Without the right experience and methods, many sales trainers these days are more flash than substance. Before dropping obscene amounts of money (and wasting your sales reps’) time, pay attention to what’s behind a sales guru’s marketing tactics to make sure he or she isn’t just the latest flavor of the month. Republished with permission from Dave Stein.

Pretty scary, huh?  It sure is, especially if you’re a sales manager looking for answers.

Every day there is more bad advice posted on the Internet about what’s required for sales success, and it’s getting worse.  I’m on dozens of sales trainers’ mailing lists. Among those emails, Google Alerts, my Twitter feed (“sales training” is one stream I track), reading plenty of blogs, and getting numbers of new books on sales sent to me on a regular basis, I get to see a lot of what’s really, really dangerous about this industry.

These are among the many risks associated with investing time and money with someone who just hangs up a shingle (puts up a website) and calls themselves a sales trainer, guru, coach, consultant, or expert:

  • They don’t really understand your customers, your business, your people, your market, and your real selling challenges nor are they capable or willing to learn.
  • They pre-prescribe what’s wrong with your team or approach based only on their area of knowledge or comfort rather than what you really need.
  • Their training content consists of what they personally did when (and if) they sold, rather than a content based on a foundation of research, analysis, development, and experience.
  • They have no credibility in front of your sales team, resulting in a loss of credibility for you as well.
  • They have no measurement approach and are unwilling to be held accountable for results.
  • They have no understanding of the behavioral and business change required for sustainable sales performance improvement and certainly don’t have the ability to support that change.
  • They steer you toward tactical, event-based classroom training since that’s where they can make the most money.
  • They have no technology platform for the delivery and measurement of ongoing learning, reinforcement, and integration with your company’s CRM system.
  • They’re not concerned about talent management, especially recruitment and selection. Some are happy when salespeople leave your organization—they get to train the replacements next year.
  • They’ve worked in only one or perhaps two industries, leaving them with little perspective on yours, even though they’ll tell you, “selling is selling.”
  • They have little interest in methods and process, but a host of tricks, tips, shortcuts, and silver bullets.
  • They are more focused on increasing activity rather than productivity among your salespeople.
  • They don’t employ adult learning strategies and approaches in their programs.
  • Motivation and entertainment play a significantly bigger role than it should in their training classes.

Check out Dave Stein’s Blog to read the rest of this article.

Referred to by Geoffrey James, author of the Sales Machine blog on CBS Interactive’s BNET as “the world’s top expert on sales training,” Dave Stein, CEO of ES Research Group, Inc., has provided guidance, expertise and coaching to companies such as Bayer, HP, Microsoft and Oracle.

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