What Sales Training Is Really About
People generally think sales training is about how to sell.
People that can sell don’t really think they need it. People who have no sales experience always think that they will sell better without training – because they are going to “sell differently” than everyone else.
Both end up selling just like everyone else.
Most sales people do the opposite of what is effective:
- They put too much pressure on prospects.
- They avoid talking about certain things or engaging in healthy conflict.
- They work hard to build relationships that never lead to any business after all the work.
Even relatively good sales people will admit that they struggle with each of these.
People forget to be themselves and become “sales people” when placed in selling situations. And then, you add sales training to the mix and people become become even less authentic. You’ve probably heard it: “That Sandler stuff…” or “I have been through Spin Selling…”
The thing is, no matter what sales training you had, it either worked for you or it did not. There is no right system to pick. It doesn’t matter which selling system or training that you have. The key is to take what actually matters from the training: You learn to be authentic in the way you sell. Who you are naturally should be the way that you are when you sell. Sales training really is about two things: Decoding human behavior, and managing natural conflict.
An Example to Illustrate
When your spouse comes home from work and slams down their briefcase and huffs around, you know something is wrong. So you ask them, “Everything ok with you?” But, when you see your prospect getting frustrated, you never ask them such a direct question.
When your kids are frustrated about school, you sit down and listen to them, let them agonize through their emotions, and then you help them through it based on what they really need. But when you are selling and you hear “frustrated,” you stop listening and immediately tell them how you would help them and what you would do to solve their problems. Imagine if your kid talked about how he was frustrated with his friends and you immediately said something like “You know what you should do...I would…” They would be done with the conversation and think you are an idiot parent. Imagine what your prospects think.
All of the things that you do in normal life, you need to learn to do in your selling life. If your normal life has defects in how you deal with human behavior or conflict, those defects will show up in how you sell. A good training program will help you evaluate and identify those defects and work on them.
Selling concepts have been around since Socrates. There is nothing new or different. Like everything else, the root is in the basics. But the basics are what most people struggle with mastering. Sales training, regardless of the system, should teach the basics of mastering human behavior and how to deal with people.