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7 Step Sales Training
Sales Progress 11514 N. Port Washington Rd. Mequon, WI 53092
Sales Progress LLC
7 Step Sales Training Strategy
7 steps that guarantee sales performance and results.
In order to see results, companies need to design a strategy that is specific to each sales team’s needs. It should target: knowledge, skill & behavior.
Try out different methods and learn the different techniques to help you reinforce training. This is the key to successful training.
There is one more step to training. If you want to enhance employee’s performance, then you need to coach for real world application.
Coaching and Training Can Only Be Effective With Reinforcement
coaching is about asking and It doesn’t hurt when you hit your understanding why performance bottom line or increase your levels are the way they are. revenue as a result of sales, but However, it takes more than how do you get your employees to that level? How do you manage to just one coaching session to motivate and teach employees. increase their sales and the Managers have to provide a company’s overall profit? It only takes seven highly effective steps. sustainable learning environment or employee performance will Coaching is much more severely dwindle. Think about effective when driving employee how much training it takes to performance, especially inside become a pro-athlete; well that is sales and customer service how it works with sales. Constant personnel. Management is about coaching and learning are vital to telling people what to do; whereas, success. • 55% of employees listed “lack of post training implementation” as one of the top weaknesses of sales training. (Sales Performance International) Participants in sales training forget half of what is taught within 5 weeks. (Sales Performance International) ROI on training quadruples from 22% to 88% when employees receive in-field coaching and reinforcement. (Ventana Research)
Sales Progress LLC
Step 1: Specific Design Requirements
Selling is a hard job. Throughout the years, people have come to be distrustful and skeptical; so, salespeople need to be over-prepared when they go into any customer meeting. There is more to the job that meets the eye, and it is up to managers to make sure that their employees are fully prepared with the newest tools and tricks of the trade. Typically, sales reps are sent to training seminars to learn what is new in the industry and to refresh their skills. There are three main areas, or “tiers,” that are essential to any training that a rep receives. The first tier is knowledge. Salespeople cannot sell a product that they know nothing about. Customers will want to know what is in it for them if they make the purchase, and they will want to know how it is different from a competitor. Managers should hold regular meetings to go over the importance of understanding the product. During these sessions, managers should use the “teachthe-teacher” technique. Have an employee “teach” you how the product works as well as explain it’s features, advantages and benefits. This way you are able to gage what your employee knows. Skill is the second tier. Employees get into sales because, in one area or another, they have what it takes to be successful. That salesperson has the ability to perform a specific task, such as cold calling or actively listening, better than anyone else. However while employees may excel in some areas, there are going to be
Development starts with knowledge, skill and behavior-the three tiers of learning. Knowledge: Sales reps should know their product inside and out. They should know the features, advantages and benefits of their product as well as their competitors. Skill: Sales training sessions should be able to help employees improve in certain activities, such as cold calling or prospecting. If you notice that your sales representatives are struggling in specific work aspects then conduct a tailored sales training event. Behavior: While employees may have the skill set to cold call, they may lack the confidence, and that can seriously deteriorate sales. So, it is important that sales development help workers overcome some fear of sales.
places that could use some help. To improve certain skills, coaching sessions should be designed around practicing. During training sessions, employees should be actively engaged, and they should be participating and role-playing. This way, they will be prepared when a situation that they may be uncomfortable with occurs during a real world situation. Practice in the workplace does not need to be painful or even uncomfortable. Facilitating practice or role-playing sessions is critical for people to develop positive and consistent selling habits. It is much like public speaking. It can be terrifying, but it is easier to overcome with practice. The lesson is: good habits and confidence only come when salespeople and managers are willing to put in the time and effort. Finally, the last tier is behavior, which is having the ability to execute without fear and consistently without thinking. So for example, an employee may have a fear of cold calling. While employees may have the skill set to cold call, they may lack the confidence, and that can seriously deteriorate sales. Training sessions need to help employees overcome any fears that they may have. Coaching should be designed around role-playing and personal tests. Have an employee exaggerate the activity that makes them nervous. By over-acting, they will learn that it is not that difficult. Furthermore, have the rep observe another person who has a positive attitude toward the action. The rep will be able to pick up the mannerisms and language that a successful rep uses.
Adult Learning Style
Research shows that adults learn best independently and when the material comes in short spurts that do not take up much of their workday. This leads us to our first method of reinforcement: thirty-second coaching. This form should come in short bursts so that the information is kept fresh in a sales reps mind but does not distract them from their job.
