An excerpt from the Complete Sales Action System
New salespeople need lots of one-to-one sales training and experienced people need to be “tuned up” from time to time. One of the best ways to accomplish the above is with Field Sales Training and Development Calls. Here are a few suggestions.
Half to a full day
A 20 minute call with someone is not enough time to get into the flow. Try and give the salesperson a full day or at least a half an day. This gives you a fair look at the person and it also gives both of you the time to uncover deeper issues or the time to begin implementing new ideas.
Why am I going?
Just as you suggest to your salespeople, you have to have objectives if you are going out on the call. They could be one or more objectives similar to the following:
1. Develop rapport with the salesperson
2. Teach certain skills
3. Monitor progress
4. Introduce and educate on new products or services
5. Provide support
6. Try and discover why performance is down
7. Find out why this person is such a strong performer.
Why am I Here?
Before the salesperson makes the call makes sure he/she has certain objectives in mind. If you know what the salesperson is attempting to achieve, it is easier to assess, support and train. In the case of in store sales training, or in a showroom at a dealership, or in an office or a bank the above two points on knowing why would still pertain.
E.g. As a customer is walking towards a showroom, the salesperson could quickly let you know his/her objectives.
Sales Training or Selling
If your main objective for the morning is to train the person then do not butt in and take over if the salesperson is not doing too well.
Let the salesperson do it
Let the salesperson handle the sales call. Be aware that if you are with the salesperson he or she will be a bit uncomfortable and probably not perform at his/her normal level. By letting the salesperson handle the call or situation, you show confidence in him/her and you also demonstrate your commitment to training and developing his/her sales skills.
The exceptions to this rule are:
a) You don’t want to risk a large transaction. If a salesperson is in the middle of losing a large transaction because of lack of skills, why is he/she handling this account at this time? All rules are made to be broken under special circumstances. If you see a big transaction going out the door and you cannot afford this, jump in and save it. Afterwards apologize to your salesperson, explain why you did it, and review what you both learned from this experience.
b) Agree in advance. This is where you let the salesperson know you will handle the call to demonstrate what to do.
After the call, do the following:
1. Ask the salesperson what went well. Listen to the feedback, suggest a few other areas where you felt it went well and agree with the salesperson on his/her points if appropriate.
2. Now ask the salesperson where and/or how he or she could have improved or been more effective. Listen! Most of the things you would have pointed out, a salesperson could probably tell you if you give him/her time. It is insulting and demotivating to be told something about yourself when you are about to admit it without the prompting. Once the salesperson is finished you can then expand on a few areas where you felt he/she could have been more effective.
3. Now ask the salesperson where he/she could see future or new opportunities with this client and then add your own.
4. Ask him/her to identify possible problems that could come up in the future and how to rectify them. Add your point of view.
The above 4 approaches let the salesperson feel accountable and respected and at the same time helps him/her take responsibility for the future.
Coach Feedback Form
Design a simple feedback form for the end of the day or for a specific meeting. Have the salesperson rate him/herself on a scale of 0 to 10 and explain his or her reasoning. Listen first before giving your opinion.
Also ask the salesperson how you could be more effective in the one-to-one sales training and development process. Listen!
Thank the Salesperson
Thank the salesperson for the day and re-cap the positives. Remember how often someone has suggested to you to do things differently and you defended, but a week later you saw the wisdom in the suggestion and changed your mind. Be patient.
This sales training blog entry is an excerpt from the Complete Sales Action System a 25 module sales system used by major banks, insurance companies, automotive manufacturers and dozens of other organizations in North America (Canada), South Africa. Written by Bill Gibson, The Complete Sales Action System is published by Knowledge Brokers International a sales and leadership development company with offices in Canada and South Africa. Quick links: sales training South Africa – sales training Canada
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