In this excerpt from a recent interview for an upcoming article on “Best Practices in Sales Training” Chuck Terry, President and CEO of Sandler Training in Lone Tree Colorado shared insights on leveraging sales training to drive increased sales.
Q: “Why should business owners believe that training their sales team can have a direct impact on increasing their sales performance?”
Chuck Terry: “Maybe they shouldn’t. Traditional training approaches are falling short of that objective on a regular basis because the old model of sending your sellers to 2 or 3 day sessions just isn’t producing lasting change. That method really depends heavily on the client’s already overtaxed managers to be the ones responsible for taking their sellers from awareness of the process to ownership of the process. Those managers have a business to run so the job of coaching, modeling, reinforcing, and continuing to train the sellers after the initial training ends up just not happening more often than not. Sales training absolutely SHOULD drive increased sales but it only works when the training delivers lasting behavioral change with the sales team and that just doesn’t happen in 2 or 3 days.”
Q: “Is there a formula for sales training that can produce the lasting behavioral change you refer to?”
Chuck Terry: “Yes there is but it requires commitment. The way we approach sales training at Sandler is a system we call Reinforcement Training. We put the sellers into a local Sandler Training Center and spend 8 to 10 weeks on learning the basic elements of the Sandler Selling System in 2 hour, bite sized sessions. Sellers learn a new piece of the process each week; practice it in the field, debrief the experience, and continue to build upon the previous session each succeeding week. Our Presidents Club sessions give them the chance to continue to attend weekly classes on an ongoing basis even after they have completed the first 8 to 10 weeks. It is important that the sales professional continue the progression from knowing the sales process to owning the sales process and by the end of the first year they pretty much own it.”
Q: “That makes sense. Why isn’t every training company using that model?”
Chuck Terry: “They will probably tell you that their way is better even though the average customer retention of most sales training firms is pretty short due to their high implementation failure rate. It isn’t that they don’t have good content or aren’t excellent companies it is just the traditional delivery system that is flawed. The truth of the matter is that Sandler is the pioneer of this system. We have the international footprint and the infrastructure to support this delivery system so it would be very difficult for most traditional training companies to copy our system. Not to mention incredibly costly.”
Founded in 1967, Sandler Training serves businesses of all sizes with short- and long-term developmental programs that offer continuous coaching, reinforcement and support for sales professionals.
Programs include on-site corporate training as well as general training that brings together business owners, managers and salespeople from a variety of industries at a central site. The curriculum combines instruction in gut-level selling and other fresh strategies for controlling a sale with strong emphasis on the psychology of selling.
The Lone Tree Training Center is located at 9233 Park Meadows Blvd. and can be reached at (303) 734-7161 or on the web at www.salesgrowthmd.sandler.com.