Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Resolution To Keep This Year

Teach your sales staff (and your customer service staff) to sell. There is no degree, license, or certificate program out there to verify that your sales force knows what they're doing, and can consistently deliver customers. Yet, the existence your company depends on it.

Onboarding an employee is expensive. It costs tens of thousands of dollars per employee. New sales pros are hired, trained on the product and the computer system, and then sent into the field for months of trial and error. On average it takes a sales pro 6 months before they are consistently profitable. That's 6 months IF THEY WORK OUT! If they don't, the company starts the process all over again.

Why don't most companies train their sales people to sell? Sales training is an "additional" expense because it adds to the initial cost of onboarding, and because of that companies shy away from the perceived cost. However,over a dozen recent studies show that the opposite is true. It actually makes you money.

Companies who specifically train new and existing sales pros in sales techniques lose fewer than half as many sales people, because their sales staffs perform significantly better. (I guarantee my clients a 10% or greater improvement in closings within the first month. Think of that adding up over a year!) New hires who fail the training are let go, and quickly replaced with someone more likely to close business, saving months they would have spent failing in the field.

Sales managers are also usually untrained. For a team to work effectively together, it helps to have common goals and related sales tools. A team trained together speaks a common language. It allows teams to fill each other's deficits, and reinforce each other's strengths.

What does it cost to train a person to sell? It depends on the trainer. Companies who choose to train their sales staff often hire a consultant, at a cost of $2000 to $8000 per week, once or twice a year. The number of employees trained by one consultant in a week can vary by the size of the available teaching space and training style, so those $2000 dollars can train 2 employees, or 200. A week or two is usually enough. One or two day seminars are great refreshers once or twice a year. A very expensive option, sending staff off site to seminars for days or weekends, is popular, usually at a cost of $500 to $1500 per employee, plus travel, hotel and meals. These tend to be name-brand seminars from book authors and TV personalities. Some companies employ a sales trainer, and keep them on staff at all times. In 2014, the average sales trainer who was a corporate employee was paid $65,000 plus benefits. All of these options are cheaper than hiring and replacing just one failed sales pro.

Sales training works. It's cheaper than an under-performing employee, or worse, a failing sales department. If your employer doesn't train in how to sell, ask the best sales pros you know for ideas. Read whatever they recommend, and do your best to learn a new skill each week.

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