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by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes

In a recent discussion with a prospect we were talking about the difference between training, coaching and mentoring.  We agreed that social selling was a change of process and therefore training wasn’t appropriate.

What I mean by training is where somebody turns up with 150 Power Points and beats you into submission with facts, hints and tips and hacks.  Then you go back to your desk, the phone rings and nothing changes. After all, many people have been on LinkedIn for ten years and no few have changed their profile, why would sending people home to update it as homework make any change? People just won’t do it.

In the discussion we laughed about how we had been there so many times and seen no change and laughed about how companies had wasted money.

We then talked about webinars.  I relayed the stories of my last company how they had used webinars to roll out social selling and if anybody bothered to turn up, then they usually sat and did emails without listening to the webinar.

This means that we webinar did not activate the people you wanted to activate and of course, nothing ever changed.

We then discussed, the difference between sales coaching and sales training and it was her that mentioned the phrase that”Common knowledge is not common practice”.

Training gets us common knowledge, the leaders job is to get us to common practice. Especially with social, where there is a need to do things differently.

NB:  CEB now Gartner has research that shows that training will give you a bump but training with coaching will give you a 4 x yield.

It was at the end of this conversation where I asked “what do you think?” and she said “there is no way I can go back to my management and explain this”.  She went onto explain, “Management don’t understand social, they won’t be part of this project, they told me to go and get the cheapest”.

This makes me wonder how many other people have done this?  We often hear, we tried social and it didn’t work.  Then we mention that we have customers doing $ Million deals through social, they are amazed.

I mentioned this to friends of mine and they wondered how many business leaders still don’t understand social and the ways of digital disruption.  You may recall I blog we published where a business leader said “we don’t need to understand social, we have employed interns to do this”. We discussed how much money is being wasted on programs that are not fit for purpose.  As one customer said to me, of the social media person they had just fired “we thought he was an expert as he had a beard”. 

As sales people and sales leaders it is our duty to lead from the front on this.  To be up-to-date the the latest trends in our industry, with our customers and our own profession.  If Sales is to be a noble profession (and I think it is) along with Doctors, Dentists, Lawyers, Accountants etc then why is it that all those professions require continuous learning as part of the qualification. Where as often with sales we see salespeople doing the same thing they did 20 years ago.

Let’s not forget, 20 years ago there was no internet, little email adoption, no iphones, no Facebook, no LinkedIn and people expect not to change.

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