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June 8, 2022

Sales Training Before Selling Or As You Sell?

If you have just signed up for an extended…comprehensive….sales raining program, should you go through the entire program, and then use it in selling?…or should you complete your training program as you continue to sell?

I have a strong opinion on this based on my own sales training experience with sales reps.  My opinion is that you should take the sales training in bite sized pieces, as you continue to sell in the field.

What I often see are companies that buy a sales training program…and gather their sales force out from the field, and immerse them in a weeklong training program….and expect them to use what they learned. To the reps, this is usually thought of as a mini vacation from actually selling, as the company usually covers all the expenses. The problem is, the reps cannot remember much of what they learned, and so immediately go bacck to what they know…with the same results as they got before the sales training. This is true no matter how good or groundbreaking the training is. As the reps leave the training event, they pat each other on the back, vow to do great things, and return to their former habits….because nothing in the training actually stuck to them.

So, how do you train as you sell?

Let’s say you have a training program with 10 modules. Ten separate sessions covering different aspects of selling. Let’s also assume these are on video, and each session takes an hour.

My advice would be to watch one session a week, and study each session intently. Why just one a week? Because you are going to do the following with ach session;

  1. Learn the important points of each session.
  2. Translate what you are learning into usable technique or strategy that you can use in your own business.
  3. Develop a plan of action to use what you just learned…and use it immediately.
  4. Test and verify that what you are learning is actually working, during at least a full week of actual in field sales activity.

Why do you need to be able to use what you just learned immediately? Because if you put it off at all, it will be forgotten. And if you don’t test an idea, and see immediate results, you won’t believe in it…and you’ll never use it.

And why should you wait a week between training sessions? To give your brain a chance to really absorb what you learned….so it will stick with you, allowing you to profit from what you learn.

Once you use a few ideas that you learned, and see that they work well and that they make you more money (or save you aggravation) you’ll be far more likely to absorb and use the knowledge that comes later.

One huge advantage I’ve seen by using this method of weekly sales training followed by at least a full week of selling (to verify that what you learned actually works) is this…

We all have sales slumps, where we lose interest in selling, or slow down our activity. In my entire life, I’ve never seen a salesperson have a sales slump, when they are actively engaged in learning new techniques. There is a certain excitement the first time you use a new technique and see it work. Trust me. I’ve been the trainer, but I’ve also took training and had the same experience.

One other note;

You should be able to ask questions of the sales trainer (either online or directly) because no sales training can possible anticipate every question that might occur to you.  A membership website or interactive blog or Facebook page would certainly help.