Practice makes perfect
Sales managers very often do not get the training they need before becoming a sales manager. Likewise, very few sales managers conduct ongoing training sessions with their sales team.
Source: Sales consultant Gil Cargill
Selling requires cognitive skills as well as practical skills, which cannot be developed without practice. When was the last time the sales managers at your company conducted sales practice? I have frequently observed sales managers who intend to start a series of sales practice exercises; however, they are dissuaded from this plan by their salespeople who express dislike or discomfort with the idea of practicing.
Top-performing sales forces conduct sales practice on a regular basis. They have a focus on training and developing the skills and process of their team on an ongoing basis. I recommend that all sales managers conduct sales practice on a weekly basis. This will allow them to inspect the quality of presentations, processes, territory management, account management, etc., of each of their salespeople in a safe and nurturing environment.
Practicing one's sales skills in front of a customer is analogous to practicing football during the Super Bowl. Obviously, it is too late to practice when you are in the game.