One size fits all.

It’s a myth designed to satisfy everyone’s need to feel normal, mainstream and accepted. What reality demonstrates, however, is that there really is no such thing.

Today’s business climate of the relentless pursuit of “success” has hand-fed the sales/leadership training industry, growing it to epic proportions. As the beneficiary of several of these programs myself, I can absolutely attest to the utility of training people on how to close, asking questions and skillfully leading a prospect down a path.

What I can also tell you is who does not prosper from participating in formal sales training: the purveyors of professional services.

Attorneys, accountants, engineers and consultants are expected to “sell” their brains for a living. Convincing a prospective client to pay you for your time requires a much more sophisticated, nuanced and tailored approach than what even the best sales trainers offer.

My observation is the product of both my own personal experience as a serial participant in sales training courses as well as the feedback I’ve gathered on a daily basis working with highly skilled professionals. The overwhelmingly common feedback I hear from my clients?

Even the most seemingly polished sales instruction teaches by rote presented in a fancy package.

To be clear, there is no substitute for quality sales training—for the appropriate audience. By this I mean those whose compensation is primarily incentive-based. If you are paid in a commission-style format with little to no base salary, sales training is a must.

Understanding how to organize oneself to be in a favorable position to “close” is an invaluable skill that is well-taught in most selling courses.

The key to success, however, is understanding the limitations that professionals have surrounding the fear of selling, and in my experience those in the advice-giving business are usually sales allergic.
If the idea of selling gives you hives or prevents you from leaving your desk (as is the case with many) no amount of sales technique lectures, role playing or flash cards will make the role of rainmaker more appealing.

So, what is a good solution for those suffering from sales allergies?

Awareness.

An individualized, tailored approach to help professionals to lay naked their true motivations and fears. Until these invisible roadblocks are revealed, addressed and eliminated, the only kind of growth that’ll happen is that of the long list of excuses for not creating fruitful relationships.

After all, if a professional wigs out at the idea of attending a networking event or isn’t intimate with the meaningful value that they bring to the table, no amount of action steps, defined metrics or “active listening” will keep the lipstick off of the pig.

If you/your team have been through a sales training regimen and continue to struggle with glacial growth, lagging momentum or general team malaise, it might be time to dig into what’s really behind your mismanaged efforts.

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