This morning we held the first of three sales training sessions with a new client. Our audience was made up of current staff members that had multiple responsibilities, one of which was bringing in new business. Due to time constraints, each session will last approximately one hour.
We structured our classes so that the participants could experience success, as early as the first week. Included in the presentation was an analysis of where they are now in the sales process, a little about the target market and emphasis on the benefits that they deliver to their clients. Minimal time was spent developing the individual participant’s story and method of approaching prospects.
We ended the session with a loosely defined action plan to be carried out this week with a report to be given at our next meeting on the “good and bad” of their efforts.
Our goals when we accepted this assignment included:
- Establish a trust relationship with the participants
- Prove that our innovative training programs will work
- Convince management and the participants that sales training needs to be an ongoing process, not three, one-hour sessions.
One of the key components to a successful sales training program is the continuity of the process as well as the ability of the facilitator. In my experience, having management conduct the sales training is just as bad as having a sales training session that is a one-time presentation.
A good sales training program involves the understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the sales team so that they can learn to use their strengths. It also includes a complete knowledge of the company and the vision of the company. It’s not enough to teach someone how to make “cold calls”.
In this particular instance, the target market is very broad, and we did not have time to narrow the focus to what would be the best possible client.
Short term results are needed to encourage the sales staff; it tells them that the training is helpful. It also tells management that a sales training program is needed. Having an ongoing training process allows each session to build on the previous one and things like company core values, benefits and vision can be examined and incorporated into the sales process.
If you are fortunate enough to have a sales staff, even if it’s just one person, invest in a good ongoing training process that offers more than “sales techniques”.
Nick J. Petra CFP A good place to get good marketing and management ideas is at www.onebizcentral.com