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Sales Training: If you don’t know the answer, find it!

Finding the best fit in the hiring process can be tricky, but the real challenge comes in the onboarding process once you’ve selected a new employee. Even the best of the best candidates will have a learning curve when joining your company, so it’s important to be prepared to train new hires on how your company handles things. In some cases, you may even find yourself having to un-teach things that they have learned as past jobs. However, by investing time into the onboarding process, you are investing in the future of your company as a whole.

When we hire sales employees, in particular, one of the facets that we instill from the very first day is that it is up to them to answer prospective clients’ questions. While they may not always know the answer, we find it important that they learn how to find the answer one way or another.

What’s the answer?

I let our sales team know that telling a client, vendor, or anyone else that they’ll find the correct answer is always a better option than bringing the wrong answer to a meeting. By showing the initiative to go out and find the answer to a question, the sales employees (and the company, in turn) earns respect and esteem.

For this reason, we find that self-starters are the most valuable assets to our sales team. Self-starting professionals are proactive in the business, while those who wait to be told what to do are always chasing the problem. Make it a goal to train your staff to be independent and empowered; however, be sure to note that that doesn’t mean they cannot reach out for help when needed.

With five of us on our team, I make sure everybody knows that they can always reach out to me, as well as the rest of the office. More often than not, we can find the answer between ourselves. However, in the case that we are all at a loss, it’s time for the sales employee to do a bit of research. Online is always a starting point for us and, generally, an answer can be found within the first few pages on Google. However, if it’s a question about something like permits, we’ll have somebody reach out to the city department or office that can point us in the right direction, if not provide us with the answer right away.

Go get ‘em

One of the best ways institute this go-getting philosophy in the office is to prequalify employees during the hiring process to ensure that they have the necessary qualities – if they are a good fit, it will be much easier to train them to your company’s standards. Ask candidates how they work on a project: do they wait for instruction or do they go forth with the job and work through issues along the way? If applicable, consider giving them a small project to work on and observe how they complete it. This can show you how they’ll perform in your office setting.

Every company’s goals boil down to one thing: keeping the customers happy. By fostering an environment where this comes as second nature, you will find that both your clients and employees feel empowered and satisfied.


Jennifer Taylor is the owner of Taylor’d Events Group, a planning firm that specializes in celebrations of all kinds in the Pacific Northwest and Maui. She is also the creator of The Taylor’d Plan, a self-administered class for wedding planners to grow and improve upon their skills.


Jennifer Taylor

Founder and Owner, Taylor'd Events Group

Jennifer Taylor is the founder and owner of Taylor’d Event Group, an event planning company that serves local and destination clients in Washington State and Maui, Hawaii. She is also the principal of Jen Taylor Consulting, a consulting firm that works with creative businesses of all sizes to implement streamlined work flows and organized systems to find more time and space for business growth and personal development.