales” trainer is can only teach how to fill out forms, show how to process orders, review sales policy manuals, and other mundane aspects of the position. They delight in the mandatory sexual harassment training and other legal or government related nonsense. They talk more about what you can’t or shouldn’t do than what you should do namely close a sale.
2. Senior Reps. Here new reps are thrown into work with a more senior rep to learn the ropes on the job. Sometimes the senior rep has only himself been selling there for a short time – this is especially prevalent in high turnover positions. This translates as the company does not value the new rep nor the senior rep’s time. It’s rare to find a rep that can sell, understand why she sells, and is able to effectively teach others to sell. Selling is a completely different skill set than selling. This situation exists because that’s how the manager was promoted. Because of sales, not management or leadership skills.
The drafted senior rep will most likely feel resentful and put upon and take it out on the newbie. They often purposely sabotage the unfortunate clueless new rep with misinformation. No sense in giving away secrets then watching the new rep win a contest or outshine you later.
3. Managers. On the surface this could like a good idea. Dig a little deeper and you discover the same issues as with a senior rep. The manager, perhaps not that long ago was himself a “senior rep,” and perhaps a rep for only a few months. He also may be entirely clueless as to what works and does not in the sales process, instead assuming this or that with no evidence or insight to back it up. He may be a terrible absolutely awful teacher, even if somewhat effective as a manager.
Then there is the matter of time. How can a manager be expected to invest the time in a new rep if he has an entire team to care for? If he is expected to sell and hit a quotas, then the time available to train quickly reduces to nothing. This is where the task is pawned off on some hapless “senior” sales rep.
4. Consultants. Management may be aware of some of the downfalls listed above, or merely dissatisfied with results and the status quo. They bring in the miracle-worker consultant. The hired-gun mercenary. The circus act. He no doubt has written a book on something or other and has glowing testimonials.
Here’s a safe bet – this clown will be there for entertainment value. He is “motivational? Because the idiots at the top think that’s what the troops need. Or it could be worse – a number cruncher with a stop watch comes in to gather data for analysis. He blabbers about metrics and baselines and incremental improvements in efficiency and revenue enhancement opportunities. Or worse of all, it’s Blake from downtown threatening drastic action if sales don’t pick up and how you are going to get some steak knives but you can’t have any more coffee.
5. Inspirational Trainer. She knows sales having been an top gun expert rep. Better yet, this trainer is a teacher in every sense of the word. She is an expert communicator that senses what an individual needs to more forward and can provide it. She is empathic and intuitive. She knows the quantitative side but focuses on the qualitative where the biggest gains await all those that at least make the calls.
Any sales rep lucky enough to sit at the knee of a truly gifted sales guru can make amazing strides towards sales mastery fast. Earnings follow mastery and the rep starts enjoying success previously thought unattainable.