"Salespeople are born, not made.  Some innate aptitude is needed and no amount of training can produce a good salesperson without the prerequisite aptitude."  Do you agree or disagree?


used to help sales employees receive job related:

  • culture
  • skills
  • knowledge
  • attitudes
in order to increase:
  • sales
  • productivity
  • profits

  • initial; for salespeople new to an organization

  • continuous: ongoing for new and experienced salespeople

  • manufacturer: salespeople are often trained by the original manufacturer of a product that they are selling as a wholesaler or distributor


How formal is sales training?

  • no formal training: out in the field with someone else

  • formal: in the classroom away from the field

  • combination: many sales organizations provide both
For how long might you receive training?
  • could be a few hours of initial on-site training
  • could be a few weeks of formal classroom training at the home office
  • could be continuous refresher training, such as local weekly meetings or annual national meetings
  • should include continuous refresher training initiated by you yourself - videos, books, seminars, etc.

  • product and company knowledge

  • customer and industry orientation

  • company orientation

  • sales techniques

  • time and territory management

  • administration procedures

  • inspiration & motivation


  • group methods
    • lecture
    • discussion and case method
    • role play
  • individual methods
    • on-the-job training (OJT)
    • computer and video based training
    • home study
    • self development
Often you will receive OJT in being assigned initially to shadow an experienced rep in her or his territory for a few weeks, or you might be shadowed for a few weeks by your sales manager in your own territory.  Note the difference between a sales manager with a "throw 'em in and let 'em swim" attitude and a sales manager who believes in an occasional "curbstone conference."

  • line executives

  • staff personnel

  • outside specialists

What are the advantages and disadvantages to each?

  • centralized

  • decentralized

  • combination

What are the advantages and disadvantages to each?

Experience is a tough - and expensive - way to learn.  Unfortunately, not all organizations do well in training new recruits.  Consider the case in which the training manager of an insurance franchise was given the job merely because he was the son-in-law of the franchise owner.

As a young recruit selling life insurance, the author opened a large case that would have paid a $7500 commission.  When he asked his training manager if he should take any special precautions with this case, the trainer merely laughed, believing that it was not possible for a new recruit to open such a large case.  The application was written and a large deposit given, but unbeknownst to the new recruit, such large applications require the applicant to take a physical exam.  Because of a mild heart attack several years earlier, the policy was issued with a "rating", meaning that a higher premium was charged.  Upon learning of being rated, the applicant felt offended and refused to accept the policy, ultimately purchasing a more expensive and restrictive policy from a competitor that did not require a physical.  Had the prospect (and the agent) known the procedure and likelihood of a rating up front, he likely would have accepted the policy. 

In another case, a physician wanted to purchase a disability policy.  The young agent asked the same sales manager for some training in selling this.  He was merely given a rate book (listing policy amounts and premiums) and told, "just take the app."  When the young agent and the prospect worked out how much monthly income would be needed, it was found that the rate book indicated that this high of an amount could not be sold.  Again, the prospect was offended.  After this incident, the young agent asked for advice from an older agent who laughed, "Certainly you can sell the physician such a policy!  The rules and the amounts changed two years ago: why are you using such an outdated rate book?"  That agent kindly helped close the bungled sale, but the price of this education was a split commission.

No matter how smart or diligent you are, if you are selling something that doesn't require any training, then you are probably selling something that doesn't require personal selling in the first place.