Editor's Note: This blog has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness on June 22, 2020.
How many times have you thought you had taught someone to do something correctly only to get different results than you expected? Many inexperienced sales managers make the mistake during a sales training session of just telling someone what needs to be done or even explaining how to do it, but they leave out a very important step. Demonstration.
Glenn Pasch, COO and Partner of PCG Digital Marketing and PCG Consulting, outlines the eight steps of sales training.
It's important to follow a format similar to this in your sales training development process. You'll be most successful if you provide ample time for questions upfront and be sure to provide the learner with all the context they need before jumping into a demonstration.
If you skip any of these steps, you run the risk of the learner not focusing on what they are doing and time could be wasted. Another potential pitfall is that the learner will ask a host of basic questions, many of which could have been answered earlier, which could derail your progress.
8 Steps To The Sales Training Process:
1. Explain what needs to happen.
2. Explain why it is important.
Putting new skills in context of the overall sales training process helps big picture understanding.
3. Provide an overview of the steps before demonstrating.
Steps 1-3 all fall into the category of helping the learner understand an overview of the journey. This allows the learner to comfortably focus on the task at hand because they know what is coming next.
4. Demonstrate what needs to happen and have the learner watch each step.
Step four is the most important step. As mentioned, this clarifies each aspect of the task and how you want it done. Questions can be asked and answered so there is not confusion. This stops future instances where the learner would say, “Oh, I thought you meant….”.
Take the time to walk them through the step, making sure they are watching what you are doing so they can replicate behavior. Without demonstration you leave a lot of room for interpretation and the possibility of feeling frustration when you are not getting the results you need.
5. Watch them do the task and take mental notes to provide feedback later.
Step 5 is where you let the trainee practice. Don’t assume they are able to perform what you just demonstrated. One of the big mistakes for managers is just saying, “you got this, right?” What new person will risk a manager’s approval by telling them that they need them to repeat the training?
Make them do the task. If it involves a live interaction where it can impact business, you may want to role-play with them.
6. Provide feedback at this point in the sales training process. Share what is working well and opportunities to adjust.
Step six is about the opportunity to make adjustments. Make sure that you see them doing the task correctly a few times before you send them off on their own. Here are four ways managers can improve feedback to their team members.
7. Have them repeat back the steps verbally to anchor new behaviors in the mind of the learner.
Step 7 is often overlooked. Make sure they understand what they did and how the steps fit together. They may just have a good memory and can mimic what you did, but getting them to understand the process and repeat it back anchors it in for the future.
8. Follow up the next day to reinforce the new behavior and complete the final step in the sales training process.
I cannot stress following up enough. Follow up on all new behaviors. Do not ever stop checking. What you will do is gradually wean off checking their work as they improve.
Following this simple sale training process will improve the long term production of your team as well as making it easy for management to follow up on their progress.