Keeping Your Sales Training Current
When people envision a salesperson they tend to think of a smooth talker and possibly even a yes man. The truth is the most effective salesperson is a superb listener. Instead of those who are always trying to be inline with or a few steps ahead of clients, it's the sales reps that sit back and listen to their clients' pain points and needs that truly succeed.
This practice gives a sales team time to digest and create a call/plan to action to correct or ease some of their prospects' discomfort. Effective listening is a hard skill to find or train but comes with time as sales reps hone their skills over time. This article contains tips on keeping your sales team educated and current:
Live training and detailed responses
A majority of your sales team's talent acquisition will happen during live encounters. The most important part of live training is those five minutes after a call or meeting concludes. This is when a supervisor or manager has the most input and will leave a lasting impact on your staff.
It is the time to build up their confidence, let them know they did well, or when they need to maybe redirect a conversation to point the issue at hand in the right direction. Sometimes customers' frustration can block their actual need to get things fixed. It's our job to help provide that minor correction.
Sales are always driven by goals both personal and departmental. Achievement-based training is another great option to use. Set goals for sales staff when they break account records, for example: first account, 50th account, 100th and so forth. These are milestones that will build up over time and cause a subtantial increase in confidence.
What is micro learning?
Micro Learning allows people to consume and apply newly learned techniques quickly without being overwhelmed. In the business context, micro leaning is extremely valuable. Multiple studies done by global business magazine Forbes have shown that multi-day training events and seminars are essentially a waste of money. More than 50 percent of the content covered is forgotten within six weeks; even less is applied to the sales process.
Overtraining can actually hurt your sales team(s). At Fluid Pay, we call this a talent crusher because over training an individual leads to no one thinking outside the box. This is a push/pull mentality that needs to be avoided.
A great example of micro learning is TED talks. These talks last about 15 minutes, which keeps things motivating and manageable. This is a great way to deliver new information to your team ‒ and information they will actually retain.
Bad habits to avoid
Here are five bad habits to look out for and discourage in sales staff:
- Talking too much, without listening
- Asking the wrong questions
- Losing control of the conversation
- Ending calls with no commitment or plan of attack
- Failing to differentiate the company's product or service
Be an active user
All companies should require new team members to use the products they sell on a daily basis so they can assimilate with their future customers. What are the pain points of your solution? Is there anything worth changing? Things evolve over time, and if your software or service does not, then you will be abruptly left behind.
Having regular hand-on experience with your company's products also will help with discussing certain aspects of a product or service on a deeper level because you have experienced the same. This will even result in good feedback when things are running in the right direction.
Do you have your own support staff? If so, doing something simple like placing your sales rep or exec into the support office to train for an hour a day for a month will also give them the real live experience they need while the support staff oversees. You are also opening up great camaraderie between multiple departments, which is always a good thing. Sales and support need to jibe.
Share your success stories!
People learn from experience. Sharing mutual successes, even if they are from the past, will instill a sense of unity and accomplishment inside your company. It will help foster growth. Coupled with the other suggestions herein, this is a great tool to continue education in a low-key environment through conversation. Convert your staff from superb listeners to selling superstars.