Monday Morning Manager Part II-Why Sales Training Fails

On Monday the 29th I touched on the topic of sales training and how important it is to use a “common sales language”. Common sales language means that each of the salespeople in a company use the same sales process during their sales calls. This in no way affects the rep’s style. In fact, the sales process can enhance the style.

There is a very large downside to sales training and I know that many of you have already experienced it. Companies spend some serious cash sending their salespeople to training or bringing in experienced trainers for on site sessions. Everybody gets all pumped up on the new techniques they learn; the reps can’t wait to get into the field to try them. For a couple of weeks the salespeople extol the virtue of this close or that close, the listening techniques they used or the sure-fire way to overcome the money objection. Along about week four after the training, however, the number of anecdotes decreases and soon after that every rep slips back into how they used to sell. Welcome to the training money pit!

The only way for you to avoid the training black hole is to introduce these two elements:

  1. The sales training should be long term.
  2. Sales managers have to reinforce the training during and after the sessions.

One day training sessions can be useful if the goal is to hype the salespeople up for a last quarter push or to introduce a new product. A little bit of Zig Ziglar and Brian Tracy are good for the sales soul! Changing sales habits, however, takes a minimum of a month and that’s an optimistic scenario. Sales training is most effective when it is done over several months so salespeople can learn a technique then practice it, learn a technique then….well you get the idea.

The job of the sales manager, when working with the salespeople, is to listen to how they use the new techniques during sales calls. This really doesn’t need much more explanation than that. Learn, use and reinforce should be the mantra for every sales training process.

I’ll offer one more suggestion. Not all training fits all companies. Your company may sell a product or service that requires an approach to the sale that one specific training may not help. Fit the training to the company, the product and/or the industry. 

I do have opinions on different training but I won’t share them here. It’s almost impossible to summarize the pros and cons in a few short paragraphs. Email me at if you’d like an opinion.

The Final Thought: “Why does a woman work ten years to change a man’s habits and then complain that he’s not the man she married?” Barbara Streisand


One thought on “Monday Morning Manager Part II-Why Sales Training Fails

  1. Love this and agree! Training is not an event. It’s an ongoing initiative and the cos that say they received no ROI from their training are the cos that believe a one or two-time jump up and down and motivatemotivatemotivate is going to do the trick. Compare sales training to the training done by athletes. Or musicians. They train each and every day to stay at the top of their game. The same thing should be true in sales. Do I hear a resounding YES!?

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