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Sales Training: Who's Really Training Your Team?

by Trish Bertuzzi on Thu, Aug 28, 2008

Sales Training and Line Dancing - What do these two things have in common? 

More than you might think.  I read a great post on Paul McCord's Sales and Sales Management Blog that made me chuckle. 

Here is an excerpt:

Watching line dancing being taught is the perfect analogy to sales being taught as the exact same process happens in both cases.

Many Country and Western bars have nights when an instructor tries valiantly to teach newbies how to line dance. The process-and the outcome-are always the same. The instructor lines the soon to be dancers up in nice neat lines and walks them through the steps of the dance to be learned. The instructor goes slowly waiting for each student to follow along at their own pace.

After a couple of ‘dry' runs through the steps without music, the instructor moves the class along, adding music and stepping up the moves into real time. That is where the whole process breaks down.

Each group always has a couple of good dancers who catch on quickly and within a walk-through or two have the dance down pat. Most are struggling to catch on, to make sense of and master the moves. The instructor will go through the dance several times, each time leading the group, showing them by example exactly how do the dance.

But what are most of the students doing during these practice runs? Are they paying careful attention to the instructor and mimicking the correct moves? Not at all. Most are watching the feet of the student next to them, trying to mimic their moves, not the instructor's. Not surprisingly, most are not learning the dance but are rather learning-and perfecting-the mistakes the person next to them are committing.

Sound familiar?  Is this what is happening in your inside sales organization?  I bet it is.  You know it is if the following is true:

  • You have not documented your sales process
  • Your new hire training is product based and sales process and skills are picked up by listening to their peers
  • You assume all is well because you don't spend time double-jacked in with your reps listening to what they say and do

You didn't hire great reps because they were great teachers.  It's time to "cowboy up" and teach your team to dance - so get to it!

Topics: inside sales management, best practices

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