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A Letter of Thanks From Iindustrial Selling Skills

Thank you for considering Industrial Selling Skills.  We love what we do and sincerely look forward to the possibility of becoming a key resource for your sales and marketing organization.  I would like to take this opportunity to let you know the background behind Industrial Selling Skills. 

The idea of Industrial Selling Skills was conceived over 10 years ago.  Since then, a handful of experiences and frustrations around training and equipping people for outside sales positions have been the driving force that has shaped the content of the core programs, the facilitated workshop format, and the approach to making the training available and affordable.
The first challenge was adequately training someone to take over a field sales position.  Whether they were promoted from within and new to outside sales or experienced reps that were new to the company, the result of the in-house training never really seemed to be effective.  It never felt that we sent someone to the field completely equipped.  Time would be dedicated to learning the overall product range, application knowledge, manufacturing, engineering, and customer service, but something seemed to be missing.  Engineers and product managers had in-depth product knowledge but were not typically effective at translating product knowledge into selling information or sales priorities.  The gap between product knowledge and selling skill could be immense.  Some of the most knowledgeable “product jocks” had the hardest time being effective in sales because they got beat up just trying to get in the door.  They were not able to get far enough in the door for the customer to appreciate their knowledge. 

The second challenge was finding a sales training class that was directly relevant to selling equipment or products into mining and industrial markets.  This task was not just difficult, it was impossible.  The sales training programs that were available covered the sales process in some decent general “system”.  The programs applied easily enough to selling life insurance, cell phones, or even copy machines, but the burden of applying the training to the unique aspects of industrial products was entirely on the student.  The experience was typically frustrating or lackluster.  Rather than the training providing fundamental skills or competence, people came away more convinced than ever that sales training did not apply to “our markets and our customers”.  This was especially true of those who had been in the industry for any amount of time.  Industry veterans are typically “convinced” that professional sales training does not apply.  The standard sales training experience proved to confirmation of the fact. 

Cost is always an issue.  The cost of the best programs was well over a thousand dollars.  How do you know you will get a return on the expense?  This is an issue with all training.  When you considered the fact that the training may not easily apply to your business, the expense was too risky.  This seemed particularly true to many of the local distributors I called on who tended to be more frugal than many.  They acknowledged that sales training would be beneficial, but the expense was too great for something that may not necessarily apply directly to their business. 

Nearly all of my industry colleagues shared similar experiences.  We just accepted the world the way it was since there were no available solutions.  Industrial Selling Skills programs were designed to address each of these challenges directly.  Our programs are consistent with fundamental selling principles but were developed from actual field experience with the real world of industrial selling in mind.  I am so confident that our program will provide you with a return on your training investment that you can even ask us about a warranty. 

To assure your return on investment it is important for us to clearly understand your goals and expectations as well as let you know clearly where we are at our best.  We are not so naïve as to think that our programs can make an impact on every organization or every individual.  In fact, we tend to “stick to our knitting” and stay well within our capabilities.  As the great “philosopher” Clint Eastwood said in one of his classic movies, “a man has to know his limitations”.  The best way to ensure we satisfy our customers is to know exactly what satisfaction looks like and be sure we can deliver the goods. 

Our industry goal is to train 20% of the sales teams working in industrial markets.  We believe those companies that invest in our training will come away with a distinct competitive advantage.  Our customer goal is to be recognized as the prerequisite training priority for all of their new sales representatives and product marketing managers. 

Thank you again for considering Industrial Selling Skills.  We look forward to the opportunity of hearing how we can serve you. 


W. Michael McFerren


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