There is no doubt that the medium of mass tele-communications has transformed in recent years. Customers and clients expect more, for less, faster and more efficiently than ever before. What is more, in the internet-age, everybody is an expert on the products they buy and the level of service they should receive. What then, can we do to keep up with the changing environments we work in, and keep our customers happy and coming back for more?
Successful salespeople have altered their mind-set, shifting focus away from the cold sell, to a more organic, developmental approach. Likewise, sales representatives must be aware of the shift their clients expect away from reactivity, towards more proactive resolutions.
This is why ensuring that staff training is regular and comprehensive is paramount. To make the most of training opportunities, here are a few pointers:
Assess learning needs and goals
Without assessment of skill gaps and learning styles, training will often fail to deliver at the right level. Be serious about a rigorous programme to initiate behavioural change and get results. Consider a ‘mini module’ approach to deliver flexible and customised content each and every time.
Facing ever-changing buyer mind-sets and organisational complexity, the days of running standard training courses are behind us. It’s now about customer-focused problem solving and strategic prospecting. Follow an agile and flexible approach and ensure that training content is always state of the art.
Too often training can be boring. When training is not relevant, not delivered at the right level, and too focused on lecture versus practise, it can have a negative impact on team morale and won’t result in behavioural change. Delight people with a range of work-based examples, interactive exercises and practical tools.
Make sure you have buy-in from all layers of management
No matter how good a training event is, approximately 90% of learning is lost within 30 days, if it’s not reinforced. By building programmes that involve and excite all levels of staff you can ensure new methods stick.
Coaching is a vital follow-up for on-the-job learning. Under the pressure of achieving quota, managers usually don’t find time for coaching sessions. If this is the case, consider third-party organisations with experienced sales professionals who deliver coaching on your behalf to ensure that goals and action planning actually happens.
In a world where customer expectations are fluid and informed, the need for innovative training cannot be underestimated. Salespeople and customer service executives must continually adapt to meet the needs of their clients – only training can give them the skills they need to reach the pinnacle of their potential.
By Richard Lane, Co-founder and Managing Partner at durhamlane, sales performance company. durhamlane is passionate about helping sales and non-sales people become the best they can be. They achieve this through consultancy, training and coaching services – creating, developing and delivering engaging training and coaching programmes that are designed to make a measurable difference. The training blends a mix of theory and practical activities. All staff are ‘business people first and trainers second’, so participants benefit from experiences and real-world examples.