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Sales Reps Need to Know the “why” Behind the “how”

Salespeople and sales managers would benefit from more sales education.

There is a vital difference between sales training and sales education. And, it has a direct impact on the decisions you make about how to invest in boosting your sales performance.

Sales training is all about the “how.” Sales education is about the “why.

Sales TrainingSales education provides the context and framework for sales training. It provides the intellectual underpinning and justification for how the skills learned in training should be applied to help your customers make better and faster decisions.

Sales training is all about the sales process and what the salesperson does. Sales education focuses on the buyer’s process instead and the critical ways it should shape how you sell. How do they gather information? How do they make decisions? And how do these influence the strategies a salesperson should employ to win their business?

Sales training teaches fundamental and repeatable skills. For instance, how to handle objections. However, in the absence of education that teaches the reasons why customers raise certain objections in certain situations, then that training loses some of its value.

Sales training on its own, without being preceded or accompanied by sales education, focuses on the rote repetition of prescribed processes. Sales education teaches salespeople to be mindful, thoughtful and deliberate and to treat each interaction with a prospect as a unique value-driven event.

Many years ago, when I learned how to drive, I had to take to two different courses. The first was Driver’s Education. The second was Driver’s Training. Driver’s Ed taught the rules of driving and it provided the rationale and the “why” behind the rules of the road (Remember watching “Signal 30”?)

Yes, I needed to keep one car length for every 10 miles per hour of speed between me and the car in front of me. However, “Driver’s Ed” provided the answer to why that was important in terms of the increased distance required to stop a 3,000 lbs. vehicle at 60 mph vs. 40 mph.

Driver’s Training was the repetition-based “behind the wheel” practical training. During Driver’s Training I applied both the “why” and the “how” I learned in Driver’s Ed to safely drive from one location to another.

Start incorporating “Sales Ed” into your training plans. Make sure that you, or your team, have a thorough understanding of why the core elements of selling, such as value, time, trust, responsiveness and service, are the foundation of all successful selling.

This post originally appeared on

Andy Paul's The Sales Fix and is republished here with permission.

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