Reinventing the Wheel for Sales Training (Part 2)

Reinventing the Wheel for Sales Training (Part 2)

Last week, I went on a bit of a rant on the odd width between U.S. rail tracks—as a metaphor for the “that’s-how-it’s-always-been-done” approach to sales training. This week, I’ll offer a modest proposal. Instead of repeating a dry litany of sales goals and metrics, what if we “flooded the zone” with truly great sales performances? There’s an old saying: “practice makes perfect.” It’s absolute nonsense. Practice makes permanent. It’s the practice of perfection that makes us more perfect. And that requires a demonstration of what perfect is. This seemingly obvious element is nearly always missing in the practice and…read more >
4 Resources For Improving Your Professional Communications Skills

4 Resources For Improving Your Professional Communications Skills

This is the season to be thankful. As a salesman, I appreciate all the resources I have that help me polish my professional communication skills. Here are my top four: Without good communication skills, I’d be washed up as a salesman. Fortunately, through the years, I’ve discovered lots of great resources to improve these. It was hard to narrow these down to just four, but here are the ones I’ve been able to use multiple times throughout any given day. 1. Recommended Reading Yes, I know. There are thousands of books on communication. But my absolute favorite is Crucial Conversations,…read more >
The Key to Making Money in Sales

The Key to Making Money in Sales

Like most of America, I woke up last week to the surprise of Donald Trump as our next President. (ANNOUNCEMENT: To spare you any more election fatigue, there will be no more political mentions in this blog!) However, the event made me curious to check out some past episodes of the TV show, The Apprentice. I didn’t follow the show back in the day, but it turns out that it’s theme song is “For the Love of Money” by the O’Jays. I love this song! In fact it’s been my ringtone for the past five years. (After you’ve enjoyed it…read more >
Reinventing the Wheel for Sales Training (Part 1)

Reinventing the Wheel for Sales Training (Part 1)

In the U.S., the width between train tracks is always four feet, eight & one-half inches. This odd standard was chosen by an early 19th Century British engineer and is used in 55% of all rail systems today. Sales training today is loaded with this kind of “that’s the way it’s always been done” inertia. It’s time to re-think that particular wheel. In 1825, civil engineer George Stephenson designed the Stockton & Darlington Railway in northern England. He chose four feet, eight inches as the gauge or width between rails (adding a half inch later on) because he was familiar…read more >
5 Ways Online Sales Training Can Fail (And What You Can Do About It)

5 Ways Online Sales Training Can Fail (And What You Can Do About It)

Since the birth of the Web, proponents have dreamed of the perfect “virtual classroom,” where geographic and financial barriers to learning are no more. Sadly, online training in general—and online sales training in particular—too often fall short. Here are five danger signs, and some good ways to avert them. The phrase “online training,” like its predecessor “computer-based training” can mean different things to different people. To some, it’s putting a WebEx or PowerPoint recording on YouTube. To others, it’s hosting a full-blown LMS—complete with online quizzes and compliance metrics. In any case, the dangers of failure are surprisingly similar to…read more >
Real Coaches Train Us To Do!

Real Coaches Train Us To Do!

In sports and other types of performance coaching, team members are shown—repeatedly—how to DO things, and eventually how to do them well. Too often, that’s what’s missing in sales coaching. Imagine for a moment you wanted to learn a new sport like tennis or golf. Or perhaps you wanted to learn to play guitar or piano. So you look for a teacher or coach to help you. If that person is a good teacher-coach, then he’s going to spend a lot of time demonstrating what to do. He’ll demonstrate how to swing the tennis racquet or golf club—or hold the…read more >
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 >