How “Bill” is training America’s sales force.

How “Bill” is training America’s sales force.

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at



How Bill” is training America’s sales force.


“Work with Bill for the next two weeks. He’s one of our best people, he’ll show you the ropes.”

Your newest recruit working in the field with an experienced sales rep.

Believe it or not, that’s how America trains more than 75% of it’s salespeople and there could be no WORSE training program. Your business may be leaving the real training function (as opposed to the week or two of initial training that is, at best, less than realworld) to salespeople who not only are not qualified, but most likely don’t have the best interest of the company at heart. Good move.

Let’s look at Bill for a few seconds part of Bill may be a great salesperson but what about the rest of the person. Suppose Bill is a spouse abuser suppose Bill hits the bottle a bit too much suppose Bill hates the sales manager suppose Bill is secretly preparing to leave the company and go to work for the competition suppose Bill has no respect for the CEO suppose Bill has his own set of “sales rules” that do not resemble the companies rules rutrow.

Bill will start out the “training” by saying, “Don’t listen to what those idiots say I’ve been here five years let me tell you how things really work around here.” Top salespeople don’t follow rules, they make sales. They have learned to get around the rules. Great let’s take the head of the new person and poison it before it has a chance to learn and decide on its own.

AND is Bill really going to show someone how to make someone as good as he is in this day of corporate downsizing, resizing, rightsizing reengineering and general allaround butt covering?

Three weeks later the new recruit “is a little hard to handle,” or “does his own thing,” or quits and everyone wonders why. Duh.

You’re entrusting the success of your newhire to Bill, a person not responsible for (and not caring about) anyone’s success but his own.

Most companies perform this version of “salestrainingroulette” for five basic reasons…

1. No good formal “in the field” training exists.

2. The sales manager is too lazy to do it himself.

3. The sales manager has a fear of not performing well in front of sales staff. 4. There is no sales manager and the entrepreneur “has no time.”

and my favorite…

5. That’s the way we’ve always done it.

Think about this. You just spent major time and money to find a salesperson. Good ones are hard to come by. Don’t you want that person to be as successful as he or she can be? If you want to have the new person work in the field let the sales manager or CEO take them on calls. Let them see the top brass in action.

What’s the remedy? Well, no matter what I say, it will involve a shift in your corporate culture. And no matter what I say, some sales managers will claim they’re doing some of what I am suggesting. For the salesperson to succeed beyond his or her needs (the only ones that matter to them) you must do some of everything I’m outlining below.


And a special note to Bill you could stand to do some training yourself not to mention dropping a few lbs.


Most companies provide initial minimal training of the essential product knowledge and basic sales skills. Big deal. Then the real world kicks in and customers have problems and objections not covered in the training now what? Well the answer has been, “Work with Bill for the next two weeks” and the answer was (and is) wrong.

Here is an outline of the major categories needed to be addressed for your sales force to achieve your sales objectives. CAUTION: This is only an overview. For the detailed training program see the free faxback below.


Selling skills Asking questions and establishing relationships the basic science of selling.

Personal development skills Positive attitude, goal achievement, listening education to make the person better.

Presentation and communication skills How to speak and how to write.

Personal promotional skills How to market yourself so that others will call you first.

Customer service skills How to be memorable enough to create wordofmouth advertising and unsolicited referrals.

Customer uses of product and services skills How the customer uses what we sell.

Customer perspective skills How the customer views things and how the customer wants to be treated.

Whew! That’s a commitment on both parts. The company to offer the skills and the salesperson to learn them. There is a shift in the training practices of corporate America. CEO’s are finally realizing that there is a direct correlation between training (education) and profit.

If they could just remove “Bill” from the equation, it would lead to a higher form if success “Billing.”


FREE GitBit… Want a detailed training agenda that covers each facet of the training blueprint above? Take the “yep” or “nope” challenge selfevaluation. Just go to click FREE STUFF then GitBit register and enter the secret words, “TRAIN BILL”.

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlottebased Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at 704/3331112 or email to


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