Sales Training Lessons From an Uncivil Society

Sales Training Lessons From an Uncivil Society

In a democracy, we participate in elections where each side tries to sell us on their candidate. Throughout American history, we’ve seen passionate, but mostly civil elections. This year has been a shouting match of incivility, unrest, and unwillingness to listen. Both sides are failing at salesmanship. As annoying as political rhetoric is, politicians and their teams have a job to do. Successful campaigns are built on modern marketing principles, as the late Joe McGinniss explained in his 1969 book, The Selling of the President. To get elected, candidates deliver their best sales pitch and value proposition, using every known…read more >
Understanding Sales Coaching

Understanding Sales Coaching

Virtually every sales organization of any size has some kind of sales coaching program or initiative in place. There’s not a sales executive on the planet that doesn’t agree: sales coaching is essential. They approach it different ways—with online sales training, remote coaching and various technology-based coaching tools. And yet... I recently completed 150 interviews of sales executives, mostly from larger sales organizations. I asked what was the number one weakness in their sales organization. Amazingly, 147 of them had the same answer: “poor sales coaching.” This was disturbing. With all the focus, resources, and attention this topic has received…read more >
Trick or Treat (How Halloween’s Catchphrase Can Offer Insight Into Best Practices for Sales Training)

Trick or Treat (How Halloween’s Catchphrase Can Offer Insight Into Best Practices for Sales Training)

Halloween is around the corner. In the U.S., Britain, Mexico, Ireland, and elsewhere, children are preparing to go door-to-door. They will knock and shout “trick-or-treat” in the hope of scoring a sweet haul. It’s fun—but it’s also a metaphor to learn from. In the U.S., traditions of trick-or-treating for candy date back to the 1920s—roughly same timeframe as modern advertising. It’s really much older, dating back to 16th century Britain and Ireland, where there are plenty of tales of people singing or performing for food and drink. Today, it’s a fun excuse to get into costume and character. Trick-or-treating is…read more >
Video Practice is the Best Way to Learn

Video Practice is the Best Way to Learn

As a young Bullfrog at Bret Harte High, to win scholarships for college, I entered speech competitions. I’d stand in my bedroom, practicing gestures, making eye contact with pictures on the wall, and giving my speech out loud. Repeating the live motions, as close to the actual event environment as possible, was the best way for me to learn my speeches and provide a consistent performance. The way we encode skills hasn’t changed. Humans must practice. Practice makes you consistent, but does that lead to improvement in a skill that matters? As Albert Einstein said, “The definition of insanity is…read more >
Interactive Training Basics: You Were Taught, but Did You Learn?

Interactive Training Basics: You Were Taught, but Did You Learn?

Interactive training, whether in-person or online, is just one part of the learning process. Whether you’re a professional sales trainer or a proactive team leader or mentor, you need to know how humans learn—and assimilate that knowledge into their daily lives. There are many perspectives on the learning process, but the most helpful overview I’ve found  is Noel Burch’s Competence Hierarchy. As you develop courses—video-based or otherwise—it’s always wise to consider your trainee’s journey on this path—and how to move them forward. Here’s a quick visual overview: The first two levels, Unconscious Incompetent (where you don’t know what you don’t…read more >
How Remote Work Has Changed Professional Communication Skills

How Remote Work Has Changed Professional Communication Skills

In his book The Social Animal, cultural commentator David Brooks argues that our subconscious minds, influenced by countless nonverbal cues, determine how we behave. Salespeople and other influencers already know this. For years, they’ve been successful because they communicate well with nonverbals. But has the rise of remote work, and the decline of face-to-face contact, changed this? First off, let’s admit that some communication skills that will never translate well as virtual experiences. There’s no true online counterpart to a warm handshake or a hug. (I disagree with my friends who insist that such things can happen in VR.) Many nonverbal…read more >
Online Sales Training and the Art of Kung Fu

Online Sales Training and the Art of Kung Fu

I’ve been a fan of Kung Fu ever since I was a kid. I loved all the movies, the David Carradine series, and of course the weekly “Kung Fu Theatre” episode that would drag me into the house on a Saturday afternoon. Now that I’m all grown up—mostly—I see some amazing similarities between martial arts and sales enablement. To be proficient in sales, it’s not as much about how your body is positioned. It’s about how your relationship with the prospect is structured. It’s also about “learning the right moves,” not robotically but naturally—responding in the moment by knowing intuitively…read more >
The Evolution of Cold Calling: Understanding The Biggest Paradigm Shift in Prospecting

The Evolution of Cold Calling: Understanding The Biggest Paradigm Shift in Prospecting

Cold calling is getting a bad reputation. In B2B situations, the best sales training teams are replacing cold calling with Smart Calling or Intelligent Calling. The latter is defined as the use of a combination of sales and marketing communication channels (i.e., the web, phone, video, physical mail, email, advertising, etc.) to gain Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action (AIDA). The difference today is that, for a salesperson to become more effective, each of these sales enablement strategies need to be combined. Of course the best approach will always be where the prospect responds and the end result is a sale.…read more >
How to Create Compliance Training That People Pay Attention To

How to Create Compliance Training That People Pay Attention To

Compliance training is not something that people look forward to. While not often associated with positive thoughts, it doesn’t have to be dreaded! We’re all adults (I’m assuming) and we understand these courses are required—to prevent some serious trouble. We’re willing to comply, to satisfy these requirements. That doesn’t mean such courses have to bore us to tears. For compliance training, there are two basic rules: the KISS principle and using interactive video. The best compliance videos are short and simple, with a lively, well-rehearsed presenter speaking energetically, so there is no rambling. Interactive video training is a great way…read more >
“Put Me In, Coach!” What the NFL and the Best Sales Training Teams Have in Common

“Put Me In, Coach!” What the NFL and the Best Sales Training Teams Have in Common

Interactive training is at the heart of all professions—whether it’s live or online. The start of the NFL season reminds us that sales enablement and professional football have more in common than you may think. Fall is upon us. Pumpkin spice is back, backpacks are packed, and football season has already kicked off. If you’re like me, you drafted your fantasy team a few weeks ago and are now experiencing all the highs and lows as you move around your squad each week. If you don’t play, here’s a basic rundown. Fantasy football is a competition in which participants build…read more >