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I Asked chat.AI a Question: Have Salespeople Been Taught Not to Learn?

3 minute read


It’s not accurate to say that salespeople have been taught not to learn. Rather, the focus of sales training and development programs has often been on teaching specific sales techniques and strategies, rather than on fostering a culture of continuous learning.

However, it is becoming increasingly recognised that salespeople need to be continuously learning and adapting to changes in their industry, market, and customer needs. With the rapid pace of change in technology and business, salespeople who do not stay current are becoming obsolete.

There are several factors that contribute to a lack of focus continuous learning in sales including:

  1. Short-term thinking: Sales organisations are often on short-term goals and targets, which can lead to a lack of emphasis on long-term professional development.
  2. Pressure to perform: Salespeople are under pressure to perform and meet their targets, which can make it difficult to allocate time for learning and development.
  3. Limited resources: Sales organisations may have limited resources to invest in training and development, which can result in a lack of focus on continuous learning.


With my academic research “hat on” I have found that these are exactly the reasons why salespeople don’t learn on their own. Their employers train them based on corporately identified imperatives, e.g., margins are lower, so everyone is enrolled onto a negotiation skills course. All that does is teach salespeople not to learn, it says “don’t learn for yourself”. Yet our research shows that top performers really enjoy owning their own learning. There is research evidence that shows salespeople are (given the opportunity) the best self-directed learners. But most employers de-motivate their sellers by not empowering their professional development.

self-directed learning


However, some organisations are beginning to recognise the importance of continuous professional learning (development). They are making efforts to incorporate it into their sales training and development programs. This includes providing opportunities for salespeople to attend workshops and conferences, participating in online learning programs, and working with mentors and coaches.

In conclusion, while it is not accurate to say that salespeople have been taught not to learn, the focus of sales training and development has often been on specific techniques and strategies. However, with the recognition of the importance of continuous learning, many organisations are now making efforts to incorporate it into their sales training and development programs.

What are you doing to accelerate your salespeople’s abilities to self-direct their own learning and be the best version of themselves that they can be?

By Andrew Hough, Founder and Director of the Institute of Sales Professionals


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