Regular readers of this blog know that we are big on sales training courses, particularly ones that teach a consultative selling approach. While we can be said to be biased in recommending that every salesperson receive formal training (since we provide training courses), there is also a genuine desire to raise the status and competence levels of sales professionals. It is good for them personally, not to mention the companies they work for and the overall economy.
That being said, there are several sales & marketing course types to choose from. Briefly, the main categories are:
- Stay at Home/Online Training: A home-based or online sales training course allows you to save on travel costs and time, especially if it allows you to login whenever you want and learn at your own pace. This is valuable for learning sales theory, but has the disadvantage of not providing face-to-face drilling with another human being. This is excellent for beginners who need a grasp of the basics, or veterans that need a brush-up, but it is best to follow this up with in-person training.
- Seminar/Workshop: One of the most popular ways to get trained is to attend a sales course presented in seminar or workshop form. In fact, according to Peter Ostrow of the Aberdeen Group, the most successful sales organizations come from live, instructor-led training. From experience, this has a lot to do with participation and the fact that it is easier to engage with students in person and get them to do the all-important live drilling.
- Private Consultation/Coaching: The most intensive sales course would likely consist of a combination of a private consultation, aptitude testing, and personalized coaching to improve any weak points. Most serious sales professionals take an advanced sales course which includes personal coaching at some point in their careers, and very few would say that their results and income didn’t improve dramatically because of it.
- Formal schooling: Many colleges offer sales & marketing courses as part of their degree programs or as continuing education. However, the effectiveness of these classes in producing competent salespeople might not be as high as attending training alongside salespeople “in the trenches,” and taught by active sale pros.
“Which sales course should I take?”
Budget-wise, online training or systems that utilize CDs/DVDs might be the best choice to save money, especially for new salespeople. These training materials can quickly get a rookie sales person out the door with some confidence and minimal cost, and many can even be adopted to teach several team members at once as part of company training sessions.
That being said, face-to-face training by a seasoned pro can really launch a sales person into the stratosphere, especially when combined with continued private coaching. Yes, this comes at a price, but if the material is earnestly applied, the costs can be recovered with just a few sales, and the cost of training is minimal compared with the cost of failure.
Training can make or break a career in sales. Choose your sales training course wisely.