So you have spent time or money or both on an intensive sales training program for your team. You have either conducted it yourself or hired an outside agency. The training itself was amazing. You and your team are convinced that the topics, tips and strategies covered will be the magic ingredients that will ensure the sales goals for next quarter will be met. Even exceeded! Cue the “high fives”. Everyone. Is. Pumped. Fast forward two weeks. You as the leader happen to be on a sales call or listening in on a telesales conversation and you notice your reps aren’t using the tools gained from the training class. Wait? What is happening? Everyone was pumped! They had magic bullets and were prepared to use them! Why are they resorting to the same ineffective strategies they used pre-awesome sales training? I have three words for you: No Sales Coaching.
Without ongoing reinforcement and sales coaching by your leadership team, often even the most competent sales professionals will simply revert back to old habits. According to a Forbes article on leadership, Neil Rackham conducted a study illustrating that if there was no coaching or reinforcement strategy in place post training, there was a drop-off of 87% of the knowledge acquired. So you may be thinking, “these are grown adults, how could this be? Are they not interested in applying what they have learned?” This is where leadership comes in. Let’s face it, change of any kind is very challenging for most people. Encouraging a change in behavior requires a strategy of reinforcement from leadership in order to make it “stick”. You have come this far by investing in sales training, now it is time for the real pay-off. Does it require more time and possibly money? Absolutely. Will it be worth it? Unequivocally.
Imagine investing in a personal trainer to come and train you on a fitness program – once. First of all, no personal trainer with any kind of integrity would let you do that. Second, it wouldn’t work. Any newly learned activity needs to be implemented and reinforced regularly and repetitively in order to become a new behavior which leads to an improvement in results. Not unlike health and fitness, when it comes to sales training, many are often looking for a quick fix for the least amount of investment. And there are plenty of training companies out there ready to promise you just that. The fact is, sales training without coaching is just like hiring that personal trainer one time. Solid sales training is the foundation on which ongoing coaching and training is necessary when it comes to building the skills of your team.
How does one effectively coach? As I always say in my sales training sessions, there is always more than one way to get it done, however, below are a few ways we have found to be tried and true:
- Find a way to connect the sales reps’ activities to their daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals: In other words, show the individual how this new learned behavior will have an impact on their individual goals, both for the company and for them personally.
- Dedicate one on one coaching time: Covering the sales training in future group meetings is fine, but not enough. One on one coaching is key to ensuring your reps are getting the most out of the training and using it effectively. You will see that everyone catches on differently to the tools and information from the training, and it is your job to make sure they can apply it appropriately.
- Give feedback on specifics and on general behaviors and activities: It’s important to coach to a situation, however, make sure you can connect the dots for your sales person, showing them how this specific coaching can apply to other scenarios in general.
- Always demonstrate their role in the “big picture”: Often times, sales people can begin to feel like leadership sees them as one big dollar sign, rather than an individual with a desire to contribute. Make sure you speak to this in your coaching. Just because you spoke about the big picture stuff when they were first hired, or in the occasional sales meeting, doesn’t mean you are connecting the dots for that individual. Make sure they know they are a part of something significant.
If you are looking for a sales training and reinforcement strategy, make sure to contact us. We offer a free evaluation of your company and your team and will propose the best possible solutions when it comes to reaching your sales goals.