The Elephant In the Sales Training Room

There is an elephant in the sales training room. Someone just called it out…again.

A few weeks ago, I weighed in on a LinkedIn post from a contact of mine, Jay Jensen. You can see the whole discussion here, but I will net it out. Jay argued that the very same key principles like “features / advantages / benefits”, “customer focus”, and “creating value” that were first written about decades ago are simply being warmed over by new sales gurus who claim they’ve discovered brand new methods. Jay appears to be saying that there is nothing new under the sun in the world of sales.

To an extent, he is right. He went on to exhort people to keep things simple and to avoid complicating things we all already know about sales. I think he maybe went a little bit too far on that front, and I told him that. The fact is, we still need models and methodology in professional sales, particularly in complex B2B sales.

But the big question that Jay implies is the very same question that a lot of executives in the sales training business, sellers and buyers alike, have been asking for several years now.

If there is nothing new under the sun in the world of sales, why are we charging / paying new license fees for old ideas?

If you are a buyer of sales training, then you might feel vindicated by the simple fact that I am asking this question in an open forum. You’ve probably been asking a version of this question for a while now. You are not alone. There is a movement afoot, and it comprises buyers who do not want to pay big money for old ideas, even if they have new names.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me sixteen times, I’m broke. I should get off this hamster wheel where I buy a new model every few years in the hope that I will finally get a result! I simply need to execute my one, perfectly good (maybe battle-worn) model better.

If you are a seller of (licensed) sales training, then you might have a bead of sweat rolling down your forehead as you read this. Take heart. I am not saying you are no longer valued. You and your content are still valuable…only your licenses are not as valuable as they once were. I know, I know. Sssshhhhh. It will be OK.

The time is now for the sales training industry to acknowledge that giant, peanut eating, grey behemoth in the room. He is not leaving. We cannot pretend anymore. We must acknowledge that licensing the same old ideas with new labels is unsustainable, and it is slowly but surely eroding the entire industry’s value. The question is, “Who will step up and finally put an end to this model?”

We are doing our part to address the elephant in the sales training room. Click here to learn more about what we are doing.