In all the papers a couple of weeks ago, quango The Skills Commission placed ads urging companies to continue with investment in training and the like. Their Chief Exec, Chris Humphries, quotes an alarming stat that firms which do not maintain their spend on improving skills are 2½ times more likely to fail than those that don’t when downturn hits.
Although the original studies are not mentioned by name, the implications are clear. The chances of survival, recovery and prosperity are increased 250% through resisting the temptation to cut training.
This naturally has an impact on sales. I once endured a course hosted by the stereotypical semi-retired been-there-seen-it, it’s-all-about-me trainer, who’s firm (Tack) seemed to pitch itself on the back of the fact that surveys throughout the 90s in Britain exposed the annual number of training days per salesrep as being a paltry (and indefensible) 1½.
The interesting thing is that when carefully considered, investments in Skills and Training are actually two different things. So, if you’re involved in selling, not having control of the training budgets is not necessarily a bad thing. You can still create a programme to focus on Skills and all it might cost is a couple of evenings of your time…
- Do you practice objection handling in the car with your pre-sales aides?
- Can you set topics for rotating plenary leaders for each sales meeting?
- Which competitor pitch can you dissect and counter?
There must be quite a list of similar Skills…