30 August 2020

How Do I Select a Sales Training Course That Works?

How do I select a sales training course that works?


I have been in sales for over thirty-six years and often found myself asking the same question,  “how do I select a sales course that works ?”. I believe sales to be the most noble of profession’s, our interactions can change lives and make the world a better place.

And yet for an industry that is one of, if not the, largest on the planet there is no globally recognised qualification in sales.

Sometimes you are fortunate to find a mentor in the business that you get a start with that will take you through the basics of how to sell, but for the most part you learn through getting out there and hearing “No”…  A Lot!

You try a lot of things, talk to people, modify your pitch and either the frequency of “No” reduces or you loose all confidence and get another job swearing never to get back into sales again.

Ironically a lot of these people end up starting their own business and guess what you need to be able to do when you start a business?

You guessed it. Sell.

Back when I started selling in the 1980s I was not taught how to sell, I was told how things worked or shown what they did, but never how to sell.

In fact I remember the very first sales call I ever made.

I had driven into the golf club at Te Kauwhata in New Zealand and jumped out of my car, an over confident 20 something and the course super at the time Richard Perry came out to greet me.

What do you want” he inquired inquisitively “I want to sell you something” I answered “What do you want to sell me” he asked “No idea” I said

I look back and laugh now as Richard actually did buy something, he brought a lot of things, but not that day, that day he chose to show me the course and teach me a few things about what other golf courses may need. My training had started

Fast forward nearly 40 years and still to this day a larger proportion of sales-people around the world are left to find out figure out how to sell on their own.

Back in the 1980s Tom Peters was huge on the international selling circuit with his book “in search of excellence” it was first sales book I had ever purchased and later on that decade Stephen Covey was big with his book “the 7 habits of highly successful people” – I remember attending a day he put on in Sydney.

Neither were strictly sales books, but they got me started, yet i still had one question. How do I select a sales training course that works.

In the decades since I have invested, I would estimate, well over a hundred and fifty thousand dollars attending seminars, buying books, subscribing to courses and attending events.

And I have received value from each event I have attended. But my experience could have been so much better, Here is what I have learnt

The problem with sales training is

  • You get motivated to go
  • During the event you become a sponge and soak everything up
  • You take home screeds of notes
  • And then the motivation dissipates
  • There is no accountability to take action
  • There is rarely if ever any follow up
  • And unless you pay for the premium tickets no interaction with the presenter
  • You certainly don’t get to talk with them about your business as the presenter has a 1 to many delivery method.
  • The presenter is usually not actually selling and doing deals anymore and sometimes the content can be out-dated

Just like when you are learning sales, you are again left on your own. (see related article sales training near me)

These are the type of events I invest in now.

I now know the best way for me to learn is if the events have a structure that continues once the workshop, seminar or conference is over. This is my list of “must haves” related to How do I select a training course that works.

  • The event is designed to be presented 1 to few (ideally less than twenty)
  • You can have an open dialogue with the presenter during the event
  • You can workshop on the day techniques relevant to your business, with feedback
  • You get to set KPI’s
  • You are held accountable for achieving these KPIs
  • You get a follow up connection with the presenter for feedback
  • You have an ability to contact the presenter for written follow up
  • The presenter is currently in the real world selling
  • They have skin in the game – a guarantee of some sort

For me if all these boxes are checked, whoever is the presenter understands the psychology or a salesman.

And while that’s no guarantee of success, it’s a hell of a good start.  (click here to view a similar article why sales training fails)