Sales Training

This page is a database of articles and downloadable white papers on many different aspects of sales training. You can search for any particular topic (e.g. "cold-calling") by typing it into the search box above the list of contents to the right. If you use the productivity tools in Connect (Calendar, Contacts, Workshop, Dashboard) you can use your dashboard results to see which areas of selling you have the most weak spots and then come to this page to find training resources to help you improve.

Managing Is Coaching

It’s hardly surprising that the metaphor “manager as coach” has endured. Here are some business observations from a couple of seasons of watching a professional coach:
» Recruit and woo the best talent. Coaches spend years observing high school teams, and for good reason. The best route to a great team is to bring it in as a great team.
» It’s all about the team. Build a team that’s much more than the sum of the parts. “For a team to become excellent, it has to overcome individual preferences and individual performances. The team has to believe that they are better because of each other.”
» Diversity of the team is an asset. Every team has various roles that are one-of-a-kind, making an essential contribution to its overall performance. Diversity of talents is a major source of team excellence.
» Adaptation is necessary. Coaches (and managers) must adapt their styles to fit each player, adjusting their teaching and motivating approaches to the idiosyncrasies and dispositions of those they manage.
» Responsibilities should be segmented. The best managers segment responsibilities by skill and expertise, and help individual members of the team excel in their particular roles. The cumulative result is a winning team.
» Morale is the manager’s responsibility. Better morale means better team performance. “You don’t have to concern yourself with how a first-stringer feels. The real test is whether the last substitute has good morale. If he has it, it means everybody has.”
» Prepare strategically and specifically. No coach walks onto the field without understanding and anticipating the plays of that day’s opponent, which are different from the plays of last week’s opponent.
» Don’t dwell on the past. Instead, focus on the future. “The last play isn’t important. It’s the next play that’s important.” Constant criticism and recrimination about failures will not inspire your team. However, do review the last loss. Failures and losses are important sources of learning.
» Managers must take risks. No manager can lead his or her team into a project or assignment with a fear of losing. “If you are afraid to get licked, you are in the wrong business.”

Judy Olian is dean of Penn State’s Smeal College of Business. Reproduced by permission of RadioInk Magazine

Sales Training