Today, Joe Ryder talks to us about 3 critical actions a sales manager can take in order to help new hires survive initial sales training.
“So, you painted as bleak a picture of the job as possible in order to cull the meek and feint-hearted from your roster of new sales talent: a veritable wasteland of perpetually postponed meetings and day after day of fruitless cold calls. Then there are prospects that literally suck the life force out of your very being with inane questions, impossible scenarios and agonizing price negotiations only to have the project scrapped by the actual decision maker. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do during initial sales training that will truly prepare newbies for the harsh reality of outside sales. The new hires listen indulgently but are positive that you are exaggerating to make a point. These anecdotes are regarded as folk tales akin to your grandfather’s anachronisms that invariably begin with ‘In my day,’ or the stereotypical ‘Way back when.’ To their credit, new sales talent comes in intent on setting the world on fire and showing you how the new generation does it. But all too soon the prospect of being thrown into the heat of the race doesn’t sound so bad compared to the reality of embarking on a new sales career.
The first few months of training are vital to the success rate and longevity of new sales professionals. Providing a consistent training platform is a key factor in that regard. Here are 3 ways a sales manager can help new hires survive the heat of training.
1. Create a secure environment in the nest. It’s tough outside. Make the home office environment a safe haven. Celebrate the small victories with public kudos. Announce to the staff when a meeting is secured, a quote is delivered, or an order is signed. This is not only good for morale, but also introduces an element of competition. Healthy competition is an important motivational element for both new and seasoned reps alike.
2. Kick them out of the nest. Get them out of their comfort zone. The best way to prepare for that is by role-playing. The use of role-play among the staff in many ways creates a tougher environment than they may face outside. Tough questions and critiques from peers are usually more stress inducing than actual client meetings. That being said, inside training will only get you so far. Once you are confident that your new sales rep understands your organization’s products and services, kick them from the nest. The sooner they get outside, the sooner you both will know if the job is a good fit.
3. Pair them with a senior account manager. Talk is cheap. The best way for new hires to get a flavor of what the job is really like is to pair them with a senior rep. Your seasoned reps will appreciate a resource for bird-dogging new clients and your new hires will see first-hand how to interact with clients in various scenarios.”