How to Start a Sales Training Consulting Business

by Thomas Metcalf ; Updated September 26, 2017
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Whether you plan to provide one-on-one coaching or group training in your new sales training company, your chances of succeeding are best if you have a demonstrable record of personal success in sales. That gives you bragging rights, but starting your own business requires refocusing your priorities, as selling and training involve different skill sets.

Startup Considerations

Selling styles vary widely by industry, so you need to establish your niche and focus on building around that. Real estate, insurance, industrial products and consumer goods all have specific selling requirements. Decide the market reach you wish to embrace -- local, regional or national and small business or ventures of all sizes. Do a rigorous evaluation of your abilities and experience. If you have been in sales, you probably have an outgoing personality, but coaching and training require a different skill set than selling does.

Establish Your Credentials

Whatever your field of knowledge, be sure you have the credentials and depth of experience to be an authority. Sales training will ring hollow if you have little or no sales experience. No specific rule dictates how many years of successful experience you should have, but you need enough to have experienced the ups and downs of selling. Many sales trainers offer essentially the same programs; to stand out from the crowd, emphasize what's different about your approach to prospecting or handling objections. Add a certification -- such as one offered by Sales and Marketing Executives International -- to your resume to round out your expertise.

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Share Your Expertise

However skilled you are, no one will know it unless you share your expertise. To demonstrate your sales knowledge, write articles, blogs, books, newspaper columns -- anything that will get your name in print. As you share ideas and information, you gain the respect of prospects and future clients. Your published work helps you establish your brand. If you have an unusual selling style, showcase it in your writing. If you blog, work to build a following of your targeted prospects. Offer your services as a speaker for industry trade associations. The visibility will earn you credibility, and you can leverage your program by recording it and sharing excerpts on your social media outlets.

Network With the Right People

Make networking a priority. Your objective should be to become known as a leading sales training expert in your field; to accomplish that, be relentless in networking and sharing your knowledge. While numerous organizations exist for speakers and trainers, you're more likely to find your competition there, not your prospects and clients. Attend those meetings for ideas, perhaps, but focus on meeting people who can use -- and pay for -- your services. Networking with LinkedIn's sales management executives group or a professional association such as Sales and Marketing Executives International can open many doors. If you're targeting a market segment -- insurance sales, for example -- focus your networking efforts on gaining visibility in that industry.

About the Author

Thomas Metcalf has worked as an economist, stockbroker and technology salesman. A writer since 1997, he has written a monthly column for "Life Association News," authored several books and contributed to national publications such as the History Channel's "HISTORY Magazine." Metcalf holds a master's degree in economics from Tufts University.

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