Step 2: Short, engaging events
Training events are important to any salespersons learning. Seminars provide reps with the tools to succeed, but a majority of the time, employees are left feeling bored and they do not always see any appeal to spending their day this way. Think about it this way, most of us have trouble actively listening to a customer or co-worker for more than 15 minutes; so, it is difficult to imagine sitting through an all day seminar. Most people have short attention spans, and you do not want to spend money on something that an employee is not going to be able to sit through. So, make sure that seminars are short, two to three hours at maximum. Encourage reps to participate
during events. If they are engaged and attentive, they are going to learn more and apply more. Managers need to keep employees engaged with training at work as well, but be sure to Take into consideration the adult learning process and tailor your coaching sessions. After a seminar, sit down with employees in a group setting and ask them to explain what they learned and what parts they thought were applicable to real world activities. Group meetings encourage employees to listen to what others learned, and in turn, they may pick up something they may not have heard at the seminar. Another tactic to keep employees engaged and learning is the peer-to-peer meeting. Two sales reps are asked to sit down together and ask each other
questions and give advice. Not only do they learn from one another, but they also teach one another. This technique reinforces learning, and it encourages teamwork. Employees are more likely to open up about fears or anxieties that they may have when they are with a peer as opposed to with a manager. This helps to strengthen relationships and solve real problems. The thirty-second coaching technique is the quickest tool a manager can use. It is a short, direct, high-energy approach to building and sustaining change with repeatable short bursts. If you use this method, make sure to be specific to an employees needs and give positive feedback. Meet with your sales rep for thirtyseconds and ask them a direct question. Quickly find a solution and send them back to work.
The Only Way to Gain Confidence is to Practice, Practice, Practice.
Develop your skill sets.
Step 3: Dedicated Practice Sessions
Ded-I-cated: to devote wholly and earnestly, as to some person or purpose While you do not need to devote everything to your job, it is important that we do dedicate some of our time to enhancing our sales abilities because we should want to be successful as a sales team and as a company. Dedicated practice sessions refer to time put aside at the workplace for employees and managers to review what they have learned after training seminars. They engage employees in activities that will help reinforce key points of a seminar, and they simulate and practice for real world application The sessions should last about 30-40 minutes, and throughout the dedicated practice sessions, sales reps should be assessing themselves and their performance. This way managers can compare how they believe the employee is performing to how the employee sees himself or herself. Managers should use a score sheet that measures strengths and weaknesses. By referring to a score sheet, sales reps
can see where they need to improve, and they can take it upon themselves to enhance their performance in these areas. Our system of rating is called the Progress Coaching System. It uses a method that measures the level of performance against the defined functional requirements. The design allows for managers to pick various coaching approaches, and it then distinguishes between the employee’s perspective, the manager’s view and the actual gap between the two. During practice sessions, employees should be ‘dedicated’ to improving their abilities, and there are techniques that managers can use to show sales reps what they need to work on. They can resort back to group training, or they can even use the peer-to-peer methods. This requires co-workers to tell one another where there is room for improvement, and they can strategize together to come up with a solution. The last technique is selfdirected learning. Employees are asked to complete short activities within a defined area that help reinforce learning in small segments.
Sales Progress LLC
Step 4: Scheduled Management Coaching
When it comes to sales training, it’s convenient to take the easy way out, but that typically does not solve the problem. Instead, it wastes the company’s time and money. Training seminars, workshops and elearning sessions are a great way to kick off sales learning. However, it takes more than just a one-day event to get employees on track and motivated. While people forget half of what they learned in a training seminar in just a month, they also forget due to lack of reinforcement from a manager. • Employees will yield a 57% greater discretionary effort if they are engaged with management and continuously learning. (Leadership Council Study, 2007) • When sales managers are used to reinforce sales training, retention is increased by up to 63%. (Ventana Research) Statistics show that employees are more likely to remember and put into place the tips they learned at a workshop if their managers are there to reinforce it. So, if you want to see your sales team’s performance increase then you need to be constantly making sure that your reps are practicing. Do not wait months to follow up with your sales team. Make sure that they are applying what they learned and what you are reinforcing to the real world right away. Ask questions, such as, “Name two positive interactions you have had with a prospect or client since the seminar and training reinforcement sessions.” These types of questions will give you a reference point as to your employee’s progress. Furthermore, to create a sustainable learning environment, managers need to step up and get involved with reinforce training. Hold group meetings so that everyone can share what they learned that week or what they did to improve their sales. Another technique that works is one-on-one coaching. By sitting down with an employee, a manager can see exactly what they issues are, coach them through their problems and keep track of any problems or setbacks the employee has. Not only this, but a one-on-one meeting also allows for instant feedback so that the sales rep is not
continuing their bad habit over weeks or months. Training reinforcement is a series of small lessons or learning activities that reinforce and support a core concept or skill. So, have your employees engage in role-playing so that they can get the feel of how a situation will play out in the real world. Make sure that the lessons are short with a specific training plan that draws upon the real world. When you are meeting with your employees, make sure you are aware of which tier they have been having difficulties with. If their issue was in regards to the first tier, knowledge, then use the “teach-the-teacher” technique in a one-on-one meeting. To really know something is to have the ability to teach it. You can also have employees demonstrate to one another or in group coaching sessions. You can also ask an employee to look over industry articles before the meeting. Once in a one-onone session, ask them to name a couple facts that they learned from the readings. If the problem was skill based ask them to show you how to do something that would require that particular skill, such as closing. They should be able to demonstrate to you that their practicing and the constant coaching sessions have been paying off. When it comes to behavioral problems, have the employee complete a self-analysis before and after each meeting to see if they believe their anxiety is being relieved after practice sessions. Make sure that they can admit and address the issue.
