Train The Human First

Friday, August 16, 2019

Save to My Library

I’m in the Bay Area for a little birthday celebration. My daughter is taking me to a concert in Berkeley this weekend. Her favorite band (Lake Street Dive) is opening for my favorite group (The Avett Brothers) at the Greek Theater. Can’t wait!


Train The Human First

Let’s make this as simple as possible.

Throughout the B2B sales world we are producing a rapidly increasing quantity of “training-resistant” sellers.

It’s sort of like the drug-resistant super infections that have spread from the overuse of antibiotics.

In this case, it’s the over-application of ill-fitted trainings, processes and methodologies we force on sellers that’s creating this training-resistance.

It’s all around you. Despite the investment of billions of dollars in sales training every year, industry research reports continue to document falling rates of sales performance, declining close rates and low win rates.

The genesis of this problem is not the sales training per se.

It’s the sales leaders who wrongly assume that the sellers on their teams, whether rookies or individual contributors with some experience, are fundamentally prepared and ready to sell.

They’re not.

You have to separate the human from the seller.

Train the human first. Then train the seller.

I’ve written extensively about this. Sales is a human business. Automation notwithstanding, it is a business that is driven by relationships between humans.

Sellers need to attain proficiency in the essential human skills on which relationships are built before they can be trained how to become consistent sales achievers.

How to connect at a human level. Build rapport. Be curious. Ask great questions. Listen slowly. Foster trust. Show humility. Be grateful. Deliver value. And many more.

You wouldn’t invest your time to teach someone how to be a winning race car driver before they learned how to drive. Would you?

Yet, everyday, that is exactly what is happening in sales organizations all around the world. And creating a resistance to learning in the process.