Posts Tagged ‘training’

Two Approaches to Sales Training

There are two approaches to training and employee development in the sales industry. One side firmly believes that the responsibility to become a fully trained salesperson is ultimately up to the salesperson. The opposing view encourages a company supported training platform that is designed to identify the best candidates and train them to reach their full potential. For anyone to be successful in the sales profession there must be a strong sense of self motivation evident. The most prolific in this field are considered to be self starters. Because most sales positions are commission based, a willingness to work and produce with little to no supervision is necessary.

People who need the stability of a regular paycheck often are not successful in the sales industry. The most productive salespeople typically enjoy the challenge of having to produce everyday to insure necessary compensation. Those that are willing to find answers and make things happen tend to be the best fit for sales. The attitude of not being denied serves many salespeople well. The culture that exists in companies that prioritize training and employee development is often positive and provides excellent results and below average turnover. There is a cost, however, to the company for providing this type of environment. A commitment from the top levels of the management team is truly needed for this type of workplace synergy to exist.

Whether the approach is based on individual effort or a company supported training platform, the desired result is sales and productivity with the least possible investment of time and resources. In other words, the most bang for the buck! A move towards the middle of these two extremes would have a positive influence on the perception the public has of the sales industry in general. The best pieces of the argument for self motivated sales professionals are their willingness to work hard and be held accountable. The training position states that the necessity of training and employee development will always pay dividends. Anyone that trains salespeople will always welcome a motivated trainee. Conversely, a new salesperson that is willing to do the work would definitely appreciate the opportunity to plug into an environment that will help them be successful. There is a great deal to be gained by merging these two approaches to achieve training programs that produce well-trained, motivated employees that contribute substantially to the overall success of their companies.

Not so fast my friend!

  • Employees coming and going is a part of doing business
  • They will not stay around for long
  • The revolving door is a part of life if you have employees
  • Just accept that you will have to constantly  hire and train new people
  • You barely get what you pay for
  • Good help is hard to find

Have you ever heard any of these gems? Have you actually said them yourself? Do you believe them? If so, I have five words I would like to share with you:

Not so fast my friend!

There are things that we all accept as truth because we hear them so much. Everyone has heard all of the above mentioned old adages and many more like them. Although there are certainly times that these may ring true those times are few and far between. Typically they reflect a limiting, negative attitude.

Don’t you believe for a second that your attitude does not influence the outcome. If you focus on limiting ideas you will get limited results. The old saying ‘if you don’t believe you can do something you are right’ is on the money. The good news is the opposite is true. If you will develop the ability and discipline to focus on the positive and take that attitude into everything you do the sky is the limit.

Now let’s get back to the employee issue. The reality is if you decide not to buy into the negative and instead to promote the positive you have to ask yourself why people leave your business. What makes the bullet points at the beginning of this piece reflect the realities at your company? It has been said that people do not leave bad companies they leave bad managers.

I would submit to you that most managers don’t even stop to think about the cost of extreme employee turnover. From uniforms to wages paid during training (in addition to regular wages) there are costs incurred. This does not even take into account the costs to your business when poorly trained staff is unleashed on your customers (which they invariably are).

Once you get yourself in a constant train and replace mode the effectiveness of the training suffers. If your people perceive that they are wasting their time (because of turnover) when you assign them a new employee to train the training will be less effective and will negatively  impact  your business. Any time your people don’t see evidence of your commitment to training and development you tend to see a decline in their overall attitude.

How do you demonstrate that you value training and employee development in your company? The first step is to actually value it. You cannot fake this. If you don’t believe in it your staff will not believe in it. The effects of great training are unmistakable.

The second step is to evaluate your interview process. How do people get hired at your company? Who does the interviews? Do they know how to interview effectively? Do you utilize a two interview process? These are questions that need to be answered. Effective interviewing is essential to bringing on quality candidates.

The third piece of the puzzle is to assess your new hire training protocols. If you don’t have any then you don’t have a training program. Regardless of the position there must be specific action items that are designated as necessary for a person to learn to be proficient. I would recommend that you establish benchmarks to assess the new person’s progress. The result will be a new employee that performs the functions of the job effectively.

The above is simply an overview of the steps one can take to move from constantly replacing staff to identifying and developing great employees. The proverbial revolving door will only exist if you allow it to. If you can’t answer some of the questions above find someone who can evaluate your operation and work with them to establish an effective hiring and training environment that will provide a great foundation to grow your business upon. Decide today that your operation is worthy of world class hiring,  training and employee development and you will be well on your way to being known as a smart manager.