Some while ago I had a very nice conversation with my friends who are heavily involved in sales. One of the major questions was. Selling, can it be learned? That question reminded me of my times as a competition swimmer, and afterwards, as a swimming instructor and a coach. Everyone can learn to swim but only a handful will become top swimmers. It does not matter how good the coach is.
One of the most important issues is personal motivation. My swimming club provided a swimming pool, lanes, gyms, coaches, competitions, training camps and many others. But it did not provide personal motivation, hence, passion towards swimming. This was my personal responsibility.
My swimming career lasted for 16 years, and then I coached for six years. 22 years in the swimming pool and next to the swimming pool is a very long time. I have almost 200 medals from different competitions and couple of times I was a member of the Age Class National Team in Finland, and I posses quite many championship medals.
Selling requires similar principles, hence, constant development and practice. There are no shortcuts and sales persons require constant mentoring and feedback. This responsibility should be handed over to experienced sales managers and sales executives. I have read and written quite a lot about sales but several researches opened my eyes. 85-90 percent of sales training does not have any long lasting impact after 120 days. 85 percent of sales trainings fail. Only 16 percent of participants applied new methods to their everyday selling. This is the reason why every single business should develop their internal sales coaching programs.
You might have seen Mr. Selfridge where Harry Selfridge, the owner of world famous department store Selfridges, walks around different departments, and follows keenly how sales persons are serving their clients. Selfridge gives immediately some feedback because he wants to provide excellent customer service. This similar approach reminds me of my former swimming coaches who gave everyday single day some feedback in order to enhance my swimming techniques. This was the only way forward, and therefore, I succeeded very well. Hence, selling is about constant development, there are no quick fixes.