Walking your talk, drinking your Kool-Aid®, and making sure the cobblers kids have shoes

Since this blog is intended for owners, employees and contractors of sales training firms I will assume you work with one.  I will also assume that your firm has sales training workshops and consulting designed to help salespeople sell better.

If your product fits the management consulting / professional services market (where sales training firms fall), then there is really no excuse for you and your entire firm to not be using your own methodologies.

That said, I have been astounded, perplexed, and mind-boggled for years that so many sales training salespeople don’t completely use the “stuff” they are selling.

Now I am not saying that if you have a “Whiz Bang Opportunity Planner” (the Whiz Banger) form as part of your Whiz Bang v. 13 Opportunity Management class that your salespeople need to complete one for every sale – you should be just like your clients,and I assume that means salespeople complete the Whiz Banger form for only the most complex deals, but mentally use the Whiz Bang processes on all deals.

What I am saying is that if your sales rep is selling the Whiz Bang training to XYZ Corp., it might be nice if the sales rep is demonstrating his use of the Whiz Banging principles.

For example, if Whiz Bang teaches people to focus on understanding customers before doing a product dump and talking about discounting options, then that sales rep might have some credibility issues when doing the opposite while standing in front of XYZ’s Vice President of Sales.

I’ve seen this repeatedly over the years, and I’ve also seen sales management not reinforce or coach their Whiz Bang methodologies either.

Why Not!?

The nature of the sales training industries – often small firms using independent contractors as sales reps – is a factor, however it is primarily happening for the same reason that it happens in your clients.  Change is hard and firms are not managing their own internal implementation of their methodologies as they tell their clients to.

My advice is to either treat your own firm as your potential #1 reference client or to go back to the “normal” corporate world where mediocrity is often more acceptable.

On a more practical level that means setting expectations early – in your interviews, and even before in your job ads – that salespeople in your firm need to be walking “best practice” examples of what they are selling.  I have found that you can’t really be that person until you have the methods “in your gut,” so you should be looking for ways to help your salespeople drink your Kool-Aid®.  Assigning a “methodology mentor” would be a good start.  I think the term “Jedi Master” has been taken, but that’s the idea…

As with any set of changes your focus needs to be on convincing all of your employees that the consequences of not changing (ie BAU – business as usual) is worse than the consequence of changing (ie using your Whiz Bang methodology) … or using the carrot rather than the stick you can focus on the benefits of adopting the Whiz Bang way of life.