When it comes to honing your silky skills as a new business person you have some choices. Let's say you want to get even better on the phone, get more control of conversations and get what you need from the person you're talking to on a more regular basis.
Well the obvious answer is to have a thumb through your Rolodex and get hold of a trainer. Makes sense - companies do it all the time - but does it really work.
I went through loads of training programs when I was in my formative years in sales. To me sales had always come instinctively.
'Ooh, he's a chip off the old block' they'd say or
'He sure does have the gift of the gab'
My Dad was and is a great salesman and in fact his father before him also was and the thing they had in common, that I inherited (the chip off the block if you will) was the ability to simply get on with people.
I got promoted quite young when I was working in publishing because...and I quote - (From the owner of the business)
'I could put you in front of a Lord or a barrow boy and you'd know how to handle yourself'
So then, how can we learn these skills through training?
Well despite my deliberately controversial title I do think training works but not in the traditional sense. There are too many trainers out there who have learned how to train people. And that in essence is the problem. They have been trained to train.
I don't doubt that with leadership, organisational skills and other areas you can be trained in but when it comes to sales I really think being trained by a practitioner is the key.
Sales and selling changes. You only have to look at the ups and downs of the economy over the last five years to know that and that affects people's mood. It affects the way they make decisions and it affects the way that they buy.
So...if you're being trained by someone who is not in sales then it is very unlikely they will have the on-the-ground experience to keep it relevant and engaging.
So, before you start throwing rotten tomatoes at the screen and curse me for promoting my own real-life sales training just hear me out.
If you run a sales team and you're close to the coalface think about how you can train your team. You know what their challenges are and you know what stops every call working perfectly so before you go running off to book a trainer stop, look and see what you can do for yourself and your team.
The summary and point here is that I believe sales training should come from real life and not from a textbook. The world has changed. It is more in touch with its feminine side and it is more than ever about relationships so how can it not make sense that training should come from the heart as well as the head.