Employees Engage and Learn the Most When They are Able to Sit Down with Their Managers.
Different ways management can coach
Step 5: Training Reinforcement Content
Most companies send their employees out to seminars expecting them to come back and be top selling sales reps, but this cannot happen if they forget everything they’ve learned weeks later. It is vital that organizations make sure their employees are continuously learning and applying the tips they picked up. Furthermore, it is the job of the manager to implement a training reinforcement plan to keep his team ahead of the competition. -Keep training reinforcement content short For example: Have staff read an article a week on the training topic and email two things they learned from the article. -Keep reinforcement activities required on a consistent basis For example: Have employees complete daily or bi-daily activities that require them to learn such as reading an article, viewing a short video, and/or listening to a podcast. The key is then to make it accountable by asking them two main questions: What did they learn? How will they apply the content to the real world (this gets them thinking about transferring the content versus it just sitting on its own)? -Draw upon your real world for application to actual business imperatives For example: Have employees name a customer they tried to apply the content to and email their manager the results. The key is to build in a "required" real world activity to ensure application of the training content. New technology has provided us with the ability to access content about sales and our industry from just about anywhere. Managers should provide employees with this content and material to encourage continuous learning.
Step 6: Best Coaching Practices
It is important that managers sit down with employees, either weekly or biweekly, to discuss their change and improvement. During this meeting, there are a couple of topics that should be brought up. First, managers should talk with their sales rep about their specific performance challenges. Managers should get an idea of what the employee thinks is their number one weakness. This brings the manager’s attention to the problem, and if they are aware that their rep struggles in this area, then they can watch to make sure that the employee is practicing improving in that area. Next, managers should ask the member of his sales team if he or she is having any difficulty with the training and practicing. An employee may not understand why they have to learn or change their approach to selling. It is vital that managers find out in advance any issues that someone may have with learning. Finally, an open discussion should evolve when having a one-on-one meeting. Both employee and manager should be able to freely talk about any strategies and techniques that can be used to enhance an employee’s performance.
Managers that coach effectively will see results from their sales team. Great managers know two things: 1. Don’t tell your employees what to do 2. Use positive language When you do sit down with your employees to discuss their performance, be sure to use positive words. As soon as you throw out a word like “wrong,” employees will shut down and stop listening. Instead of starting a sentence with,
This immediately changes the way a sales rep will react to the question. Furthermore, do not tell your employee’s what to do. If your sales rep approaches you with a question, do not immediately give them the solution. Instead ask, “What do you think you should do?” Together, you and your employee can figure out a solution, and without them realizing, they are teaching themselves how to solve the
Step 7: Real World Applicability
Companies can spend massive amounts of money to send their employees to the best training sessions and to the most effective training coaches, but if an employee does not apply what he or she learned in either then there is no hope for progress. This is where sales managers come in. Their jobs can be the toughest because they have to oversee their sales team and make sure that they stay on top of their game. This can involve asking employees for weekly updates on their sales, performance reviews or one-onone time spent going over how they have applied their learning. Managers have to be able to communicate and listen to their employees. They need to be able to quantify the results and evaluate whether or not the program worked. To do this, managers can ask salespeople questions like:
“Name a client that you successfully applied this training to.” “Explain what you were taught, and e-mail me how you integrated that into your day-to-day activity.” “Name two positive interactions you have had with a prospect or client since the seminar and training reinforcement sessions.”
proof that there is progress, then higher-level management will be more likely to continue coaching, and the company will begin to see profits grow.
At one job site, we faced a salesperson that was deemed fantastic. She knew the product, the industry and the overall selling practices. However, she had one problem that prevented her from being more than an average employee: active listening. She never listened to the customer or their feedback. So, we had her write down two things she learned about a customer after a phone call, and at staff meetings, she couldn’t talk unless called on. She began to realize
By asking these questions, managers can get a real look at how effective all the training and time put into teaching has been. If it was truly beneficial to the sales reps, then a manager should be able to see and to measure the results. Before training even begins, managers should set benchmarks and attainable goals for their employees, that way they can actually justify the money and time they spent. When there is
In the end, it is important that businesses provide employees with the opportunity to keep learning and improving in their field, and it is even more vital that they continue that teaching back in the workplace. Companies and managers should engage in post-training and reinforcement in real world applicability. Managers can use this seven-step sales training strategy to help their employees overcome fears and increase their knowledge. It provides tools for salespeople to use in order to enhance their performance. When employees and managers use this strategy, they will be able to produce a sustainable learning environment, and eventually, they will see their sales begin to rise.
About Sales Progress: Sales Progress, a Salebuilder Marketing Company, has over 20 years experience in building sales, customer service, and management teams to perform at their highest levels. From prospecting to management coaching to inbound lead generation, Sales progress has the skills to improve your team and increase your bottom line. With proprietary cutting edge training technology, Sales Progress has revolutionized training by creating programs proven to create true change and maximize return on investment for companies and their training. For more information please visit, http://www.salesprogress.com, Or contact President, Tim Hagen, directly by emailing, Tim@salesprogress.com.
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