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Why companies make a big mistake in not training their sales force

I am always fascinated about companies who don’t invest in training.

“What if I train them and they leave?” a CEO may ask.

“What if you don’t and they stay?” is always my counter. “You have an untrained person representing your brand to arguably, your most valued asset—YOUR CUSTOMERS.”

Let’s face it, a company is only as good as the people who represent it. That is a fact. It’s people who build the website, develop the process and provide the customer service. Some companies only hire experienced sales people so they don’t have to invest in training. That’s a big mistake and here’s why:

Many times, after we conduct our first day of training, people will come up to us afterward and say things like:

“Today was great! You know, I used to do all of those things when I worked for XYZ Company. That is how they trained us. I guess, over time, I developed bad habits and started taking short cuts”

“Today was a real eye-opener for me. I cannot believe how far I have fallen I used to do all those things you taught us today. Somehow, somewhere along the way, I guess I just stopped…”

So, why train an experienced sales force that you spent good money to acquire?

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

The Woodcutter Story

Once upon a time, a very strong woodcutter asked for a job in a timber merchant and he got it. The pay was really good and so was the work conditions. For those reasons, the woodcutter was determined to do his best.

His boss gave him an axe and showed him the area where he supposed to work.

The first day, the woodcutter brought 18 trees.

“Congratulations," the boss said. “Go on that way!”

Very motivated by the words from his boss, the woodcutter tried harder the next day, but he could only bring 15 trees. The third day he tried even harder, but he could only bring 10 trees. Day after day he was bringing less and less trees.

“I must be losing my strength”, the woodcutter thought. He went to the boss and apologized, saying that he could not understand what was going on.

“When was the last time you sharpened your axe?” the boss asked.

“Sharpen? I had no time to sharpen my axe. I have been very busy trying to cut trees…”

And there you have it.

The world is changing at a frenetic pace. The ability to change, requires an ability to learn. Social Selling has replaced traditional cold-calling. Effective questioning has replaced FAB Selling (Features, Advantages and Benefits), and the list goes on.

When was the last time your sales team sharpened their axe?

At Butler Street, we help companies and their people grow. CONTACT US to learn more about how we can sharpen the axe of your sales force.

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