Qualities of a Successful Sales Trainer

August 22, 2011  |  Posted by in Sales Training

Developing internal sales training and reinforcement talent within customer organizations is an ongoing commitment at Carew International, so we are often asked to identify the qualities of a successful trainer.  As a certified facilitator of all of Carew’s sales developmental programs, I have been deeply involved in this discussion from both the trainer’s standpoint and management’s standpoint. From that perspective, these would be my top five qualities of successful sales trainers:

1)      Learning always comes first: One of the tenets of adult learning is that adults learn better when they are having fun.  A successful trainer can walk the fine line of being entertaining while still effectively focusing on the learning points. The danger, of course, is the trainer who crosses the line in pursuit of the laugh – vying for entertainment value at the expense of learning outcomes. Great trainers recognize that companies don’t invest in sales training for entertainment’s sake and keep education as the top priority at all times.

2)      You don’t have to be a (sales) star: Sales people have built-in “B.S. detectors” that will sound the alarm if the trainer him/herself does not have some credibility in sales. While it is important to have some functional background in selling, it is not required that trainers be former sales superstars. In fact, it is preferred that anecdotes, stories and examples used in training are not from the trainer’s history.  Neither trainees nor management wants training time used to relive the trainer’s glory days.

3)      High energy: It is tough to be “on” for days on end in front of a class. Even during breaks, trainers frequently become engaged in side conversations that limit their ability to get a break themselves.  Individuals with a naturally high level of energy, particularly those who are energized by interaction with others and performing in front of a classroom of trainees, will excel in their facilitation role.

4)      Diligence and commitment to mastery: Executing an engaging and successful multiple-day sales training program like Carew’s Dimensions of Professional Selling not only takes high energy, but requires absolute mastery of the content.  The best trainers are diligent – they invest the time to learn the content and practice, practice, practice its best delivery.  There is a direct relationship between the success of trainers and the preparation time they have logged behind the scenes.

5)      High “likeability” to support broad appeal: Nobody is universally loved by all who meet them, but broad likeability is a major consideration when evaluating candidates for internal training positions.  I have seen successful trainers with a wide range of personalities, but the best trainers have almost “neutral” personalities that appeal to a wide spectrum of program attendees.


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