Thursday, 24 September 2009

Give Me Your Watch.......

Well, the sales training is an object lesson in consultancy more than anything else. By consultancy I mean asking someone for their watch in order to tell them the time.

It transpires that the hour or more I spent on the phone last week with the consultant telling him about my market was repeated with the managers of other two smaller markets. They certainly did their groundwork to make the course relevant to our markets using our own input.

Yesterday we learned to seek out those with ultimate decision making power. Now if you haven’t grasped that within your first few weeks in sales, then you probably won’t last very much longer than another couple of weeks, let alone 30 years.

The other thing we learned was to make the sales pitch relevant to the target person’s business problems. Again, kindergarten stuff you learn pretty quickly from your sales peers or a half competent manager.

The rest of the time from 9am to 6:30pm was spent debating issues on which individual salespersons are sure to differ – and a sure way to waste time while giving the appearance of being productive, as what works for one salesperson will not necessarily work for another (and justifiably so). Every salesperson has his or her own approach, and will defend that approach to the death as being the best approach – it’s simply human nature.

I can guarantee we are being charged a minimum of £1k per person - and there are 11 of us on the 3 day course. Not only that, but 3 other divisions of the company have received the same course. An object lesson in how to capitalise on senior management’s fears that their salesmen aren’t good at their jobs when the failure to reach targets is actually down to the worst recession since the Wall Street Crash and irrational targets that seem to ignore this inconvenient fact. Also an object lesson in referral selling within a large organisation.

I just hope the next 2 days of the course teach us how to perform the impossible by persuading non-existent customers (because they’ve gone bust) to part with money they simply don’t have in the first place as they have suffered a 25% reduction on income. However, having said that, the consultants managed to persuade my company to part with money it doesn’t have, and they’ve done it by preying on fears and the setting of ridiculous expectations. That’s certainly worth learning.

Seems one of my old beards has made it to the National Beard Registry.


  1. ...or here's hoping they provide free drinks for the next two days so you couldn't really give a stuff about what goes on :)

  2. Congratulations on reaching the national beard registry. Now I have wanted a new beard ever since I was made to shave mine off as part of the wedding settlement 36 years ago. I would happily buy one of your old ones but, as a top salesman like you knows, you need to reach the person with ultimate decision making power. I'll let you have her e-mail address.

  3. Just a line to say I'm fascinated by your 'living' if bloodshot eyes!

  4. So how has your team reacted to the training? Have they killed an instructor?
    Have they run anything up a flagpole to see who salutes it?
    Have they created anything that has legs?
    Was there a blamestorming session?
    Did they float their boats to see which one took on water?
    Do I give the impression of still being shell shocked from years of consultancy based training?
    Shoot me now.

  5. Dave : I like that -- Blamestorming session. I realise I've spent what may amount to a good few months in blamestorming sessions, and that in a company that always declared it didn't have a blame culture...CB : great post!