A Better Way to Train a Sales Team

Training and development research suggests that 90% of all dollars invested in furthering the knowledge of employees generates a negative return on investment. There are many reasons for this dismal statistic and one of them is due to where the current focus is specific to what is being addressed.

A better way to understand how to train more effectively is by looking at some health care statistics. Health research suggests that 70% of all spiraling health care costs are behavior driven. In other words, the majority of people (51%) choose to be unhealthy. The recent obesity epidemic in the US is a reflection of poor choices leading to poor behaviors.

Alan Deutschman in his research book, Change or Die, revealed that only one in 10 people will change even when confronted with facts, fear or force. One of his research studies involved heart patients where 9 out of 10 returned to their unhealthy behaviors within 3 years after their heart surgery. Pretty scary isn’t it?

To change behaviors, you really need to begin with changing beliefs. “What do I believe about this learning event?” What do I believe about myself? By peeling away the onion so to speak, you are better able to determine how the person makes decisions, why they value what they do (motivation) and what are their actual behaviors. Sales Coaching Tip: There are proven sales assessment tools to help you understand how your sales team makes decisions to exactly what they value (think motivation).

For example, if your employees believe the sales training is a complete and utter waste of time, then how can you expect to generate a positive return on investment. In working with one client, I had the sales manager telling everyone that he was glad he was not involved and it was a waste of time. The CEO of this organization had some additional issues beyond sales training. This reluctant manager’s behavior was eventually addressed, but by then it was too late because 50% of the course was completed.

Now identifying beliefs may take some time on the front end, however the results are well worth it on the back end. If you wish to generate a positive return on your training dollars, then invest some time to identify those beliefs (attitudes) driving the behaviors creating the results.