It cannot be stressed enough that it costs more not to train your employees than to train them. You can count on poorly trained employees to make mistakes that will cost your company money. Their mistakes may irritate and even drive away customers. Poorly trained employees fail to make the sales, and contacts with new prospects are wasted.
The employees also suffer. No one likes to mess up. If you fail to train your employees, they’re more likely to feel frustrated on the job and quit.
When deciding where to start, I always lean toward starting with sales training and motivation. These employees are on the front line and have the most influence on the profitability of your company. Companies that decide to concentrate on training and motivating their sales staff usually experience a rapid growth in sales and profits. Sales training and motivation should be one of management’s main areas of focus. Unfortunately, very few companies invest the funds and time required to ensure the success of their company. The lost opportunity cost is incalculable!
The four main areas in which training will contribute to the success of your sales force, regardless of the type of selling in which they are engaged, are 1) knowledge, 2) work habits, 3) selling skills, and 4) attitude.
Knowledge. A salesperson must have knowledge of the product, company, sales environment, and the entire environmental situation in which he or she is operating. Only with knowledge can the sales individual best explain the product or service to the customer.
Work habits. A salesperson’s work habits can be responsible for great success stories as well as great failures. They can also spell the difference between sales success and failure in your company. With sales calls as expensive as they are, a salesperson who makes very few calls a day can ruin you in short order. Making calls is a matter of mental attitude and strong selling work habits.
Selling skills. There are so-called “natural salespeople.” But while some individuals may be more naturally suited for selling than others, sales skills can be learned and mastered by many people. These skills include establishing rapport and empathy, making effective presentations, handling objections, closing sales, and so forth.
Attitude. A critical performance factor in selling is attitude. In fact, it is so important that many books by successful salespersons emphasize this one factor. A salesperson’s attitude is the number one item making the difference between their success or failure.