Good News! Your sales associates can know virtually nothing about your business, yet still succeed as long as he or she knows how to sell. On the opposite hand, an associate who knows everything about your business, but nothing about sales will most certainly fail. The secret to success is that there is no secret. Start with the basics. The basics act as a foundation for your organization and give everyone on your team a common language. If you don't speak the same language as a team or as a sales professional, you stand to lose many a sale. So, let me share a simple training outline to guide your long term success as a manager:
- Make your salespeople independent of you -- not dependent on you. Teach them to stand on their own two feet and not only will you save time but they will become confident and more efficient.
- Set a good example for your team. Your sales staff will do as you do, not as you say. If you don't practice what you preach, you'll fail as a teacher. The sales manager who adopts principles before teaching them serves as a great example and will be most effective.
- Stretch their comfort zone. Sales people are most successful when they go out of their way to meet and greet new people. Show them that this is necessary. Not only will they increase the number of prospects in their book of business, they will also create new friendships and alliances.
- Don't let them fail. When given the option to fail, sales people will choose failure 70 percent of the time. Why? Because it is easier. Your sales people will only be as good or bad as you train or allow them to be. If you have low producers, the fault may be in the training technique. Make your sales people role-play common selling situations to strengthen the basics and give them confidence to do things in the right way.
- Pretend they don't know the correct technique and willingly demonstrate it. You can take someone aside and show them the right way to do something without sounding condescending. When your sales people are slow to remember, make them role-play the situation until they feel comfortable.
- Take small bites. Teach your sales people a little at a time, over time. That’s what makes spaced training so effective. Teach too much too soon, and failure is bound to occur.
- Teach in the classroom, but also teach in a live situation. Pair up your inexperienced sales associates with a mentor. However long or short the relationship, nothing can replace the amount of learning that will occur by being part of a real situation.
- Make training part of your success equation. Begin by telling your sales people what you intend to teach them. After this, have them role-play the situation until they are not only comfortable with it, but you are comfortable with it as well.
- Listen to the hits. Zig Ziglar told me that anyone can get a college education while driving around in their car. As sales professionals we may spend more time in a car than most. Use this to your advantage. Load up that ipod with more than just music and keep a good supply of training CDs available for your sales team. Encourage your sales agents to acquire their own audio training library as well.
- Training is everything. A well trained sales team will generate more sales, more profit, and less turnover (with fewer headaches!)
- Experience is the best teacher. There are two ways to learn from experience. Either learn from your own experience, which takes a long time, or learn from someone else's experience. It is my hope that by sharing my experience with you, you will be saved years of heartache.
I hope you’ll find this set of “basics” a real guide to helping your sales team, both new and experience get the most from their career, while you enjoy getting the most from your team of professionals. Know that my team is always a phone call away as well should you wish to learn more ways to grow your organization or help your team develop the must-have skills for success. Please visit www.floydwickman.com or call our office at 1.800.910.5351 today.