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Sales 101 or Room 101?

Recently, I started a campaign on Linked-In to “Stop the Sales Training Madness” but many salespeople (myself included) look back to their first sales program with great affection. Stating that what they learned was the catalyst that kicked off their love of sales and it’s what they go back to when they experience a challenge or an obstacle they need to overcome.

My Sales 101, a few moons ago, was run internally by National Adhesives. Yes, I started my sales career as an industrial glue salesperson and yes, I did stick at it. The Sales 101 was brilliant because I learned to sell value and that has stayed with me ever since.

A great example from those days was an envelope manufacturer where we had lost the business – worth around £120k per pa – to a competitor who was notorious for slashing prices. And these prices were particularly attractive for the envelope manufacturer because they were facing stiff competition from cheap, imported envelopes.

Knowing this, we put forward a case to carry out an audit of their adhesive usage. During the investigation we found that their machines, designed to run at 800 envelopes per minute (epm), were only running at 600epm because if they ran faster they had to stop the machines every 30 minutes to clean up the splashing glue before it created a jam. Our chemists did a great job of developing a new product that didn’t splash at 800epm. It was trialled and then adopted on all machines. Now I’m not saying we could sell our product for as much as we liked but we did get a significant premium – essential to fund our ongoing R&D and product development.

So when I say “Stop the Sales Training Madness” I don’t mean Sales 101 where salespeople learn the basics – the things they always come back to when times are tough. I mean the complex, complicated, prescriptive sales methodologies that patronisingly tell experienced salespeople that if they follow the process their sales performance will be transformed.

These programs should definitely be banished to Room 101.

 

If you and your organisation are looking for an alternative approach to sales training it’s time to talk. There is an alternative. It’s collaborative, it’s candid, salespeople love it and it applies 70/20/10 learning principles. Email me to arrange a coffee and whiteboard.

Also email me if you’d like a free copy of “Possibly the Shortest Sales Manual Ever”. Just 8 pages.