Top 3 Techniques to Train Your Sales Reps
If you ever worked on a sales team, you know what it means to put numbers on the board. If you ever had to lead the sales team, you know about meeting quotas, bonus incentives, balance and politics and the art of motivating your team. However, investing your time in a rookie sales rep, or a veteran sales rep new to your team is a big time committment for you. So nonetheless, you are looking for a quick return on your investment. Choosing the wrong candidate can cost you time and money.
If you are the lead trainer in your company, you are probably already pretty good at reading human behavior. Thus, you may innately know that your sales rep is either intrinsically motivated, or extrensically motivated. In other words, they are self-motivated, or need motivation to come from a source outside of themselves. Both can be good performers, but its up to the leader to define ahead of time who needs what.
For someone who is intrinsically motivated, there is a little more digging to do. For example, you need to find the source of their preferred reward. Some will be more deeply motivated by recognition vs. money. So an award of significance, like "top rookie of the month" may be more meaningful to them then the bonus on their paycheck. So to know the source of their motivation is key to working with a new sales rep. When you know what the source of their motivaton is, you can easily work with them to meet certain goals.
Same applies to a person who is extrensically motivated. If you know their source of their motivation, you can plan ahead for these types of performers. For example, if you know that they are a good sales rep, but they need more time with a leader to inspire them, you can set aside more motivational type training for them. It may mean that you have to start off each Monday morning with an inspiring type of news, or dangle a reward that appeals to them, such as hockey tickets, a show, or an extra day off for meeting their quota's early. Whatever it is, it's key that the tool you use has significance to the extrensically motivated person.
Once you understand what type of personality you are training, it's easier to focus on what techniques to use. Not all techniques work across the board. For example, some are visual learners, some are auditory learners, some do better learning by doing. So, understanding the training method you do use, must enroll and engage all types of learners. Thus a technique you may use in your training are not only visuals, or data driven, but may include experiencial learning.
My wife Nancy was recruited by a major credit reporting agency in her early 20's. I remember she was making a 42K base, plus car expenses, plus bonuses. Each rep had to sell 7 credit reporting services per month. The Regional Sales Manager took her on a few calls, and she learned by doing. For Nancy, she didn't have any problems on the phone, and she was well trained to focus on getting the appointment. Within the first month she met her quota.However, the senior sales reps took her aside and told her to slow down, and not to put more numbers on the board, because the compensation plan didn't exist to reward anyone for meeting quotas early, or for delivering more then quotas. Without her regional's manager knowledge of that this passive culture existed,she did back off, and put exactly 7 sales on the board every month. She did no more or no less of the expectation and shefollowed the pace of the senior reps. She was capable of selling 7 a week, but her job was on cruise control.When she sold more that month, she wouldn't submit the sale till the next month. The senior reps cultivated her to be like them. Slow and steady.
New rookies breath life and energy into existing teams. They arrive hungry, with something to prove. They have tons of energy, and look at everything as fresh. It's actually fun to work with them because they see the landscape differently, and they are still full of possibility. Veteran teams that are void of new training, can stagnate.New rookies with energy sometimes can represent a threat to them, and you'll find some teamswill attempt to put therookie in their place. Veterans that stagnatedo come from a place of lack, feeling there is not enough to go around. However, senior reps that simply continue to deliver outstanding performance, don't give any rookie bad energy. In the real world, where results count, creating the right balance in the team is critical. It's important for the leader to keep their team fresh. In today's world, it's important for every sales team to be up on how to use social media, email marketing and internet marketing. Teams without this knowledge will let their leads bleed over to thier competition.
Therefore, three top recommended training techniques are:
1) Use training methods that motivate and inspire both the intrinsically motivated person and the extrinsically motivated rep. Utilize things like suggestology, neural linguistic programming, leadership training, etc. All of these methods are excellent to improve your team and its performance.
2) In your interview process, make sure you gage what they are deeply motivated by: example, money, significance, love, If appreciation, etc. Everyone's currency is different. If you know this as they come in, your understanding of them will lead you to get better performance from them. This will empower you to use different scales of accountability training methods to get the top performance from your team. You can use techniques like intention mechanism to not only drive instant results, but to track, monitor and keep the team in focus.
3) Keep your team thirsty for knowledge. In otherwords, find a way to reward them for continuing their own persuit of knowledge. Give them access totrainings such as internet marketing, email marketing, social media, public speaking, tradeshow marketing, sales training and leadership training. All of these willstrongly benefit your business in the long run. One of your reps may be a genuis at cultivating leads online, and prove to be better at that method then cold-calling. Remember, we no longer live in a world where one hat fits all. Work on the strengths of each individual rep.
Lead by example. If they see your certifications on the wall, they will want to mimic yourinterestin the persuit of knowledge and success.We used to live in a world where you were only as good as your last sale. We now live in a world where you are only as good as your best rep. It's up to you how you build the culture of accountibility and desire.