Sunday, June 27, 2010

Train Your Sales People Like Soldiers Going To Iraq

I remember my first day as a salesperson. I was hired by one of the biggest Ice Cream companies in the Philippines as an Account Specialist (AS). I remember being excited for my first ever sales job and anxious at the same time. 

Before we did our selling, we first had a 5-day classroom training, with my very first sales mentor Mr. Rusky. He was a bright person with superb communication skills.

We started with the background of the product lines that we were going to sell. The company's policies and history. The organizational structure and where we were at the structure.

After lunch on my first day, we were then explained on how crucial our position was. It meant that if a single account specialist could not sell on that same day, the entire company would suffer. Our sales mentor added, "we and the marketing people are the lifeblood of this company, we bring home the bacon". That statement alone made me so fired up to sell.

Each day, our lessons progressed from the basics to the advance sales tips and lessons. And what was really important is we practice mock-selling with our sales mentor. For example, this day's sales lesson was about listening, our sales mentor would pretend to be an annoying complainant. He would talk and talk and we would listen to each of his concern and learn to prioritize his most important objection.

Everyday we moved from being a newbie to becoming a professional salesperson.

After the entire week of classroom training, we were then assigned to sales supervisors that would become our new sales mentors. This time we were trained in the actual selling in the field. Our new sales mentors would do the selling on the first five prospects and then we would sell to the next five outlets.      

For a complete 15-day period, we spent our time with our sales supervisors. After each selling day, we will then discuss important aspects of the selling process that I as a sales trainee overlooked or lack to emphasized.

By the time when my sales mentor left me, I already had 37 regular customers and about a hundred more that needed follow-up and closure.

My point?

Before going to war, remember to bring your basic artillery. In other words, for a sales person to sell effectively, he must have a strong foundation on the basics of selling. It has to involve a classroom training (the why) and in-field sales training (the how).

No matter how costly this is for a company it is VERY important that all their sales people undergo this two types of sales training. It is either you train your people like this or you don't sell at all. That's how crucial this kind of training is.

In fact my advice is to continuously train your sales people. To keep them updated with the new techniques in selling.     


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