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(SALES) Ten Ways To Be A Better Trainer

10-14-2013

Its been said that your only sustainable competitive advantage is to learn faster than the competition.

It is usually the responsibility of sales managers to ensure that learning is your stations competitive advantage. In the absence of "train-the-trainer" training, most of those managers will default to the deductive or "transmissionist" learning model. 

In that model, the trainer or the textbook transmits knowledge to the student. Old-school professors, for example, would lecture their students or assign reading material in order for them to memorise the text and pass a test. That transmitted "knowledge" was often forgotten shortly after they completed the test.

The more successful learning model is the inductive or guided discovery model where the trainer resists lecturing. In the guided discovery model, the trainer skillfully poses a number of questions and engages the learner in a number of experiments or experiences for the trainee to discover the solutions or knowledge for themselves.

When learners are guided to tap into their own beliefs, knowledge, and experiences to discover answers for themselves, they take ownership of those answers and practice and retain them.

Here are 10 tips to make you a better guided discovery trainer:

1.) Check your ego at the door, and remove the word "I" from your vocabulary. No one cares how you did things when you were a salesperson. Presumably, you have not hired stupid people. Guided properly with the right questions and exercises, intelligent people will discover what you want them to learn without being lectured.

2.) Accept the 80/20 rule. Only 20 percent of your trainees will enthusiastically embrace training thats designed to create behavioral change. Make your curriculum fun and engaging for the 80 percent who have no intentions of changing so that they dont derail or sabotage the learning experience for the 20 percent who do want to grow. Its the 20 percent that do embrace change who will lead your future success and who are well worth the effort.

3.) Be consistent. Have a clearly defined culture and goal and be sure your training is congruent with that vision. If youre training to develop a customer-focused sales culture, for example, resist the urge to initiate a one-day inventory clearance sale the first time you face a tough month. Always focus on your vision, and practice what you preach.

4.)  Its a journey, not a destination. Training is never "completed." To be productive, you need a consistent 52-week system to reinforce, measure, and coach the learned concepts. The three Rs of training are Review, Rehearse, and Repeat.

5.) Coach, dont criticize or tell. Tom Bradys coaches dont have to tell him what he was doing wrong. They simply play the game film. Brady can identify what needs improving himself. When prompted, your salespeople will also identify the solutions, and only when they cant should you intervene with your solutions.

6.) The first 30 days set the stage. First impressions are critical. Think beyond orientation and think onboarding to get new recruits on board with your culture and your brand. Salespeople who are new to your organization need to be quickly and positively socialized into your selling culture and your organizational goals.

7.) Measure, but dont micro manage. Training is about affecting behavioral change and improvement. Behaviours that get rewarded get repeated. Recognizing even the slightest behavioral  improvement is more powerful than criticising behaviors which have not yet changed.

8.) Engage in multi-platform, multi-sensory communication. The best trainers use video clips, flip charts, guest speakers, creative experiments, PowerPoint, case studies, questions, field trips, and a variety of communications techniques. Variety is the spice of training.

9.) Keep learning, yourself. When you were in school, the teachers you probably liked and respected the most were the ones who knew, and were passionate about, the subject matter. You quickly lost interest in the ones who had to consult a textbook to give you an answer to your questions.

10.) Be flexible. Selling radio advertising is part science and part art. The science can be systematized and very tactical, but the art must be allowed to shine through with each artist sharing their art with your team. Art is in the eye of the beholder, with each training participant deciding for themselves which arts they will embrace and practice.

A final word about training. Have a passion for the success of others. No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care. When your goal is to accelerate the success of others, rather than simply completing a course, your team will climb on board and give you the competitive advantage youre looking for. 

Wayne Ens, wayne@wensmedia.com,  is president of ENS Media Inc. ENS Medias "Winning in the New Media Economy" seminars persuade local advertisers to reduce their print advertising in favour of a new media mix with a strong radio component.




(10/26/2013 6:24:29 AM)
yKtThm Thank you for your article post.Really thank you! Awesome.

- NY

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