The Idiocy of Throwing Salespeople to the Wolves Without Any Training or Materials

Robert Terson

Jill Konrath just may be the smartest, most knowledgeable, sales expert around. If you do a survey, you’ll discover that that just isn’t my opinion; I think the vast majority of us in the sales training/coaching business think the world of Jill. I’ll tell you flat out, when she has something to say, I listen. I also read all of her posts, watch her videos. I don’t have all that many heroes in my life, but Jill Konrath is certainly one of them. So when she called me to ask me to help someone who had contacted her, I said “sure” without a second’s hesitation.

She asked me to help this woman because the woman was in a one-call-close situation, which is my bailiwick, so to speak. The woman is selling advertising to small businesspeople, to boot, which is what I did for 40 years. The vehicles are different, but the work is uncannily similar, so this job was a perfect fit for me.

I spent an hour-and-forty-five-minutes on the telephone with “Cassandra.” Her Canadian city is a long way from Chicago, so a face-to-face meeting in my office was out of the question. “Cassandra” is smart, committed, and hungry to succeed, which is why she had the good sense to reach out to Jill Konrath and ask for help. She isn’t the problem; the problem is that she’s gone to work for a small company that has no training program whatsoever. That’s right, folks: she’s been thrown to the wolves without an approach, presentation, visual aid, objections and rebuttals folder, testimonials, or anything else you might expect from a sensible sales organization. Nada. Zippo.

I couldn’t believe it! I still can’t believe it! Which goes to show you how out of touch I am!!! When I reported back to Jill about the extensive work I had done with “Cassandra,” in addition to what steps I’d told her she needed to take to succeed in this screwy environment she was struggling in, I expressed my shock to Jill re the lack of training, materials, etc. that Cassandra’s company proffered. Jill chuckled, said it happens all the time, is commonplace, especially with small companies. In fact, she said, she wrote her first book—Selling to Big Companies—specifically because of all the people who kept contacting her who were in the same sinking boat.

Now, according to “Cassandra,” there are people in her new company who are succeeding, who are indeed selling their advertising on a continuous basis, so the two owners don’t think they have a problem. When I heard that, I couldn’t help laughing, because these guys don’t have a clue about how successful they could be, if they were smart enough to hire a consultant to help them design an approach, presentation, visual aid, objections and rebuttals folder, testimonial folder (and methodology to obtain them), full training program, use of sales tools, etc., etc.

I think the lesson here is, Never underestimate the foolishness, lack of insight, of some businesspeople. If you happen to be one of those people who is running a sales company the same “throw ‘em to the wolves” way as Cassandra’s employers, let me suggest you get ahold of me, or one of my colleagues, to show you a better way. In the long run, the costs will turn out to be paltry compared to the rewards that await you and your people.

If you’re a salesperson in one of these ridiculous situations, consider some personal coaching. It might make all the difference—to you…and your employers.

By the way, Cassandra got wise and found a new job.


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