Saturday Morning Sales

Kevin Latchford


Q&A 3 of 4 - May 28, 2016

Q: Mr. Latchford, what is your opinion of professional sales courses, such as Sandler Sale Institute or Dale Carnegie? Are these worthwhile or more brainwashing programs? What value could they provide me (I’ve been in sales for 5 years)?


A: The short answer is yes, programs such as these are worthwhile, and you will find value in attending. But, while yes is the short answer, there is more to going forward into any sales training curriculum.


Let me first share my own experiences and then I will provide you with my professional opinion on moving forward. I have been in sales or sales management related positions for over 22 years. I’ve attended, through previous employers, a variety of classroom based sales training programs. Some were taught at corporate headquarters by MBA professors in marketing and finance. I’ve been a part of Dale Carnegie sales classes taught at company conventions. I’ve been provided classroom and “ride along” training by corporate run sales training departments. And, I eventually took it upon myself to complete the Sandler Sales Institute program and became Presidents Club. I’ve read well over 150 business (sales, marketing, management and finance) books as a means of continuing education. And, I read news blogs, watch videos and listen to a variety of “talks” on an almost daily routine basis.


In my professional opinion, a classroom program such as Sander or Dale is valuable, but in the same sense as any educational program – you only get out what you put in. You must be open minded and aware that not all sales training is created equal. And, most importantly, these programs are designed to teach sales to a variety of industries and individual personality types. You cannot become a robot and attempt to do as the teachers do. You must learn the tactics and techniques that are proven and then apply them to your selling style and respective industry & market.


Having both an open mind and willingness to learn is the key to success. I often rely on said tactics and techniques garnered during my time in Sander. I attend refresher programs every few months. But, I am wise and know that I must take the information and ideas shared, and make them my own.


Over the course of my career I’ve met many a sales person who felt classroom programs were a waste. They tried to emulate the teacher in every facet of what was being taught from body language to tone of voice. They deemed the programs a failure. If you want to take one of these programs you must be willing to know how to adapt the learning to your environment. You must take the knowledge being passed along to you and make it work for you. I found it helpful to take 10-15 minutes after each class to make notes on how I could apply what I learned that day to my own career. In the evenings I would re-read what coursework along with my notes and place each lesson into a real life scenario I was facing at that time. These steps helped me move from a classroom student to a situational student.


Are they worthwhile, absolutely and I would encourage you to proceed, but make it your own experience. 

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