The Main Reason Sales Training Works Brilliantly – or Simply Crashes & Burns

Marketing guru Perry Marshall tells a great story regarding the reasons why the Wright Brothers succeeded in getting off the ground, while so many others came crashing down to earth.

You see, the reason that Orville and Wilbur Wright were the first guys to build an air-worthy vehicle, was that they focused on making the most elegant, efficient and aerodynamic plane.

What they didn’t do was focus on creating the most powerful engine.

At that time, everyone was obsessed with powerful engines. But powerful engines, especially back then, were really, really heavy.

And of course “heavy” is not a quality you want when you’re trying to defy gravity.

So, Orville and Wilbur concentrated on designing a machine that would stay in the air…ride the wind…float. They knew that once they achieved that goal, they could strap a good engine to their bird and the thing would stay up. Meanwhile their engine-obsessed competitors were building powerful, heavy machines…and crashing back to earth.

What’s that got to do with sales training? Well quite a lot actually.

You see, the sales model and mind-set your team work with, needs to be an aerodynamic plane…if they thoroughly understand the motivations behind peoples buying decisions, have the ability to uncover opportunities and turn those opportunities into recognisable needs and then keep moving every genuine prospect forward during each call or meeting…then by all means, you should go ahead and take it to the next level by helping your sales team to improve their overall effectiveness with some advanced sales skills and techniques.

But to be extremely successful, both are crucial – a foundation that works and then something to make it more productive.

Skills and techniques that genuinely work and are useful within your industry as an engine, bolted onto a foundation in buying motives, effective questioning techniques, presentation skills and a real understanding of how and when to gain commitment and close.

A strong engine and a wind-worthy plane.

Unfortunately strapping those skills and techniques onto a team before they can fly can just end up being a waste of time.

So, when you next decide to invest in sales training for your team, ask yourself the following questions and work out whether or not you’re being sold an engine that doesn’t go anywhere, or a plane that’ll take you wherever it is you need to get to – and has an in-built longevity to withstand continuous improvement.

    • Put yourself in the customer’s chair – If these techniques were used on you, would you buy from the salesperson using them?
    • If you answered yes to the first question, following the purchase, would you feel – in any way – that you had been manipulated or bullied?
    • Does the training sound like a collection of techniques for selling AT someone or a toolbox that can be dipped into, to help your customers make great buying decisions?
    • Does the title involve the word advanced? If so, how much of the non-advanced training have your team already completed previously?
    • Also, which bit of the content allows this particular training to call itself advanced?
    • Is the training focused mainly on helping the salesperson sell or the prospect to recognise why they should buy?
    • And – has this training been built to achieve the specific requirements of your team and business – or is this the same training they do for everyone? 


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