Lisbiz strategies: The benefits of customized training

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October 24/31, 2016: Volume 31, Number 10
By Lisbeth Calandrino

Yesterday I was discussing custom sales training with Don Roberts, a successful owner of several Carpet One stores in Alabama. Don has been involved with many of the most profitable companies in the flooring industry and knows all about training. We both know he can teach sales training and probably has.

Despite what he knows, he believes his salespeople would benefit from training presented by another industry expert. He used the expression, “You’re never a king in your own castle.”

It reminds me of what an owner once said to me after I completed a training session.

“I said the same thing at least 10 different times but they never listen to me.” I told him the out of town expert with the brief case has a certain amount of clout.

I don’t need to tell you that training is important; it’s more important than ever. With consumer buying habits changing daily, salespeople have to be on their toes and more assertive if they expect to get the sale. Even so, many salespeople literally spend hours with the customer and never ask for the sale. People often ask if I have an off-the-shelf training program. There are plenty of videos and training programs online that assume all businesses and people are alike. To be effective, training programs need to be tweaked to include individual differences. In the flooring industry there’s an installation component that the salesperson has to be familiar with in order to sell the right product. To have training that works, you must understand the nuances of the industry. Yes, sales are sales, but some industries are more complicated than others.

If you’re looking for training, you need to have a particular outcome in mind and want to know if the trainer can provide it. Everyone’s needs are different as well as their learning styles and the trainer has to understand this. Assuming that everyone thinks the same will be the death of a training program. Customized training takes into account that everyone has something different to learn and information needs to be presented in a diverse way.

There are numerous training videos on the web that teach sales but flooring is a ‘different animal,’ as they say. Because there’s an installation component, the salesperson needs a lot of specialized knowledge.

I believe the secret of successful training is the ability to motivate people to want to change and absorb new knowledge. We all like things better when it’s our idea. The job of the trainer is to help the students understand that being more successful is their idea. With this in mind they are able to engage and assimilate new information as they compare it to their own ideas.

We all want to believe the teacher has our best interest at heart as well as an understanding of our goals. When we’re children, with little knowledge, we are more likely to feel thrilled when someone tells us how to do something. However this is not the case when we’re older with knowledge and experience of our own.

A successful salesperson has a certain way of selling that produces success. Why change unless the new process makes sense and will get him or her positive results?

A trainer with experience and expertise in the industry will make a positive impact if the material is delivered in an enthusiastic and excited manner.

Remember, a good trainer is always selling. How we say it is just as important as what we say.


Lisbeth Calandrino has been promoting retail strategies for the last 20 years. To have her speak at your business or to schedule a consultation, contact her at

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