As business owners, we all want to increase our sales. One of the ways to do that, is brush up our sales skills. That leads us to get sales training for ourselves and our teams. Sales training is great. It’s a good refresher. It reminds us to be more consistent in our activity. It helps us brush up on our skills and learn new ones and it can be motivating. But what happens after the training? How much do you and your sales team retain? Does the training provide the impetus for real behavior change?
After the Training
“The training was great!”
Yes, it was, but will it make an impact on sales? I’ve been in the sales training business a long time. Since 1994 to be exact. I’ve seen companies spend lots of money on training, only to have everyone go back to business as usual the next week. Of course some of them incorporated a few things they learned but on the whole overall behavior didn’t change and there was no lasting effect.
[Tweet "No one leaves a training of any kind with 100 % of what was taught"]
Our brains only have the capacity to take in so much new information at one time. So no one leaves a training of any kind with 100 % of what was taught. Our capacity to learn can be a limiting factor of any training. Another limiting factor is assimilating that new information and using it to change our behavior. Most of us are reluctant to change, unless we see a need or are forced to change. So even when we learn new information, we may not use it. If we do want to change our behavior, it may require practice.
A Great Example
I ran a training on handling objections for a client of mine. Their close ratio was only about 20%. It seemed to be the price but it wasn’t. They were losing deals because prospects didn’t understand the features, so they didn’t see the value for the price. During the training I taught the salespeople to ask more questions prior to trying to close the deal and to understand what features the prospect was most interested in before educating them and trying to close. We also discussed helping the prospect understand their return on investment. We role-played a bit during the training and thought they were ready to go out and try the new sales process. Sadly, things did not change the way we thought they would. What we discovered was the team didn’t have enough practice, so under pressure they reverted back to their previous behavior that held the low close ratio. Of course we gave them more practice over the next few weeks and things improved dramatically.
It’s tough to incorporate enough practice and each salesperson will learn at their own pace. The fact is, the practice has to continue until the behavior has changed. That could take a few weeks or a few months. Salespeople need a safe place to practice and then to try what they practice in the field, with guidance. This takes a lot of coaching from the sales manager or peer mentors, but it is imperative.
I recently found
tool for providing ongoing practice for any type of training, but of course, I use it for sales training. I still do role-play during a training but now I incorporate it for reinforcement long after I am gone. I build the role-plays on the platform and they are there for my clients to use, forever. The platform is easy to use and a sales manager can record a new role-play any time a new sales issue comes up.
Email me at email@example.com, and let’s chat about sales training best practices!
Alice is nationally known for her expertise in elevating sales to increase valuation for companies with a B2B complex sale that have exceptional growth potential. She’s originally, from the widely known Miller Heiman Group. Spending her time strategizing with CEOs and their leadership teams to build the strategies that find new business and grow existing accounts is her passion. Her clients love her spirit and the way she energizes their sales organization.