It's quite the irresistible allure, isn't it? The idea of molding a weak salesperson into a formidable sales force through motivational speeches, YouTube videos, and workshops by leading sales trainers. I, too, have been caught in this allure. I make it a weekly routine to absorb lessons from these trainers. However, there's a twist. I'm already a top sales performer, leading almost every sales team I've been a part of. For me, these training materials act as a spark, pushing me to make more calls, maintain an excellent mental attitude, and set higher goals.
But let's have a reality check.
While this method might work wonders for a seasoned salesperson like myself, it's mostly ineffective for the majority of salespeople.
A harsh truth, but truth nonetheless. Most sales training is an utter waste of time. Why, you ask? Simply because most sales hires are not cut out for the job. In many cases, they should not have been hired in the first place.
The common misconception is that sales training is the panacea for struggling salespeople. The idea is alluring, but the reality is grim. Any improvements these underperformers make are often short-lived, and they constantly need hand-holding to stay afloat.
Let's bring numbers into the mix for clarity. Suppose you, as a sales manager, spend an entire day working with a failing sales rep and manage to increase their productivity by 20%. For a salesperson who was bringing in $8,000, this equates to $9,600 post-improvement. Contrast this with a top performer already making $25,000; a 20% improvement for them translates to a staggering $30,000.
Now, observe the cost-benefit analysis. The time invested in your top performer consistently yields high returns. Their enhanced productivity, month after month, is a testament to the efficient utilization of your invested time.
However, the scenario with the underperforming salesperson is the polar opposite. They consume a considerable amount of your time and yet fail to return consistent improvements. It's a never-ending cycle of coaching, small improvements, backsliding, and more coaching.
Underperforming salespeople often require constant supervision and guidance. They need you to act as their parent in the professional arena. This dependency does not only drain your time but also saps your energy.
The idea that all salespeople, regardless of their initial competence, can be improved through training is a romantic one. However, the hard truth is that it's often more efficient to focus on improving your top performers than trying to salvage those who are struggling.
It's not a question of fairness; it's about maximizing productivity and efficiency. It's not meant to be harsh; it's just how the world of sales, like many other facets of life, operates. No amount of training can compensate for a lack of innate sales acumen. Sometimes, it's better to accept this harsh reality and focus on where the true potential lies.
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