Sales training seminars.

Like it or not, they’re a necessary evil.

OK...maybe not “evil”...but they are an integral part of the business. If you want to have a successful sales career, training and development has to be part of your routine.

In fact, it’s pretty clear that most sales pros could use more formal sales training.

Just ask Dennis Connelly. He's the VP of business development at Kurlan & Associates, a sales training consulting firm. And he evaluated 700,000 salespeople over the past 24 years.

What did he learn? Well, he claims that 3 out of 4 sales reps are ineffective.

When asked about the results of the evaluation by Dan Lyons at HubSpot, Connelly said, “How many professions are there where there’s almost no formal education at all? Marketing people get marketing degrees. Engineers study engineering. CFOs study accounting.” But with sales, “people think you can just wing it,” Connelly says.

Unfortunately, winging it isn’t getting the job done.

The good news is, sales professionals who make the most out of their training opportunities will be head and shoulders above the competition. And you could be one of those salespeople.

However, the problem is...

74% of Sales Reps Are Failing At Their Jobs 

I know it may sound unbelievable.

But Objective Management Group evaluated more than 650,000 salespeople across various industries. Guess what they discovered?

"What they've found is that 6% of salespeople are “elites” who are great at selling. Another 20% are doing well but could do better. Then there are 74% who are failing. Most of the people in the 74% bracket can improve if they get training. But the bottom 25% are hopeless, because in addition to being ineffective, they aren't trainable." ~Dan Lyons

Let me know if my math is off...but it seems like 69% of the salespeople they evaluated can improve with training. The ones who are willing to get help that is. So if you aren’t making your numbers, there is hope.

But you have to get serious about using sales development and training to improve your sales skills if you want to boost performance. Don't be one of those untrainable sales reps. Take advantage of every opportunity to learn things that will advance your career. That means training on products, time management seminars, sales training classes, whatever. 

But wait.

Why are so many sales reps struggling? 

I don’t have all the answers.

But it does seem like sales training has a bit of a negative reputation. Some people look at attending training as a burden. But that attitude is counterproductive. All top performers work hard at learning the skills and behaviors that lead to sales success. 

As a sales professional, you need to do the same. 

Most folks who enter sales have no formal training. Never taken a sales training course. Not one sales course in college. In other words, they don’t know how to sell. It doesn't make much sense to start out without the knowledge you need...and then stay that way.

But that's exactly what countless sales reps are doing. When you blow off sales training as a chore or something the company is making you do, you're doing yourself a disservice. If you want to be successful, you need to be committed to personal improvement. And that means when you're attending a sales training seminar, you should get prepared. After all, you prepare for sales meetings, so why not sales training seminars? 

Which brings me to...

How to Get the Most Out of Your Next Sales Training Seminar

Going to a sales training event?

That's great. But in order to get the most out of your training, you’ve got to take ownership of the learning process.

"Don't let the training just happen to you. Training requires action on your part; it is not something that happens to people." ~AcheiveGlobal whitepaper, How to Get the Most (For Yourself) From Training

Not sure how to take action? Let’s explore five ways to do that.

  1. Chalk it up: Don't resist participating. Even if the training is mandatory, you may be pleasantly surprised. The most important thing you can do is recognize that you're responsible for your own learning. Get in a receptive frame of mind and prepare to learn. It may help to ground your training experience in the "real world." Think about how this training will benefit you and the company. Think about the ways you can take the learning back to your daily work.  
  2. Talk it up: Research shows that getting your frontline sales managers actively involved in your training has multiple benefits. According to Sales Readiness Group, "Sales managers’ support of the training goal and objectives - from design through execution - is crucial as they are uniquely positioned to ensure that new knowledge and skills are applied on the job." So, share the training objectives of the sales training seminar with your manager. Let them know you want to work together to implement what you learn when you return from the seminar.  
  3. Show up: To get the maximum benefit from training, you should be highly motivated before you walk through the doors. You also want to devote your full attention to learning. So let your customers and coworkers know you'll be away and when you'll return. Provide contact options or say how you will stay up-to-date while away, especially if you will be away for more than one day. Obtain the session outline or agenda before the event so you can identify a learning plan for yourself. Take pencils, pens, paper for notes and maybe even a folder to keep handouts. Are you prepared if there is a question-and-answer session? Compose a list of potential questions. 
  4. Open up: Be prepared to meet new people and try new things. Even if you're not a particularly outgoing person, make an effort to talk with the other participants. If there are opportunities to actively participate in the learning experience such as answering a question, sharing your personal experience, or even role-playing, take advantage of it. If there is something you don't understand, ask questions. 
  5. Follow up: It's well-documented that unless training is followed by learning reinforcement, much of what you learn is quickly forgotten. After the training event, review your notes. Look for opportunities to apply your new knowledge and skills on the job. And get your manager involved. Share what you learned and work with your manager to use that knowledge within your company's sales process. 

You might be happy with your current sales results, but don’t rest on your laurels. You didn’t get this far in your career by taking the easy path — and you’re not going to up your earnings or improve your sales performance without hard work.

And here’s something to encourage you: You have a chance to improve your selling skills through education, training, and learning from experts and your peers. 

In other words, you have a lot of resources at your disposal if you want to improve your sales skills. But you’ve got to take advantage of training opportunities, work hard, and keep learning. 

You ready for the challenge? Let us know on Twitter by tweeting to @HireVueSales.

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