August 24, 2016

In one of the most famous scenes in the classic comedy “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” the clueless teacher played by Ben Stein drones the innocuous phrase “Anyone? Anyone?” over and over again while discussing economic history. All the while the students look on, glazed over, barely conscious, some actually drooling.

It remains a classic scene because it’s something we can all relate to. All of us have had to sit through a lecture or presentation that just didn’t click with us. And this makes some managers feel if they suggest sales training seminars to their staff, they will be hit with protests and bad attitudes.

Do sales people really hate sales training? Let’s examine and debunk some common myths in regard to salespeople and how they feel about this subject.

Myth: Top sales people don’t have the time to waste on training.

To the contrary, not only do these elite members of your sales force have the time, but they will be among those who benefit the most from sales training seminars. Sales training is designed to take individuals who already possess a natural sales skill set to the next level.

Top sales people always want to do better. If there is a class which can increase their sales volume and closing, they will make time!

Myth: Sales training is boring and not effective.

There are already plenty of studies and stats that show businesses that enroll their salesforce in sales training seminars perform better and increase overall sales numbers. Many still expect to be bored simply because the word “seminar” is used, and don’t want to sit through a long, static lecture with PowerPoints.

Luckily, the best sales training seminars don’t resemble those kind of old-fashioned settings anymore. The presenter engages with the audience and solicits feedback and fields questions. In addition, often there will be group exercises, contests and role-plays to help the audience stay interested and naturally retain the material.

Myth: Veteran employees hate training because they hate change.

There is an element of truth to this sentiment, but it really comes down to how the training is presented. People like to believe they are doing their job well. If an employee is performing at an average or slightly above average rate of performance, they may not fully understand why they need to alter their habits. After all, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it, right?

The right way to pitch a sales training seminar is to appeal to human nature — the “what’s in it for me?” factor. Here are some points you can use when trying to get buy-in from veterans:

  • make prospecting less tedious

  • find out what you did wrong on your last blown deal – and possibly fix it

  • make more money

  • take your production or career to an even greater level of prestige

  • close faster and easier

  • network and get some “me time” in

  • sharpen the saw, have some fun, share your war stories with new people

  • there will likely be free coffee and donuts!

Once an employee can see how tweaking a few old habits can positively impact them; and if they are provided with a clear path to achieve those changes, they will be happy to buy in.

While concern about the ability of sales training seminars to hold or keep the attention of a sales force may have been a concern in the past, modern techniques and dynamic presentations have really changed the game when compared to boring lectures of yesteryear.

Real salespeople don’t hate business sales training seminars — they love them!