The Fallacy of Sales Training

Watch a summary of this blog here.

Can you imagine an increase in gross profit of 46.7% in 2016?  It is completely possible, with the right skills.  We provide our clients with Essential Selling Skills, the key word being skills. Skill development takes more than just training.  How many times have you been to a course when the people around you are saying, “This is OK, but I already know all that?”  Well, the question isn’t do you know it, the real question is how good are you at it?

Ever taken a golf lesson?  For those of you who have, you know that even one small change to your swing, or your grip, or your stance will take hundreds of balls (if not thousands) for that change to become a skill. And more than that you will need a coach to help you periodically along the way.  

It is the same with selling.  You can’t walk out of a training course and legitimately say “I now have some sales skills,” and expect improved results.  To do it right, you now need to prioritise a handful of changes and then work at it for hundreds of sales calls.  And get some coaching along the way (pre-call coaching, during the call coaching and post call coaching).  

A few years ago, The Center for Leadership Studies conducted an extensive study on a $2 billion North American company, with 176 of their sales people.  Four control groups were established:

  1. Group 1 – Received no intervention
  2. Group 2 – Received a sales development course
  3. Group 3 – Received the same course, but also a follow-up coaching session
  4. Group 4 – Received the same course, but also at least six coaching sessions

Sales results were measured before and after (for approximately a year). Several sales figures were used, and in each case the higher numbered Group outperformed the the lower numbered group.  As an example, Revenue was one measurement:

  1. Group 1 experienced a decrease of 3.7%
  2. Group 2 experienced an increase of 1.1%
  3. Group 3 experienced an increase of 10.2%
  4. Group 4 experienced an increase of 19.8%.

And that is not the best part!  Group 4 saw their gross profit increase 46.7% better than Group 1.

Skill development is much more than simply training.  Applied learning with coaching  is where the magic happens!