Salespeople and sales trainers share something in common: Their work is evaluated and judged based on results. The only reason sales leaders employ sales trainers is to increase sales. That’s a lot of pressure. The key question is, “Is our sales training helping salespeople to sell more?”

Sales expert and author Dave Kurlan reports that 62 percent of salespeople fail to meet their sales quotas. To turn that rate around, we tell sales leaders that their teams need sales training, and yet we know that training alone isn’t enough. So we advise sales leaders to hold their teams accountable for putting their training into immediate use and to use coaching to reinforce the training.

Unfortunately, most leaders fail to follow that advice. Where does that leave us? I suggest two solutions:

  1. Train salespeople on the mental game of selling. This mentality is sorely lacking in the sales world, despite the fact that selling is about emotions from start to finish. Product and prospecting knowledge and are necessary, but they’re not enough. Salespeople must know how to motivate themselves into daily action despite their frustrations and setbacks. That process is the mental game of selling.
  2. Train salespeople on how to be their own coaches and how to be peer coaches to others on their teams. We need to make sure that salespeople know how to coach themselves so they can stand on their own two feet. Otherwise, we’ll continue to see what we see now: salespeople learning what to do but failing to implement their new knowledge and skills. That’s where self-coaching and peer coaching come in.

When salespeople effectively coach themselves or each other, they can surprise themselves with their ideas, solutions and motivation. To become effective coaches, they need a coaching model to follow. One of the most popular coaching models is explained in the book “Coaching For Performance” by Sir John Whitmore. I have my own model (“Sales Performance GPS”), but there are a number of coaching models that salespeople can use to increase sales. They especially need to know how to coach themselves through their challenges and setbacks; that’s where training in the mental game of selling comes in.

Salespeople want to sell. They’ve been trained how to sell. Now we need to give them a self-coaching model and process to turn their sales knowledge into consistent sales action. That’s where you come in.