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Posts Tagged ‘Sales’

A lot of sales training is built around a sales process.  Here’s a quick test to see how effective your sales process is.  Ask the salespeople in your organization to list the steps in their sales process.  If they can’t fluently answer this question, it’s likely they aren’t following the process.  This is an indication that work needs to be done.

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DALLAS (September 8, 2009) – Roach Howard Smith & Barton (RHSB), a leading independent insurance brokerage firm and Assurex Global partner, announces the launch of an innovative, highly accelerated development process for Property & Casualty (P&C) Producers. This rapid development process is called a “Learning Path.” It will cut the time it takes new P&C Producers to become fully proficient in their role by at least 30%.  See the entire press release here

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I’m expanding an updating the Learning Paths whitepapers.  To order go to:  http://learningpathsinternational.com/whitepapers.html

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The ultimate goal of new software is to improve the way people work.  All too often is this the forgotten part of IT training because that responsibility is not part of the IT department.  IT wants to teach the features of how an application works.  It’s also because “hard” skills and “soft” skills are taught by different people or different parts of the organization.

Here is just one of many examples I’ve seen.  Company A builds a wonderful customer data base for front line salespeople to use.  The training focuses on how to enter customer’s into the system, access customer information and run reports.  However, company A  has never captured customer information in any detail.  It will take months or years to get all the information into the database.  Salespeople have never used this type of tool for prospecting or account management.  Marketing has never used a database program to do target marketing.

As a result, everyone goes through training and the program is seldom used and everyone forgets how to operate the program.  Does this sound familiar?

The solution is to teach how the job will change.  For example, how do I manage MY accounts using the new program.  This  includes how they salespeople will get the information to put into the program.  Salespeople are then taught only the program features they need for this task.

Photo Uploaded on May 9, 2007 by CellPhoneSusie

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Uploaded on August 13, 2009 by DABlanco69

K-12 is based on a fill up the bucket model.  You start with 13 years and then fill it up with topics or subjects.  If you have an empty space you can fill it up with a home room or study hall.  The same holds true for a 4 year degree in college or even a two-day training program in business.  The calendar is the boundary and filling it up is the goal.

What would happen if you flipped things around and said, “we have a goal and we are going to try and reach it as fast as we can?”  For example, we are going to teach you how to read at 500 words per minute with 90% comprehension as quickly as possible…And when you’re there, you’re done.  We aren’t going to fill up your time with busy work or confuse you by loading another dozen subjects at the same time.

If by this approach, you are able to complete k-12 in 12  years or less, the entire system can literally save billions of dollars.

In business training, you find that after a certain number of days that you reach a saturation point where there’s no more room in anyone’s head.  Staying focuses and accomplishing the goal will end up taking less them without wasting time.

So my slogan for improving public education, is..stop filling the bucket and focus on the goal.

Photo Uploaded on August 13, 2009
by DABlanco69

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Uploaded by Poofy Many people will tell you that top performers don’t make the best managers or leaders.  So what I wanted to post here are some of the things that only top performers bring to the position of manager or leader.  For our example, we will use the positions of sales manager and top salesperson.

For me, a great leader is the person who is first out of the foxhole and says, “Follow me, I’ll show you the way.”  A top performer is in the best position to help other salespeople with tough sales situations by saying, “Follow me, let’s go make a call together.”   When top manager who isn’t a great salesperson makes this statement, the subordinate is likely to say or think, “that’s okay, I don’t want you to screw it up.”  The top performer is someone who can lead by example with the respect of subordinates.  The top manager can only say, “I’m right behind you.”

Okay, whose going to be the best teacher, coach or evaluator?  The top manger who isn’t a top perfomer has to rely on want others  have written or said.  It’s not first hand experience.  If the salesperson offers push back or questions what the manager said, the manger is in a tough spot.  Whether you believe it our not, there are things that Tiger Woods or Jack Nicklaus can tell you about winning that even great golf teachers can’t and certainly beyond the average club pro.

There are certainly skills that great managers and leaders have that you don’t develop as a top performer.  There are many things that are a different skill set.  So what’s the best approach?  I think you need to decide if you should hire a great manager and teach them how to be a top performer or you hire a top performer and teach them how to manage.  You have to decide which one takes less time and which one is most cost effective.   (Picture Uploaded by Puffy)

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by billedgar8322Competency models look at a task, job or something like teamwork or leadership and ask the question what are the skills, knowledge and attitudes required.  Some models replace attitudes with attributes.  For our discussion either one fits.  What you end up with is groups of statements that break everything down into small pieces.  A sales competency might be around something like asking good questions or questioning skills.

When you break things down into small parts it looks like the picture of car parts above.  You’ve got a lot of pieces that you may not recognize as a car any more and you probably couldn’t put it back together again.  What’s missing is how things work together and what you need to do all at the same time. Salespeople don’t just ask good questions in isolation.  It’s part of an interactive discussion or presentation that is free flowing.  It’s not a questionnaire.

Instead if you start with a results measure such as gathers critical information you end up teaching the interactive process and not just the pieces.  In addition to the need to do things all at the same time, there is always an element of quality and time required.  Responding to a customer quickly shows a higher level of performance.  I’d ask the question, who is more competent, someone who got 800 on their SAT or one who got the same score in half the time?

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