Training: It’s not just how, but who you train
Has this ever happened to you? You’re the top performing seller on the team. Sales comes natural to you, and you’re very good at it. Wham, they make you the sales manager. Now what are you supposed to do? Am I close?
Source: Jeff Schmidt, RAB
My lesson was: I may have been a great seller, I was not a great manager. I was caught in “the paradox of sales management.” I was getting paid more for doing less of what I got promoted for doing more of. The rookie mistake I made was to try and make everyone sell like me. It worked for me, so logically, it should work for everyone, right? Wrong.
I’ve worked with some great sellers. None of them sold exactly like me. They had their own style, their own personality, and they were incredibly successful. What I learned quickly as a manager was that my job was not to get people to sell like me. My job was to get them to be their very best.
I learned that sales training doesn’t always work. Naturally, I blamed myself. I must not be a good trainer; I must not be inspiring them. What confused me was that training was working very well with some, and not at all with others. Then I read an article from Tom Stanfill at ASLAN Training and it all made sense.
There are four types of people on your team:
1. Independents: Sellers who are meeting or exceeding performance levels, but show little or no interest in changing. They show up to sales training because they have to, but they will not change their behavior as a result because they don’t think they need to.
2. Detractors: Sellers who have substandard performance and lack the willingness to change.
3. Strivers: Sellers who have a very strong desire to improve and grow, but are not currently meeting performance levels.
4. Achievers: Sellers who have a strong desire to improve and grow and are meeting and exceeding performance expectations.
Once you identify them, you can customize your training and coaching. Here’s how:
Achievers -- the strategy is to reward, retain and challenge. You reward them with your time and attention. You focus primarily on them, challenging them to try new things. Utilize them as “mentors” to others or to lead training discussions.
Strivers -- the strategy is to “show them the way.” Help them create a personal development plan. Hold them accountable to their plan. You provide frequent feedback and course corrections as necessary. Share with them “how you did it” and how others do it, to give them options as they find their own way. Role-play is a great tool with Strivers.
Detractors -- don’t waste time. Spend that time on recruiting.
Independents will come to you when they are stuck and need help. It won’t be often. As long as they are hitting their goals they will be satisfied. And as long as they meet the company goal assigned to them they are pretty much good to go.
If your current training methods aren’t producing the results you want, perhaps it’s not “how” you’re training, but who. I’d be happy to have a conversation with you if we can help.
Think Big, Make Big Things Happen!
Jeff Schmidt is SVP-Professional Development at the Radio Advertising Bureau. You can reach Jeff at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 972-753-6765.