It has been suggested that “ignorance is bliss” but I am afraid that I do not subscribe to that viewpoint in any way. This is particularly true in the harsh and sometimes unforgiving sales arena, where careers can be destroyed overnight, and lives changed forever
In the old days, long before the Internet was even a glint in Kleinrock’s eyes, sales training was sporadic at best, and non-existent at worst: The “sales trainer” would arrive armed with a rain forests’ worth of course notes for each delegate and we would systematically work through until that final relief on the third day – you know the feeling that you experience after root canal work? There is considerable discomfort and a lot of numbness, but there is relief that it is all over.
I remember looking around, during one particularly painful session and dividing the delegates into three distinct categories: To begin with, there were the “vacationers” Vacationers did anything to get out of the office for a few hours – “Well, this is better than working isn’t it? Great hotel, some nice chicks/studs on the course, and you should see what’s in my mini-bar. Which club are we hitting tonight?”
Next, there were the “prisoners” Prisoners resented anything getting in the way of real work. They did not want to be on the course, and they made that very clear to anyone who would listen, including the course leader. Prisoners decided long before they arrived that they were not going to get anything out of the exercise, because either they knew it all already, or because they had no interest whatsoever in expanding their skills-sets. “Well this is going to be a complete waste of my time, I could be doing some real work and earning some commission”
Finally, there were the “enthusiasts” This group usually started as a very small number, and depending on the quality of the content and delivery, either grew in size or shrank in size. These people were committed to learning as much as they could, because they realized that knowledge is power, but it also career defining.
Today, there are so many “avenues of opportunity” for professional salespeople, many of them free. The Internet has created the equivalent of a child’s sweetshop: The shelves are stacked with jars containing every conceivable variety and flavor – it is difficult to know where to begin. As a consequence, nobody has any excuse anymore for not knowing what they don’t know, because it is now so easy to find out – to embark on that journey of discovery in order to become the best we can possibly be. We owe ourselves that, don’t we?