Bomb-Sniffing Bees in Training for War

Nov. 28, 2006 —U.S. military defense scientists have found a way to train the common honey bee to smell explosives used in bombs, a skill they say could help protect American troops abroad.

The scientists used Pavlovian techniques on the bees’ natural response to nectar, a sticking out of their tongue, or proboscis extension reflex.

By rewarding them with sugar water, the scientists taught bees to give the same reflex action when they were exposed to vapors from explosives such as dynamite, C4 plastic and TATP (triacetone triperoxide), often used by suicide bombers.

As someone who lives in the world of sales training, I’m fascinated at what can be accomplished when a student is properly motivated.

You’re a trainer, too? Did you know that? You train your prospects every day.

You train them to ask for literature – when you send them literature.

You train them to hide behind voicemail – when you don’t set next steps in the form of actual, scheduled appointments (phone or face-to-face).

You train them to negotiate price – when you neglect selling value.

If I could fix just one of these, I’d like to go back in time and put a stick of dynamite (pre-bee training days) under the desk of the first guy who mailed literature when a buyer said, “Sounds great, send me your information.” It’s been downhill from there.

So what are you training others to do? Or not to do?

In a later post, I’ll address how to handle these poorly trained prospects. While you’re waiting, think about how to avoid these situations yourself. Just one change, one un-trained, re-trained prospect can land you a sweet sale. That’s like honey to a bee.

Leave a Reply