When it comes to improving sales performance, sales training is a crucial tool to grow your team’s sales skills and sales techniques. When you are evaluating what type of sales training you need, you need to know that sales training programs can vary greatly.
Studies show that sales training results in significant ROI. Business consulting firm Accenture reports that for every dollar a company invests in training, it gets a return of more than $4.50. If that’s the case, then why do more than a quarter of salespeople say the training they receive is ineffective? Perhaps it is because they’ve picked the wrong trainer.
An investment in sales training is an important decision. You’re taking your sales team off the streets and asking them to change behaviours or sales techniques. You need to pick the right sales trainer and make an informed choice by considering a variety of factors.
First, it helps to remember what makes a good salesperson.
What Makes A Good Salesperson?
Salespeople work in many different ways, but they have common traits that drive success.
- They are empathetic. This allows them to identify with customers, understand their concerns objectively, and demonstrate their sincere interest in solving customer problems.
- They are disciplined. They can juggle multiple things, but they are highly self-motivated to stay focused on the important things that will lead to success.
- They have a strong sense of personal responsibility. They know how to overcome obstacles.
- They are persistent. They don’t give up easily and will have the inner drive to make another call even though the last one got ignored.
- They believe in themselves and the product they are selling.
- They are optimistic and upbeat.
- They are lifelong learners.
The 12 Characteristics of a Good Sales Trainer
Every trait that makes a good salesperson also applies to good sales trainers. While each sales trainer will have their own individual style, the best share these 12 characteristics.
A sales professional is always looking for ways to improve their selling skills. Top performers want that edge or new insight that can help them succeed. However, sales training won’t be successful if they don’t have faith in the trainer.
You need someone with real-world experience doing the job. They should be able to understand the challenges your team faces and use their sales experience to guide them. Salespeople will be more receptive to someone that’s faced the same challenges and overcome them.
2. A Great Communicator
To be effective, your sales trainer must be a master communicator. They need to hold participants’ attention and engage them throughout the program. They’re covering a fair amount of information in a relatively short time.
They should also be authentic and genuine. A sales professional can spot when someone’s faking it or telling tales.
The personality of the trainer plays an important role in the learning environment. They way they interact with sales teams will impact the kind of behaviour that emerges from the training.
3. Quick to Establish Trust
Trust starts with credibility but goes beyond. You might deem someone as credible based on their resume or experiences and still not trust they can help you improve your sales performance.
Trainers must have the ability to connect quickly with people and foster trust.
In sales training, you are typically asking people to do things they haven’t done before. Trainers need to provide a “safe” environment for people to stretch their thinking.
4. A Proven Leader
Not only should they experience as a seller, but they should also have sales experience as a manager or leader. This demonstrates they have done the job, but also been able to train others to succeed.
Effective sales training will adapt to the audience’s needs. Different people learn in different ways. Sales trainers need to be able to craft their presentations and work with teams in the way that best communicates the message.
They also must be able to adapt to change. No matter how well-planned sales training is, something always seems to come up. It may be a client emergency, a reluctant participant, or any number of unpredictable events that trainers may have to incorporate into their agenda.
6. Highly Prepared
Some sales trainers have a canned presentation that they provide to everyone. The top sales professionals know that you need to customise your presentation to the audience you are addressing. This means you want a sales trainer that does their research ahead of time to focus on your specific needs and goals. They will then craft their training based on your industry and your unique business challenges.
This also means the ability to control the environment to provide a rich learning experience. They should have a well-planned agenda and the sense when it’s time to move to the next item or spend more time on the current one.
7. Good Listeners
One of the most effective sales techniques you can employ is listening. When you understand the customer’s needs and understand their challenges, you can present better solutions. It’s the same in training. Sales trainers should be good listeners. They need to be able to discern when a message isn’t getting through and redirect conversations
8. Good Facilitators
When people are engaged, they learn. Along with listening skills, the need to be adept at facilitating discussions. They should ask probing questions to encourage interactions. They should be able to moderate discussions and draw significant conclusions while keeping things on topic.
Great facilitation will draw out best practices and solutions from the group.
9. Practiced at Humility
While you must be able to present in front of a crowd, the best sales trainers don’t let their ego get in the way. They don’t need to be the star of the show to be successful. They should take their training seriously, but not take themselves seriously.
The best trainers exude passion. They have a love of their craft and they are passionate about helping others succeed. This means they’ll put in the extra work to be subject matter experts and share their enthusiasm with others.
Trainers have high energy and are energized by working with teams. Their passion is contagious.
11. They Can Connect The Dots
Ultimately, the best trainers are the ones that can apply the lessons and philosophy to real-world situations. They need to be able to demonstrate how the knowledge they are sharing would impact specific situations sales teams face.
12. Vested In Team Success
Sales trainers are charged with teaching new sales skills and sales techniques to sales teams. Their real success, however, will be judged by whether the team puts those skills into action and improves sales performance. Sales trainers need to be vested in the success of the team performance and do whatever it takes to drive action.
The proof is the numbers. The best sales trainer in the world won’t be invited back if the team’s sales performance doesn’t improve.