Sales Question and Answer #25 – How much time and money should I spend on my own education?

This is a Sales Question and Answer article from guest poster Dave Kahle, author and leading sales educator. Follow Dave’s latest Tweets at @davekahle.

Businessman with idea lightbulb by basketman ID-10097088Q.   I’ve read your ideas about the need to invest in developing myself. Can you quantify that? How much time and money should I spend on my own education?

A.  Now that‘s a question I’m rarely asked. It’s refreshing to receive it.

I’m assuming that you are referring to your education beyond formal schooling. After you’ve finished your degree and you’re done with your academic education, how much should you invest in your continual growth and development?

Let me share some research with you. ASTD, the association for training and development, does an annual survey of its member companies. While the numbers vary a little bit from year to year, generally good companies spend about 3 – 3. 5% of payroll on training their employees. The Distributor Research and Education Foundation found that high performing distributors spend 3.2% of payroll on training, while average distributors spend 1.5%.

So, if you are asking from the perspective of your company, figure somewhere around 3% of your sales payroll will put you in the general area. In other words, if you have five sales people, averaging $50,000 each, that’s $250,000 in sales payroll. Three percent of that would be $7,500 spent each year in continuous development.

If you are asking from a personal perspective, the answer lies in how serious you are about developing yourself. A good way to gauge this is by using the same measurement – percent of payroll. In this case, the question is percent of your income. Let’s say you make $50,000 a year. If you take my Kahle Way® B2B Selling System course in its on-line version, for example, you’ll spend $274 for tuition, and an additional $35 for the exam and certificate. That’s less than 1% of your income, which is hardly worth talking about.

I believe that a serious sales person, dedicated to making a career of professional sales and committed to improving himself, should be spending around 2- 3% of income a year on the task.

What about investment of time? I believe a company ought to spend about 4 hours a month in developing its sales force. And the same for you. One hour a week, week in and week out.

Let’s put this in perspective. Only about 5% of the sales people in the world spend more than $20.00 on improving themselves in the last year. If you invest just 2% of your income and one hour a week to continuous improvement, you’ll soon rise in the ranks, as your competitors and colleagues are generally content to stay where they are, investing minimally in their own development.

Copyright MMX by Dave Kahle

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