Winning a Smaller Sales Training Opportunity: The Trainer’s Perspective

How to Select a Sales Training Provider

I thought it would be instructive for me to publish an email I received from Jonathan London, who runs The Improved Performance Group. Jonathan was selected by an ESR client to deliver critical sales training last month to a group of (non-sales) relationship managers who would soon be responsible for cross-selling a brand new product to their existing customers.

Many of you know ESR for providing objective and strategic decision support for sales training buyers in large companies. This particular assignment was for a large company, but they were seeking a point solution for an immediate business challenge. We decided that a small firm, or even a sole proprietor, would be the best choice.

Here’s the email from Jonathan, published, of course, with his permission.


Hi Dave,

Let me again thank you for sending me the RFI, and ultimately the opportunity to do some training for ___.

I thought it would be valuable to follow-up the recent work, from RFI through delivery and reinforcement of the program at ___.

The RFI

I responded to the RFI for several reasons, including:

  • It was clear that there was a good fit for many reasons including their requirements, the size and make-up of the audience, the environment it would be held and the promise of more business. It was also a profitable deal for IPG.
  • It was in an industry I had no experience with but felt the experience I did have would be very relevant for them
  • How well it was written including a clear definition of their requirements (as well as what they didn’t need)
  • The ease of responding due to the layout of the RFI so it wouldn’t take forever to fill out in relation to the opportunity
  • The access to the client to best respond to them
  • The dates of the training were open for me and it was in Florida so there was a chance to get out of the cold :-)

The Finalist presentation

Once I was chosen as a finalist, I liked the format of presenting via webconferencing/video to all those involved in their decision. It was a unique situation given they were asking for sales training to an audience of service people who have never sold anything, and potentially were opposed and threatened by the idea. The format allowed for me to put together a presentation that fairly and accurately presented my services, what made us unique, different and better for the client. We were also given ample time to prepare and present our services. They were very involved during the presentation , which was important since it helped to further uncover and discuss their needs and expectations. I liked that you attended to keep everything straight and answer questions they were unable to.

Working with the client to develop the program

After IPG was chosen, the client was very involved and accessible. As always, I informed them that we could have as many or few checkpoints in developing the program as they liked. Thankfully, they chose to be very involved without interfering with the development process. I was given access to the key people I needed to speak with as well as information about their new offering, product managers and outside companies also working with them and more. At IPG we always ask for this but many clients aren’t willing to get this involved. The end result was a program that gave them the information and the tools they needed.

Delivering the program

The program was delivered as part of a 4-day kickoff, in 2 parts (each approximately 2.5 hours) on two days. Because of the research and development, the program was finely tuned to their situation and the temperament of the audience. Since this was “sales training” for a “service” audience, and because they are from the Midwest and much nicer than us northeasterners a great deal of attention had to be paid to delivering the program in a softer manner as to not offend the people who were undertaking sales as part of their responsibility.

The key executives were also there and involved the whole time, which we all know, is critical to a program’s success. I am glad to say that the program went off flawlessly.

We did a lot of exercises that kept them involved, and also fostered a lot of relevant discussions, observations and insights that were as valuable as the training itself. One of the highlights of the training was the use of the DiSC™ model that gave them insights into their own behavior style. As importantly, if not more so, we showed them how they could adjust their style when necessary to be even better at servicing and “selling” their clients. We discussed and modeled ways they could “sell” the new offering in a softer or more organic way. Use of their resources, team selling, asking the right questions and handling objections/resistance were all covered so they left feeling empowered, competent and secure with their new role.

Thanks once again Dave for considering IPG for this opportunity.

Jonathan


ESR received very positive feedback regarding the training Jonathan delivered. It’s too soon to determine what sales results were actually driven from this training initiative, but from ESR’s perspective, this was a textbook case of selecting the right sales training provider based on the customer’s specific requirements.

Links:

Jonathan’s LinkedIn profile.

The Improved Performance Group

Comments

  1. says

    Interesting to see an opportunity for a smaller sales training vendor. It would be interesting to understand how it complimented the primary sales effectiveness programme, which was presumably undertaken by a larger vendor? How smaller and larger vendors can work together would be of major interest to the smaller members of the sales training community. Great post thanks for sharing!

    Al

    • Dave Stein says

      Thanks, Al. I’ll take your interest in learning more about smaller and larger players working together as an action item for a future post.

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