Most Sales learning and development happens on the job, in the selling situation.
To consolidate this, live performance coaching with feedback and analysis is the key. If they are being shadowed, then specific feedback can easily and effectively be given right after the sales call or meeting. This allows the salesperson to reflect on the events while they are fresh.
The sales meeting and discussion that takes place there is another opportunity to give feedback to the team members, and also to offer coaching.
Feedback, counselling and mentoring allow your staff to grow and improve their performance. The tone needs to be one of trust, not judgemental
Review, team and individual
Encourage each member of the team to reflect on experiences. Teach them to analyse every day, and consciously identify what they have learnt each day.
Regular discussion and analysis facilitates learning. This can be in the form of a forum, with all the team discussing successes, failures and problems. What problems have people experienced, how would the rest of the team have handled that situation?
In this way, they learn from each other, hear about colleague’s meetings, strategies and approaches and may see new ways they could have dealt with a problem. Find the things that your top salespeople are doing and share it with the rest of the team.
Who’s done well, why?
Who’s done badly, why?
Do we need to change something in the process?
We have talked about sales meetings, feedback, coaching and review. This is a great opportunity to promote Best Practices if it is done in a semi-formal manner, with a manager or supervisor controlling the conversation, guiding and mentoring. They can emphasise points from the theoretical training, such as effective listening or knowing your product, or negotiation skills, in the process. They can revisit points from the training. The effectiveness of this relies heavily on the skills of the supervisor or manager.
Sharing success stories can be a feature of Best Practice meetings. This raises morale and encourages a team spirit, and is a great way to end the meeting on a high note.
It’s a great idea to reward someone publicly whenever appropriate. It doesn’t have to be a high value reward, it is the public recognition that is important. Perhaps a small gift, such as a bottle of wine, a voucher for a local restaurant, a half days’ holiday?
This promotes a little competitiveness in the team, encourages them to develop their skills, and increases confidence.
If there’s a recent product launch, let everyone know all about the new product to build their confidence and competence with the new product or products.