I have hired a junior salesperson and want to train her. I don’t have much, if any, free time to do it myself so I’m considering external training. Do you think this is advisable?
In a start-up there is very little time and possibly even less budget for training, but there is always a need for sales.
Get business news first
Sign up to SmartCompany’s daily newsletter
I have to assume that as the owner of the start-up you are the key sales person. I would recommend that it should be the case, given that sales will probably be the greatest challenge for a new business.
You will need to make this person your apprentice and throw her into the job quickly. It would be extremely unwise to send a junior alone on a sales visit while you are in start-up mode. There is far too much at stake to leave a junior with potential customers.
In sales we learn to sink or survive, so your junior will show aptitude quite quickly or show that this is not the job for her.
So here are a few cost-effective ideas for her training:
- Take her with you as you meet customers and then pull back as quickly as you feel you can. Let her do the selling in your presence so that you can correct and redirect.
The correcting should be done after the meeting, as no one should ever be corrected in front of others, let alone a customer. Simply add facts in where they have been left out or ask for the sale if she is not getting there during the actual meeting.
- After the sales meeting, analyse what happened, what worked and what did not. Do this in a way which is constructively critical and builds her confidence rather than destroying it. She is a junior, after all.
- Be endlessly patient if you can see that she is trying hard and is keen to be successful. Selling is about people and they are complicated.
- Get her to read every book she can on sales, in her own time of course – for example, the One Minute Salesperson. Discuss with her what she learned from each book as she reads it.
- Get someone else to train her free of charge, eg. a direct selling company where she can work one evening a week, make some extra money and learn how to sell to her friends, which is the hardest selling of all. My experience in direct selling is that this is the most confronting and character-building form of selling that exists. It is a great way to learn quickly.
- Get her to attend personal growth as well as sales seminars and read books on personal development. Sales is about having the courage to not be afraid to ask for the sale.
- I have to recommend my own book here – High Heeled Success. I was terrified of the idea of selling but caught on very quickly when I realised how important it would be in my future business life. In the first chapter of my book I talk about how fearful I was of the idea of selling and expressing this fear very honestly seems to have given a lot of people courage!
- Selling is so much about attitude that you will start to see the positive signals for a successful sales person very quickly. Is she timely, utterly reliable, honest and keen?
- You cannot train people in these personality traits, but the actual skills of selling, you can train.