Most salespeople would rather visit the dentist for a root canal than participate in sales training. I know this for a fact because I used to be a salesperson, and now I conduct sales training. I've been on both sides of the fence and understand both perspectives
- Sales training is not appreciated by salespeople
- Sales training is needed to improve sales performance and demanded by sales management
Nothing is more challenging for a B2B sales trainer or consultant than entering a room full of hostile salespeople that are hyper focused on responding to emails and texts wishing they were someplace else. This reality is nothing new and has been around as long as salespeople and sales training.
Why B2B Salespeople Hate Training
There are many reasons why this dilemma exists—some real, some imagined. Here are five:
- Sellers would rather be selling and making money than sitting in a conference room
- Sellers are too busy to take a break from selling and taking care of customers
- Many sellers think they know everything there is to know about selling
- Most sales training is boring
- Most sales training lacks application to real customers
How to Get Salespeople to Love Training
Here’s the list again with some tips for trainers and consultants to overcome each:
1. Sellers would rather be selling and making money.
Tip: Use training that combines learning and selling. Here are the benefits to this approach:
- Sellers earn while they learn
- Sales organization gets a great ROI on their sales training dollar
There are training programs that do this like How Selling from The Center for Sales Strategy.
2. Sellers are too busy to take a break from selling and taking care of customers.
Tip: Here are a few ways to overcome this reason:
- Managers need to clear the deck and supply adequate administrative support for sellers when they are in training
- Split the sales team in groups and allow half to serve as the back up while the other half participates in training
- Follow a chunk learning process that provides training in short chunks rather than multi day workshops
- Give sellers breaks every 60-90 minute during training workshops—make some of the breaks 30 minutes so they can respond to customers
3. Sellers think they know everything there is to know about selling.
Tip: Point out specific areas where sellers need help and communicate how the training will help improve performance and their commission checks.
4. Most sales training is boring.
Tip: Most salespeople are correct in this area. Nothing is worse than listening to a sales trainer drone on for hours clicking through a deck of 500 PowerPoint slides. Try these options to make sales training more interesting:
- Vary the format (lecture, big group, small group, project work, role play, games, contests)
- Make the training a competition
- Give them a break every 60-90 minutes
5. Most sales training lacks application to their customers.
Tip: Involve pre and post workshop assignments and projects tied to real customers.
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