Let’s face it; everyone likes to get something for nothing, particularly if that something is valuable. What could be more valuable to a salesperson than receiving professional sales training? I mean sales training is something that can impact your wallet for the rest of your selling career. And to get it for free! Does it get any better than that?
Of course you didn’t just fall off the back of a turnip truck and you know there’s no such thing as a free lunch (or a free anything for that matter). So how are you going to get sales training for free? You’re going to get your company to pay for it, that’s how.
Now, before you tell me that I’m wasting my breath and that I don’t know your company and that they don’t pay for anything, etc, etc, hear me out.
But before I tell you how to get your company to pay for your sales training, let me tell you why they won’t, don’t, or are hesitant to do so.
Fear, Fear, Fear
They fear not seeing results, they fear wasting their money, they fear that you’ll leave soon after the training and they’ll have lost their investment, they fear they may end up training a potential competitor, etc. I wish I could tell companies that these fears are unfounded but unfortunately I can’t. These things can and do happen. However, there are some things companies can do to eliminate or minimize the problems.
Before I tell you how you can arm wrestle your company into paying for sales training, I want to point out that many companies already have education reimbursement policies in place, and I applaud them for their progressive approach to employee retention. It’s been long known that employers who provide training are becoming employers of choice and not only do they retain employees longer, they attract a better quality of employee.
It’s a Sales Job
Getting your company to pay for sales training is simply a matter of selling them on the idea and showing them the value of doing so. Really, it’s not much different from what you do day after day is it? Every day you talk to prospects and try to convince them they should buy what you’re selling by showing the value of doing so. No value, no sale.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re selling IT services, furnaces, consulting, training, computers, whatever, the one question any good salesperson has to answer is, “If I was my prospect, why would I buy what I’m selling?” When you’ve got the answer to that question, the sale is over half made.
So the question you need to ask yourself is, “If I was my boss, why would I spring for sales training?” Some possible answers might be:
- It will help close even more business.
- It improves morale.
- It builds a sense of obligation to the company.
- It’s a worthwhile investment.
- It may keep you with the company longer.
How many more reasons can you add to the list?
Return On Investment
Your boss is just like any of your typical prospects, he wants to be sure he gets good value for his money and a good return on his investment. You can use this last factor to your advantage.
Let’s assume the sales training course you’re looking at costs $2000. Let’s also assume that the stuff you sell, whatever it is, has a 20 percent profit margin. Keep in mind that the money for the training comes from the profit margin so if you can increase your sales enough to cover the cost of the sales training, you’re half-way there. Let’s do the math using the numbers I mentioned above.
In order to cover the cost of the training, at a 20 percent profit margin, you have to sell $10,000 ($2000 ÷ 20%) more than you’re selling now. Assuming your boss wants to have his investment paid back within a year, you’d have to increase your sales by $834/month ($10,000 ÷ 12).
Do you think you could sell $834 more a month if you had professional sales training? If you don’t, don’t ask for the training. I suspect, however, that you’re looking at the number and saying, “Is that all!” You may well be able to increase your monthly sales by ten times that amount. Talk about a good return on investment!
Just like the good salesperson that asks, “Why should someone buy what I’m selling,” he or she also asks, “What might cause this prospect to NOT buy.”
So, what might cause your sales manager to NOT pay for your training? Well, one of the biggest reasons is the fear that you might leave shortly after the training is over, leaving them holding the bag.
You can answer that objection by committing to stay with the company for at least a year if not a lot longer.
But, as you know, words are cheap and your sales manager may still be concerned about the possibility of you leaving prematurely. If this is the real objection, offer to pay back the cost of the training on a pro-rata basis. This means that if you leave after three months, you owe the company nine-twelfths or 75% of the training cost; if you leave after six months, you owe six-twelfths or 50%; and if you leave after nine months you owe three-twelfths or 25%, etc. Hopefully you’ve effectively countered your sales manager’s objections and you can move forward.
Use Your Selling Skills
It all boils down to the fact that you can’t just ask your company to provide training and expect them to instantly fall in line. You have to sell your sales manager on the idea. Give him enough reasons to invest in you. Show him the value that training can offer both you and the company. Counter his objections with irrefutable logic and show him a reasonable return on his investment and you’re on your way to a sales training workshop.
Can you sell your company on paying for your sales training? Of course you can. After all, you’re a salesperson aren’t you?