my ROI is pathetic

why is that? a gut feeling or a measurement?

Why are you not getting the return from Sales (or any) Training that you expect?  We’ve been in this “game” for 17 years and have had only moderate success. Customers love our IP, are overflowing with gratitude with our delivery but continually complain that the results are not what they expected. The long term performance of their teams just melts away. One could look on this as an opportunity for repeat business, but surely there must be a way to lift the performance of a team, an individual, then sit back and watch your efforts bear fruit?

am I clever or stupid

While researching the book "am I clever or stupid?" by Dr. Kobus Neethling, we were struck by a paradigm which could very well be the golden bullet to ensure the performance of yourself, or an individual you manage.

Basically, we had a breakthrough; we crossed that breakthrough line depicted in the figure below. There is no doubt we moved through the anguish that our service seemed not to be working. We could have taken the indifferent view that the results were not our concern. It would be easy to be negative about the material (the salespeople) we worked with, who were “unable to grasp” our training. Undoubtedly it gave us cause for pessimism and stress as we considered this problem. We even dropped certain IP which was built at great expense of time and research and many years of practices, because, we thought, it wasn’t working ~ too complex, too cerebral, we needed quick wins through strict process definition and compliance!

the breakthrough emotional steps in learning

That breakthrough gave us all the emotions shown in this figure that was part of a presentation by Dr.Kobus Neethling.    (Click to ZOOM)

This document will build a case for concentrating on the basics, the root system of the tree of knowledge – a metaphor used by Mark Heerma in describing why salespeople are not born to sell but are made, nurtured to sell. We wonder if this approach can be seen as the death knell to that age old debate ~ salespeople are born not made; you can’t teach attitude.

We are Creative, & filled with Wisdom!

Well, that’s how we feel about our offerings. We, along with every other sales training practice have taught;

  • Process and Sales Cycles coupled to Buying Cycles,
  • How to calculate the GAP and monitor your funnel to ensure accurate forecasts,
  • How to prospect using Value Propositions
  • Understand the AS-MÙD-I buyer types and modify your behaviour to match their need
  • Manage death valley using a J.A.P (Joint Activity Plan) etc., etc., etc.,

We delivered the TRIGGER for improved performance but we couldn’t guarantee the EFFECT or effective BEHAVIOUR from our intervention. Our buyers, like us, took it on faith that training would improve their team’s performance.

The TRIGGER we provided was “one of a number of a ways” to sell and we asked the salespeople to apply that knowledge and modify their BEHAVIOUR based on that trigger. Most of them did, but that pesky Pareto Principle just kept getting in the way. 20% of the team were always delivering 80% of the revenue.

What happened is; that their skill was modified by our intervention and so the trigger changed the way they behaved, but very quickly, the consequences of that behaviour didn’t live up to their internal belief and they stopped. Their perseverance in using the learned knowledge waned as the consequences informed their conscious, trickled to the sub-conscious ~ that they were never going to achieve like those “other” top 20%. They continued to reinforce their innermost belief that they couldn’t achieve. The result is attrition, disillusionment and looking for another job. We all have seen the procession of salespeople through our offices after less than 2 years in their previous position. Don’t be fooled, they are leaving because they can’t make headway and 2 years is about the time it takes to be “found out”!

So we need to enable salespeople to think about their OWN performance problem. FEEL the outcome of applying their new skill to achieve success. Handle rejection which is sure to come, so that the future pull of achievement is what is informing their consequences. Closing the loop to their self-belief and self-talk; then, and only then, can skills enhancement become habitual and be successful!

Going from Trigger to a NEW Behaviour which produces a positive Future Pull will only happen to those that have this basic self belief ability in place. Not everyone has this and therefore the Conventional Wisdom that salespeople are born and not bred. We want to disprove that theory.

What is the upper limit of your Rev Counter?

If your upper limit has been set by a limiter, you can change that but it takes work and time. No amount of wishing will change it; you have to have a process. No amount of goal setting will make you perform if your INNER limiter is in place. If you liken it to a small child that didn’t listen to times tables and early school arithmetic, suddenly being asked to understand trigonometry. After a few lessons they start switching off, they don’t have the grounding to take on this task. They lose interest and walk away. We need to start at the basics before giving them complex tasks to do, only then will the knowledge turn to skill.

What makes High achieving TOP 20% salespeople?

We’ve been around the proverbial block and in every team we come across top achievers. They are the first ones to embrace and assimilate new training. They want to learn. They want to understand more about their “profession”. But, they have that illusive x factor that allows them to implement these new ideas alongside those that have served them well and made them top performers.

They understand that;

  • these techniques will help them to be professional but wont in themselves "make" them perform
  • their internal self-talk and a driven desire to be successful is what sets them apart

Not one of those we have worked with, has an internal view of themselves as anything but exceptional. They are positive and have no time for the mediocre. That’s why they are as difficult to herd as a clutter of cats!


To help understand the process of setting goals, changing habits, reinforcing good practices we have built, based on this research a coaching intervention that will produce a positive, perpetual business process change.

Of all the metaphors, we like the one which likens increased performance to increased fruitfulness. We had a peach tree in our yard that produced no fruit, yet it was lush, had a great spread of branches and leaves for Africa. My Mom begged us not to cut it down, she beat the tree with a hockey stick, pruned the branches and spoke to it every day, but when she went home, we dug it out only to find it was planted over builders rubble – its root system was unable to develop, “it looked so good because it ate so good” but it never had the energy to produce! Pruning the branches of the tree is what we do when we deliver training. We hope & have faith this stimulates fruitfulness.

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But the problem lies under the surface. The roots need to be watered and fed, aerated and protected from insects. The basic structure and foundation must be built and be in place before the individual is CAPABLE of practicing their art. That is why skill training has such a poor record of enhancement. We are delivering advanced training in trigonometry, before the candidates have understood basic arithmetic - they have no grounding or thought process to help them achieve. This 1-on-1 coaching has nothing to do with SKILL training that, if necessary, will come later. It has everything to do with personal goal setting and freeing the coached to flourish, to have the attitude and self-belief that will make them into a top 20% salesperson.

You get what you measure!

Can they do this on their own?; you could send them off to seminars and have them listen to whole brain reasoning. But, they will not have the expertise to overcome that breakthrough line on their own. Most on-the-job managers just don’t have the time to nurture all their people ~ they are driven by short term measurements! At the very least, try this on one of your under-performers, best still, that salesperson you are thinking of letting go and hoping like mad that they don’t go to the labour court. This program will increase their performance, protect your investment and guarantee that you have done everything possible to enable the individual to succeed at the profession of life.