The BIG Problem with (most) Sales Training

12th April 2019

The purpose of this article is to highlight why sales training so rarely delivers either the desired uplift in (longer-term) sales performance or the anticipated return on investment.

Before continuing, I’d like to be clear this article is not in any way written to have a go at or diminish the importance of sales training or sales trainers.

On the contrary, I wholeheartedly believe that improving one’s ability to do whatever it is that will lead to significantly improving results is frequently best achieved with the support, perspective, accountability, knowledge (and tough love) of a 3rd party such as a coach, consultant or trainer. (Just not always).

So in getting straight to the point:

The problem with sales training is that it typically focuses on treating the SYMPTOMS of sales performance and not the root or PRIMARY cause of performance and results.”

Now there may well be a need for treating symptoms however unless we (also) understand and address the cause of the symptoms, we’re never going to achieve or sustain the results we really want.

Equally, when we address the root or primary cause of something, the (unwanted) symptoms will almost always look after themselves!

The Predictability of Sales Performance…

Whether you’re a business owner, a Sales Director or a sales person / consultant, if you’re also part of a (sales) team, it’s likely that you’ll be able to predict how (you and) the other individuals in your team will perform over the course of the next month, quarter or year.

There may of course be some short-term peaks and troughs however over the course of a reasonable period, the ‘sales leaderboard’ as well as an individual’s results will usually be predictable.

The top performers will consistently be the top performers and those who perform less well will be consistent in performing relatively less well.


If all of the sales people in a business receive (more or less) equal access to the same customer-base and sales opportunities, sell the same products and receive the same training, why is it that some sales people consistently perform so much better than others?

To answer this we need to look beyond the most common and obvious answers because they’re not the real answers.

“He or she is just a brilliant salesperson!”

“She’s great with people, he’s highly motivated, they love selling, they’re competitive.”

“They’re customer-centric, she’s a great listener, he asks for the business, she’s persistent, more experienced, knows the product inside and out, etc., etc.”

Each of these answers may of course have some merit and contain some truth however the fact is they are all outcomes or symptoms of performance and are not the real reason for or primary cause of results.

And this is part of the problem. Businesses globally spend Billions of Dollars treating symptoms!

Sales training typically focuses on addressing the SYMPTOMS of sales…

Centred around up-skilling and developing the salesperson, sales training typically concentrates on such things as establishing needs and wants, rapport building, conversation frameworks, communication styles, managing expectations, developing questioning skills, objection handling, closing, etc, etc,

…which is a bit like using a cloth to dry a wet floor without realising that the wet floor is the symptom of a hole in the roof!

The floor may stay dry for a while but until such time as you fix the roof, it won’t stay dry for very long! (At least probably not here in the U.K.)

Now, to be fair, some sales training does come much closer to addressing the root or primary cause of results. And in doing so the training is focused on changing the habitual behaviours of a salesperson.

This certainly appears logical, not least because it’s invariably the habitual behaviour (or non-behaviour) of an individual which is determining their results.

A common frustration in some of the businesses I’ve worked with is that salespeople will all too frequently shy away from making outbound sales calls or from prospecting or following up with prospects.

They know what to do to get a better result and they know how to do it; the problem is they’re just not doing what they know!

Time and agin they’ll come up with ‘reasons’ for why they’ve been too busy or why it wasn’t possible or why the timing isn’t right or why it would have been inappropriate etc., etc.

Or they’ll blame the customer, the product, the market or the economy.

But these aren’t reasons, they’re just excuses.

(Although the salesperson may believe they are perfectly valid reasons).

And so businesses invest in strategies and tactics to change behaviours….

Carrots and sticks, consequences both positive and negative, KPI’s, rules, policy and procedures, mindset training, etc., etc.

And sometimes these initiatives produce positive gains however in seeking to change behaviours the focus is still on secondary causes and not the primary one and so gains are typically marginal or temporary and typically only extend to single figure growth.

Or a business may attempt to do what so many businesses have attempted throughout history…..

They seek to replicate (and leverage the capabilities of) their best performers.

“If only we could bottle some of what he or she has got and give it to everyone!”

Great in theory however because the best performers are unconsciously competent, they’re invariably unable to deconstruct and articulate what they’re doing and are unable to transfer the competence.

And even if they were, they would again be articulating secondary causes!

And so the brutal reality is this….

Without an understanding of the root or primary cause of results and more importantly, of how to effectively change it to align with the goals and desired objectives, an organisation could continue for evermore to invest heavily in ‘sales training’ only to find that an individual’s performance doesn’t improve very much; if at all.

So, what really is the root or primary cause of performance and results?

In a word, it’s the salesperson’s or the team’s ‘paradigm’ in relation to selling and in relation to how they see themselves – their self-image.

What is a ‘paradigm’?

Simply put, a paradigm is a subconscious mental programme which dictates our habitual behaviour.

And the reason it matters quite as much as it does is that it’s our habitual behaviour that determines our results and almost all of our behaviour is habitual.

So, until we change the paradigm, our results are never going to change very much or for very long.

The truth is that…

People don’t sell, perform or earn at the level they want or aspire to. They sell, perform and earn because that’s how they’re programmed!

Paradigms are the reason so many intellectually brilliant, knowledgeable people frequently never get the results they’re capable of and deserve.

Paradigms are the reason people with less knowledge, capability and skill outperform those with superior knowledge, capability and skills.

Fortunately Paradigms can be changed to align with the conscious desires and aspirations.

And the results are both transformational and permanent.

It’s not uncommon for an individual or a business to add a zero to their monthly earnings or to turn their annual income into their new monthly income!

Our logic might tell us this is impossible however this is the trap!

Our paradigm controls our logic, our perception and our reasoning not to mention our productivity, use of time and our ability to earn money!

There’s a proven process for changing paradigms.

It’s based on more than 57 years of intensive research into the science of success and it works every time and for everyone.

Worst performers in any business can be turned into best performers with absolute certainty and best performers can be transformed too.

But unless and until the paradigm is changed, conventional sales training is most likely going to be akin to re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic. It’s not going to achieve very much in terms of changing the end result.

An Invitation….

If you’d like to multiply your results by learning how to change your paradigm as it relates to your sales, income and earnings


If you’d like to change the paradigm of your entire sales team or business so you can achieve a truly Quantum Leap in results; I invite you to join me on Tuesday 16th April for a FREE live online webinar where I’ll show you precisely what you need to know to achieve this.

And you needn’t take my word for it.

I’ll be sharing information with a lineage going back more than 150 years.

I just happen to be fortunate enough to have learned about this from my personal mentor, Bob Proctor and to now have the privilege of sharing the information with others to help them transform their lives.

All that you require to create the results you want is a burning DESIRE for change and to make a DECISION to act.

Act now by registering your place on this live webinar….

Register Here

Our results on the outside are a reflection of what’s going on on the inside and until we change, our results don’t change much.