In April 1910, Sorbonne, France, President Teddy Roosevelt delivered one of his most famous speeches. Over the years it has become known as “The Man in the Arena.” How profoundly his booming voice could be heard as he uttered the words...


It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Who is in the “arena” of your sales training experience?

Training is often created and delivered with much enthusiasm and at great expense to be at events where representatives gather in groups both small and large.

These reps are assembled to receive the latest training “dour jour” and to get motivated to drive sales forward. At the conclusion they may leave the session motivated but may quickly become challenged with the demands of too much time out of territory and little ability to actually practice or use the information, skills and techniques they have learned.

Training is presented to the representatives as if they are spectators and not the “man in the arena”. As a result, they revert to their same old ways. The National Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that this classic event-based instruction model results in an 84% loss of knowledge in the first 90 days after the event! This in effect means that 84% of the expense to deliver the training was wasted. Not a great return-on-investment.

The question becomes, how can we train our teams so they retain the knowledge and provide long-term sustainable gains?

The answer is to put the representative in the center of the learning experience; let them be “The Man in the Arena”. Research shows that people retain knowledge not by listening or observing others, but by adding the element of active participation – actually doing and performing the training and not watching others do it. Much like physical exercise, one cannot build muscle watching someone else lift weights.

This is one of the key principles underlying SkillFitness. SkillFitness is designed as a mobile training platform that puts the sales rep in control and at the center of their learning experience. Reps engage in this individualized learning method by being introduced to short, specific areas of content. They then rehearse and video record themselves practicing these skills in a safe environment. When the reps are satisfied that they have mastered the content, they share videos of themselves demonstrating such skills with their manager, their coach or their peers to receive feedback. This method effectively causes reps to apply their learning and feel significantly more comfortable demonstrating their knowledge from SkillFitness in a real world setting.

So the question remains: are you training your reps to be simply spectators or “The Man in the Arena”?

Schedule your personal, one-on-one, online demo today!

Or contact us to learn more about SkillFitness.