Episode 1 - Sellers
There are thousands, probably 100’s of thousands, of sales trainers walking our wonderful planet at this given moment. Certainly, a large number of us have had a point in time in which we “carried a bag,” some for many years, others maybe for only a brief moment. Many agree that while not a hard prerequisite, having “pounded the pavement” in one’s past gives the sales trainer a unique point of view and some credibility while in front of a bunch of seasoned sales pros.
One of the things I am so fortunate to be able to say is that not only do I have many years “dialing for dollars” and leading a sales team, I also have 8 years under my belt as a buyer of sales effectiveness, sales enablement, and sales training solutions, providing me with some valuable perspectives.
In this series, I thought I would share some of my thoughts and experiences with a variety of players in this industry of ours… specifically those who sell sales training (episode 1), those who buy sales training (episode 2), and those who deliver sales training (episode 3).
Let’s start with those of you who are selling sales training and/or sales effectiveness solutions. Know right off the bat that our expectations of you are so much higher than for the multitude of other sales executives who try to capture our attention. After all, you are SELLING sales effectiveness! If you aren’t spectacular at it, why in the heck should I believe that your organization could help my sales force be more effective?
So, here are some pointers for you. Now, for those of you who make purchasing decisions on these solutions, I want you to take note of these best practices, as well, because if you are not demanding these from your providers, I think you should ask yourself the following: “Would I eat at a restaurant with a skinny chef?” “Would I take my car to a mechanic who drives a hunk of junk?” “Would I hire a burglar to house sit while I am out of town?”
- Bring your “A” game every time. Sorry, I have high expectations of you. Demonstrate to me that you have done your homework, researched my organization, learned my background, prepared thought-provoking questions, constructed an agenda, thought through meeting objectives, etc.
- Eat your own dog food. Show me, prove to me, that your “unique tools” and “proven methodology” really work, because to be quite honest with you, your tools look eerily similar to the other tools I have seen, and your methodology sounds familiar, too. So, if you aren’t using your stuff, why in the heck should you expect my folks to use your stuff? I don’t mind if you show me what you have prepared for my organization and me… as a matter of fact, I would love to see it.
- Tap in to my network, and give me references I can trust. Everyone I know in the world of sales training and sales effectiveness has a robust network. Makes sense – we meet tons of people with a desire to network. Find someone I know that can vouch for you. I had a sales rep email me once and say that a good friend of mine had referred him to me. I called my friend, and he said, “Even if you don’t need what he is selling, he is worth talking to, because he brings insights to me in every conversation.” Done! I set up a call right away with the sales rep, and it was a beneficial call for both of us.
Now, some of you at this point are thinking, “Seriously, Doug, THIS is wisdom?” Well, given the high number of terrible sales calls I have had with people who sell SALES EFFECTIVENESS… Yes, unfortunately, this is wisdom! If you know someone who sells services related to the selling profession, please forward this to them, and make sure they read it.
My next blog post will be focused on those of you making buying decisions for these services.