If your company invests in sales training and sales management training for your team, that’s a good start. But you need to make sure the effects of that sales training last for longer than the training session itself. Keep the following points in mind when it comes to helping ensure the training actually sticks with the participants.
Hire people who are coachable and trainable. Do you have a way to find out who is willing and able to learn before they are hired? If you hire people who are not coachable and trainable, your training dollars will go right down the drain.
Avoid long marathon sessions. Salespeople – really, people in general – have short attention spans to begin with, and if they are trapped in a conference room for a full day or even longer, focus will wane. Minds will drift, and their phones will become outlets to regain productivity. Did you have the option for the 3 full day math course in college? There’s a reason you didn’t – it won’t work.
Reinforcement is critical. If you want to lose 10 pounds, you don’t go to the gym for one long work out and then never go back again. Unfortunately companies do this every day to their salespeople. One day sales training sessions can be productive for the very short term but within a few weeks people are back to their old habits. You have to return to learned lessons again and again to make sure they become a part of regular selling behavior.
Concentrate on real life application. If you hire a company who has a difficult time turning their theory or methodology into real life application, salespeople will have to make that connection on their own. That’s possible, but it’s less likely to happen than if it’s seamlessly done in the training itself. Additionally, if your people don’t see something in the trainers what they want to see in themselves, a credibility issue quickly arises. This furthers the disconnect between what they hear in training and what they experience in their day-to-day lives.
Maintain an accountability infrastructure. If your company’s infrastructure does not reinforce the systems and processes learned and help hold salespeople accountable, training can become part of the “what is it this week” syndrome. Your people quickly learn they don’t have to execute what they learn because they are not being properly managed. Hold salespeople accountable, and they are more likely to make an effort to use their training in their work.
Developing your sales force may seem like a daunting task. But when you find a company who knows how to make that development and training stick, everyone is pleased with the end result, including your new clients.
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