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Archive for January, 2008

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Uploaded by premiardiego

Sales training often seems to be different versions of the same thing.  So what’s really new?  I think when you’re teaching prospecting or finding new business, you really should be talking about social networking.  This is especially true if your customers are under 30.  The picture above shows many of the sites that provide lots of free opportunities to network with people around the world.

I started searching for articles that would show the best strategy and what I found were a lot of promos for marketing help and offers to buy sales training.  Not as helpful as I’d like.  So I’m going to give it a shot.  Here’s what I’d do.

  • First, I’d set up a blog.  Write articles and invite others to comment on you are of interest that relates to what you’re selling or what you’re company does.  If, you’re in health care write about health care.  If you sell cars, write about cars.  Use this blog as your home base and as a way to establish you’re expertise.  Forget about selling at this point, you’re building your network of contacts. 
  • Second, put your blog address on your business card and emails.  As you do this keep in mind that what you write might be read by potential customers so keep it professional. 
  • Third, start by search for and commenting on similar blogs and see if you can do a link exchange in your blogroll.
  • Fourth, use lots of tags that will help others with your interests can find your blog.
  • Fifth, start to explore the related concepts and other free services.  Try a blog carnival.  Try a blog talk radio show.  Post your site on all the blog catalogs. 
  • Sixth, check your traffic.  What are people searching on and how do they find you?  Can you cater to those interests?  See if it leads you to other sites that you can model after.

I’m going to stop here and ask for your ideas.  What’s worked well and what should be guidelines to follow.  There are so many options and services it’s hard to choose.  Could this be a the new rotary club or chamber of commerce.  Give your thoughts.

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Recently I had an opportunity to lead a number of process improvement sessions.  One of the things that’s challenging is that it’s really a divergent/convergent process.  By divergent I’m mean that early on the discussion is expansive with a lot of options.  Later on as decisions are made the process is convergent leading to closure. 

As a facilitator, it’s important to allow the early chaos to happen because that’s part of the creative process.  I continuously remind everyone that this is a normal part of the process and everything will come into focus as we go along.  A lot of people are uncomfortable with this messy state of affairs and try too soon to organize things or cut off discussion.  You just have to push back and tell people to be patient.  I use parking lots to help record all those ideas that we won’t be dealing with in order to keep some focus to the discussion.

I also let people know when we are shifting gears and going into the decison making phase.  That’s the point were judgements are appropriate and necessary.  I find that when I train others on this type of faciliation that they have to see this happen at least once to fully appreciate what really happens.

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Photo by: Scott Beale laughingsquid.com

Here’s a quick tool that I often use to make all the informal meetings and activities more formal.  Here’s the example.  A new employee goes from department to department as part of an orientation.  It’s often different every new employee are there are few standards for what to do.  This is also the case when deparment heads appear in a classroom with their PowerPoints. 

 So what I ask everyone do to is fill out this short template.  It not only forces others to think through what they are doing but it’s a start of standardizing and improving the quality of training.  Here it is:

Activity Description

Type of Activity: _(Job Shadowing,Self-Study, Presentation, etc.)

Location: _(Department, Off-Site Visit, etc) 

Overview:

(Provide a brief description of the purpose, process and payoff of this activity.  Usually one short paragraph.)

Objectives:

(Describe what you expect the producer to get out of this activity.  Usually 2 or 3 short bullets.  Make them the answer to the statement that follows.)

As a result of this activity producers will be able to:

Activities

(Describe how you intend to conduct this activity, is it a short presentation, will they watch someone work, will they read product literature, will they role play, etc.)

Materials

(List any materials such as handouts, video, websites, etc. that you plan to use.)

Evaluation

(Describe any evaluation or testing your plan to do.)

Next Steps

(Is there any follow-up to this activity.)

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Here’s a great new site that I’ve found BlogTalkRadio.com.  It allows anyone to host their own talk radio show over the internet.  If you browse on over, you can listen in to other talk shows in progress to get an idea for your own show.

I’m planning to host a Learning Strategies Talk Show.  I’ll post up the time when I get it scheduled.  I’m really interested in others who would like to join in and share the show.  Just add a comment or drop me a note at learningpaths@gmail.com.

Anyone else doing a show like this or now of other services like this one?  I’d like to know that too!

I just found another site Talkshoe.com

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Four slice originally uploaded by mquest foto.

While everyone wants to quote Shakespere, Plato and Nietzsche here’s some quotes from the real philosophers of our time.

Yogi Berra..

  • “A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.”
  • “Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical”
  • I always thought that record would stand until it was broken.
  • “I never said most of the things I said”
  • “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded”
  • “There are some people who, if they don’t already know, you can’t tell ’em.”
  • “You can observe a lot by just watching.”

Gracie Allen…

  • “Brains, integrity, and force may be all very well, but what you need today is Charm. Go ahead and work on your economic programs if you want to, I’ll develop my radio personality.”
  • “The President of today is just the postage stamp of tomorrow.”
  • “This used to be a government of checks and balances. Now it’s all checks and no balances.”
  • “When I was born I was so surprised I didn’t talk for a year and a half.”
  • “Smartness runs in my family. When I went to school I was so smart my teacher was in my class for five years”

Casey Stengel

  • “All right everyone, line up alphabetically according to your height. “
  • “Don’t cut my throat, I may want to do that later myself.”
  • “Never make predictions, especially about the future”
  • “The secret of managing is to keep the guys who hate you away from the guys who are undecided.”
  • “There comes a time in every man’s life, and I’ve had plenty of them”

Groucho Marx

  • ” A black cat crossing your path signifies that the animal is going somewhere. “
  • “From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down, I convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend on reading it. “
  • “I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book. “
  • “I never forget a face, but in your case I’ll be glad to make an exception.”
  • I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn’t it.” 

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originally uploaded by wizhard.

I don’t know if this is true in every state but Minnesota as a program to provide matching funds for companies that want to provide training for their employees.  The program is a called Minnesota Job Skills Partnership.  It’s part of the Minnesota Department of Economic Opportunity.

The program focuses on different types of grants by the major ones are for training the stimulates employment (new hire training) and retraining potentially displaced workers.  The way the grant works is that a company works with a Minnesota college to submit a grant proposal.  The college administers the grant and provides services which can include subcontracting to consultants and other training providers.  The company must then match the grant either in cash or inkind services.  This includes paying the wages of employees who go through training.

I’ve worked on serveral of these grants with Century College and Dakota Technical College.  Both are great schools with a lot of good programs.  I’d be interested in know about similar programs elsewhere.

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 I’ve signed up for a Blog Carnival where others submit articles about learning.  Take a look at what I’ve been sent and let me know what you think.

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