If you’ve spent a lot of time – and money – on sales training that just hasn’t created the results you expected don’t blame your employees or yourself – the process itself may be at fault. Here are five ways you can ensure training success. This video is sponsored by the MyPlace4Parts Studio.
A well-designed and effectively executed sales and customer service training program can give improved customer relations and retention, increased productivity, less discounting and more profitable sales. Unfortunately, there are many reasons so many training initiatives fail. How can yours succeed?
Match the Program to Your Business Goals
Your participants might come away from a training session feeling that the content doesn’t apply to them or their role. This disconnect is a recipe for disaster. Your training program must be appropriate for your business and provide practical real-world strategies, processes and techniques that your employees can apply now. Special focus on communication skills will help employees effectively manage phone interactions with current and potential customers.
Get Engagement From The Start
Bosses often sweat the “what” and “where” about training and don’t ask the important question – Who? Sometimes, an existing employee is given the “opportunity” to lead a training session. While this may be seen as a perk – and, frankly, they may be outstanding in their normal role – training is almost never their forte. Their best efforts probably don’t carry the required weight nor have the desired impact with fellow employees – after all these folks all work together.
Many solid programs fail because the attendees weren’t engaged, became bored and tuned out long before any real gains were made. If you see that, it’s a clear warning sign you’re heading down the wrong path and won’t get where you want at the end.
Although a well-designed sales process is essential, too many service advisors are taught the steps of WHAT to do without really understanding the “why.” This often leads to employees who follow the sales process just because it’s policy, rather than buying in and truly understanding the principles that support the process.
Many times, training is treated as a one-time event. The session may be invigorating and exciting and employees are energized about their new tips. Yet, without a real follow-up program in place, performance can soon fizzle out and fall back to its original level. Research shows that without ongoing reinforcement, 90% of what is learned is forgotten within 60-90 days.
As with physical fitness, it doesn’t matter how good your workout was today. If you don’t continue to exercise on a consistent basis, you will never truly get in and stay in shape. Recognizing this, world-class sales and customer-service companies typically engage their employees in 100 or more hours of training in their first year, in addition to regular ongoing training in the years ahead.
This may be the most important step. Without proper evaluation, it’s difficult to determine performance and hold employees accountable for changing and improving their skills.
Evaluate activity at the point-of-sale, with special focus on phone process performance. You may already be recording your customer calls. If so, great – you’re halfway there. The other half — the more important half — is monitoring and evaluating how well employees are meeting, or not meeting, your system goals.
Here’s to better training, better measuring and better sales.