All The Sales Training In The World Can't Fix Stupid

by Chris Young - The Rainmaker

A few years ago, the great philosopher (comedian) Ron White shared an interesting perspective about improving people.  He said:

"If your eyes go bad, you can have lasik surgery and they can give you 20/20 vision at any age.  If your hearing starts to fail, they can put a device in your ear that will make you able to hear as good as you could the day you were born.  But let me tell you something folks.  You can't fix stupid.  There's not a pill you can take.  There is not a class you can go to.  Stupid is forever."   

Mr. White was absolutely correct.  Stupid is forever.  
You cannot change people.  You cannot make someone something they are not.  Yet sales trainers insist on attempting the impossible.Hire_the_Best_Salespeople_before_using_Always_Be_Closing_Sales_Training_

It take a lot more than sales training to make a good salesperson.

According to ES Research, 85%-90% of sales training has no lasting impact after 120 days, yet some respected sales authors will argue that sales is entirely a learned skill.  So who do you trust: a team of researchers with statistics and data or an author who is attempting to sell books, speeches, and training?

In over 20 years of sales, I have found that there are those who can sell and those who cannot.  

Sales training adds value if the salesperson has the ability to sell already within them: otherwise, you can't fix stupid.  Training a salesperson who is not already built to be a salesperson is a huge waste of time and money.  

Like you, I have seen sales training fail to deliver the promised results.  The primary reason sales training fails is not because the sales training is bad, but because the salespeople are.

The common denominator that Sales Wolves possess is the correct "sales personality".  That is, the right make up of natural Behaviors, Motivators, Acumen, and Skills to consistently sell in the top 20th percentile.  When the right salesperson is trained, sales performance increases.  


Just don't do it.  

If you are serious about improving sales then do not invest in sales training untill you have improved your sales hiring and the overall quality of your salespeople.  Find out who has the right sales personality by having everyone on your sales team complete a multi-science sales personality test.  

Sales training will not stick to those who cannot sell.  

What's worse, it will have an adverse effect on the Sales Wolves you do have.  Those individuals "wired to sell" will see their peers failing to execute what they have learned and abandon the new tactics or will become frustrated with your organization and leave.  

Despite the best of intentions, sales training will not stick until you have the right salespeople on the bus.  Most if not all sales training is a waste of time, energy, and money. 


What gets measured gets improved.

What is the first thing a personal trainer does for a new Client looking to get in shape?  A good trainer will assess their Client, take measurements and develop a clear picture of what their starting point is before taking one step in the gym.  

True_Sales_Wolves_Hate_Salespeople_Who_Cannot_SellWe have developed a benchmarking process whereby we can generate a job fit score for each salesperson on your team.  When you know precisely where you are in terms of your sales talent, you can take steps to make incremental improvements.  

Until you know exactly where you are, you will only be guessing about how to strengthen your sales team.  And guessing is like throwing money in the air on a windy day and hoping some of it makes it through the front door of the bank.  



You know what scares the hell out of me?  The passing of time where I am unconscious.  Like you, I am busy.  Like you, time flies by.  Periodically I ask, "Has a year passed by already?"

The greatest contributor to mediocrity for me is the passing of time while not consciously being who I intend to be.  Periodically, I must stop and evaluate where I am and whether or not I am getting closer or further from my intended destination.  

This is your legacy and your brand.  What are you building?  Are you making bricks, laying bricks, or building a cathedral?  Get clear about who you are and what you want, for yourself and for the future of your business.  Until you get clear, you will keep doing what you have always been doing.  

A continuation of the status quo is mediocrity.  

That my friend, is unacceptable.  


If you find yourself saying, "I need to plan my next sales training event," ask yourself first, "Am I training the right people?  Should I be evaluating the quality and potential of my existing sales team before I waste time, money, and credibility?" 


Sales Personality Aptitude Test Sample Assessment  


Photo credit:  All photos are under license with Thinkstock by Getty Images