August 12, 2016

With the right sales training program in place, your company’s close rate and revenue are highly likely to increase. Finding that particular training program, one that ‘ticks the boxes’ for your business’ unique set of challenges, is another matter entirely. As you might have already experienced, not all corporate sales training workshops are created equal.

Even some that have been previously rated highly by stand out companies may not be suitable for your business and its needs. Let’s focus on some of the more common ‘ugly truths’ about top sales training programs.

Ratings can be bought

So you’ve checked out a list of Top 20 best rated sales training programs. You quickly pick the most highly rated and expensive one, figuring it would be top in its class.

Choosing a training class is not like picking a restaurant using Yelp, however. Just as with Yelp and Amazon, ratings and positive reviews can be bought and strategically placed. It is best to ask for case studies or seek referrals from fellow businesspeople you trust when searching for a training company.

Motivational speeches fizzle out

There is a lot to be said for group morale — a happy sales force is motivated to work hard and close often. So there is nothing wrong with getting the employees pumped up — that is one of the great benefits from top sales training programs. That being said, an over-caffeinated motivational approach, while entertaining, doesn’t achieve much once your folks get back to the office or field.

Some sales training programs focus too much on inspirational presentations and play pumped up

music mix tapes instead of working on the fundamentals of selling in a fun and engaging way. All that enthusiasm would be better put to use role playing and practical work shopping instead of awkward ice breaker games and hand clapping.

Some trainers wish they were college professors

At the other end of the spectrum is the sales training program composed of lengthy monologues and dull Power Points, similar to a boring university lecture. It’s easy to get caught up in the delivery of as much information as possible and lose the audience as a result.

Ideally, top sales training programs should be conducted in more of a dialogue format, polling the participants for experience and benefiting from their previous successes and failures. By engaging the audience, we get the added breadth of those in attendance and can tie that directly back to the training, increasing the likelihood of retention and application of lessons learned.

Too many fancy theories

Advanced topics, such as Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), can produce impressive gains in sales performance. I incorporate these concepts in my own training workshops. However, spending hours on these topics at general training sessions is counterproductive, as this it isn’t likely going to be the most appropriate or beneficial focus for the majority of salespeople. The best sales training seminars provide easily digestible information and tie in real-world scenarios so the audience can get some wins right away. Breakout sessions or further, advanced training can then teach the more sophisticated concepts to those interested.

By avoiding the pitfalls of choosing the wrong sales training program you can avoid wasting training dollars and increase your ROI — which isn’t an ugly truth at all.