By now, you probably have Googled and found out there are a plethora of options, everything from the large sales training company down to the lone practitioner.
I would suggest you hire someone who can demonstrate that they have been there, done that. They don’t necessarily have to have experience in your industry, but they should be able to demonstrate that they have the right sales pedigree. Look into: their personal sales history; where they worked; who mentored them; if they have management experience; and how long they were in sales before they got into training. Ask about their teaching credentials.
You’ll also want to know what companies make up their current client list; this will tell you a lot about your candidate. And find out if their selling philosophy matches what you want your sales force to emulate. They also should be able to demonstrate that they stay current with what’s happening on the sales-education front. This will be evident in the courses they have taken recently, current books or articles they have read and the last time they updated their course materials.
Remember, the best players don’t always make the best coaches. Whomever you select should have great presentation skills and the ability to command respect, from the most junior to the most experienced person on your team. The best way to evaluate this is to attend one of their sessions. If that’s not possible, ask to see a video. You also could ask for a reference or two, but be wary of suspect references.
Whomever you hire should be able to grow with you. They should be able to provide you with a range of sales-training products, from basic selling skills to things such as negotiating and communication skills, strategic account management and professional sales management. If you truly are committed to improving your team’s performance through sales training, you will need access to these products as your business needs evolve.
Pick a trainer who can help you over the long haul. It’s usually cheaper than jumping from one to another, and familiarity with your business and people will cut down on orientation time. A good trainer also can help evaluate your reports, and your people will presumably already trust and value their input. So, everybody wins.
I also would recommend you hire someone who not only delivers the course but offers a one-to-one coaching service for your reps to help reinforce the learning. This can be done by phone or videoconferencing as well as in person, but it is a key component if you want to get the most out of your training investment.
Lastly, I would like to draw a distinction between training and pseudo-training. Pseudo-training is a brief one- to three-hour session in which you bring in a dynamic speaker who focuses on a particular topic. Typically, these sessions are a one-way information dump. There is no discussion, no reinforcement exercises or follow up. Pseudo-training is more like entertainment—everyone leaves feeling good, but nothing changes.
About the Author:
Harvey Copeman CSP, is president and CEO of the Canadian Professional Sales Association (CPSA). For over 35 years he has held senior sales and marketing positions in Canada and the USA for major international brands such as Michelin Tires, Holiday Inn and Hilton Hotels. Based out of Miami, Harvey was responsible for Hilton International’s marketing for North, Central and South America and the Caribbean in the late 90’s. Upon returning to Canada in 2001, he fulfilled a personal goal of applying his sales & marketing talents at a charitable organization, when he was appointed VP Marketing and Fund Development for Kids Help Phone, a widely respected Canadian children's charity. Of that experience Harvey states, “He has never worked harder, with brighter, more committed people, for less money in his life and felt more fulfilled”. That not for profit stint, coupled with his service industry and international business experience is what attracted CPSA to him. He was hired by CPSA in mid 2003, as part of a succession planning process and assumed the president and CEO duties in 2005. Harvey has won Canadian and International marketing awards and he has appeared on CTV National News, watch.ctv.ca and been quoted in various off line and on line publications like the Globe and Mail, National Post, Canadian Business and Profit Magazines, informationexec.ca, ITBUSINESS.ca and CrackBerry.com. He is currently a regular columnist for Profit Magazine.
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View more sales articles from CPSA’s Knowledge Centre.
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