winging it

Are You Winging It? Lack of Sales Training?

By Chris Lott | Sales, Training | 137 Views | Leave a Comment    

Have you ever dealt with a salesperson that was less than and pretty sure they were winging it? No real substance and professionalism? Not confidence inspiring and definitely not an evangelist for their offering? Pushy, almost panicked, to make a sale? Maybe you’ve found yourself winging it? How does this happen! Well, there’s actually a good explanation and it has to do with sales training.


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The truth about salespeople. It’s not their fault.

Most salespeople, I’ve read reports as high as 70%, have had no real formal education on what it takes to be truly successful in sales long-term. Some might have received a couple of weeks of training to start but pretty much nothing after that. Almost never anything on staying motivated and dealing with sales burnout. To complicate things more a selling career typically was not their first choice and first “love”.

They find themselves selling because of limited (or self-limited) choices. Maybe they received their college degree in business, teaching, philosophy, etc. and simply could no longer proceed with what they thought was their career direction. I’ve sold side-by-side with ex-teachers that could no longer deal with the stresses of teaching youth for example. They also needed to make more money than a teachers salary. While having a teaching background helps tremendously with becoming a sales professional it doesn’t help with strategies and techniques. They were typically left to their own devices with many quitting out of frustration.

Where should sales training come from then?

The company they just got hired by? My experience is that this is not always the best training and many times it’s severely lacking. The sales manager or “trainer” may skim through some sales basics with strategies and techniques that are outdated. Blind leading the blind many times as the trainers training was limited as well. A vicious downward spiral. To compensate they will focus on product info as if saying the more product knowledge the more sales you’ll make. This could not be further from the truth.

They’re left with winging it. A great example.

So, where does that leave most salespeople, sales managers? They wing it. They make up their own style and sales processes. This might work for a while but in my experience winging it simply does not work, especially long-term. Here’s an example.

A friend of mine that had a construction business for years was tired of the physical and mental toll that this work was taking on him and his family. He knew in the back of his mind that a change was needed. When he was given an opportunity to go into sales, he took it immediately. Even though he hadn’t had any real formal training selling.

He’s a smart guy and through winging it he actually had a couple of years of decent success. Like I said he’s a smart guy. Talking with him the other day, however, things have changed.

He explained that he was no longer happy with his current company. Pay plans had changed, managing sales people was harder than he thought and he’s having to deal with a plethora of issues that get in the way of pursuing sales. His income was down considerably and his workday was longer. He had no real training and was left to figure it out on his own. He was frustrated and sales burnout was beginning to creep in.

I started talking to him about salary negotiating, delegation, time management, a pipeline that made sense and how to fill it, verticals for success and a playbook to help stay on track to make a bigger income than ever. More importantly, I discussed ways that he could get has mojo back. His noggin clear and focused. He was blown away! The coaching process had started.

Obviously there will much more discussion needed and real action applied but what a great first step!

There is light at the end of the tunnel.

Someone that is smart enough to wing it typically is someone that has the potential to be awesome! Don’t get frustrated and quit. If you’re winging it then make a change today. Do what athletes do when they’re in a slump… they hire a coach!

Want to learn more about what I can do for you to achieve the sales, business and personal goals desired? Call (206) 687-9628 or visit my web page at for more information.

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Learn more about what I can do for you to achieve the sales, business and personal goals desired? Call (206) 687-9628 or visit my web page on Sales Coaching and Sales Training for more information. Here's what others are saying about my work!.


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