I've mentioned before that my background is not in sales. But, I've spent a lot of time on the other side of the table from sales reps as the economic buyer. So, to help in my own education, I have been researching the history of sales training. You may be thinking how in the world that will help me? From my perspective, I'm not trying to learn to become a sales rep but, instead, I'm trying to learn about the craft of selling and the tools and methodologies that go into selling; what works in selling and what doesn't. In general, I'm a student trying to learn about the craft of selling.
To help me, I've done extensive research into the sales methods and sales training throughout the years. We went as far back as the early 1800s until the present day. Here are my general findings:
- Over 200 years of sales training has produced distinctly 20 or so sales approaches.
- Over 2 centuries, as it turns out, not much has changed in how products and services are sold.
- Yes, snake oil, was actually sold and it came with its own approach to selling.
- Believe it or not, the irritating phrase of "what keeps you up at night" was an actual phrase that came out of a style and method of selling called Pscyhology of Selling.
- The bad rap that sales reps sometimes get is actually rooted in its history.
I found this shocking. One would think that a lot has changed, but really not much. I'd say the most dramatic shift happened in the last 20 years, with the introduction of the Challenger Sale - that approach to selling is, by far, the most dramatic and influential change in 20 or so years (PS: we love the Challenger Sale Methodology, because it works). Check out our findings in a fun, educational, and interactive timeline of sales training.