Wouldn’t it be great if your new salespeople could automatically perform at the level of your top salespeople? You’d undoubtedly save time, effort, and resources by not having to train anyone, and new employees could be profitable from the start.
Unfortunately, that’s not a realistic scenario—every new salesperson needs some training before they can fully understand their job and do it effectively. To make sure they get the most out of that training, you should include your top salespeople in the process.
Experienced salespeople have a large pool of wisdom to draw from, and sharing that information with new team members can help them tremendously as they learn the ins and outs of the sales world.
In this article, I’ve outlined a three-step training process that allows experienced employees to teach the new ones, ensuring that every employee is a top performer.
The 3-Step Training Process
No one takes a sales job because they want to read. However, there will always be a certain amount of training materials necessary for new team members to review before beginning. This allows new employees to, in a sense, train themselves by learning the processes they’ll need to follow and key issues they’ll need to address before being put in a real sales situation.
A great way to compile this material is to regularly consult with top salespeople about their approach to the job. Ask them what attitudes, behaviors, and techniques have helped them become successful, as well as typical questions they ask during calls, what they send in emails to potential customers, how many days they wait to follow up with clients, and more. Once you’ve gathered this information, put it together in a printed orientation handbook. This gives new team members something tangible that they can keep and refer back to when necessary.
The next step in the training process is to have new employees watch experienced ones perform daily activities. A great way to do this is to implement the “buddy system.”
The best thing about the buddy system is that it gives new salespeople an opportunity to ask experienced employees any questions they may have. And if you’re onboarding multiple people, each person can be assigned to a different “buddy,” which creates a co-training scenario. This spreads the training workload across several people, rather than just one.
Another benefit of the buddy system is that it doesn’t require much of the manager’s time—all the manager has to do is assign pairs and let the experienced salespeople take over. Then, a few days later, the manager can check back with the new employees to see what they have learned. This system is easy to implement, and gives busy managers time to focus on other things.
Although steps one and two are important, step three—doing—is probably the most effective. After all, the best way to learn how to do something is to do it!
Before putting employees in actual sales situations, a good way for them to gain experience is through role-playing—have top employees perform a few different sales scenarios while the new employee practices what he or she should do. Role playing allows new employees to translate concepts into action and begin modifying their behavior before actually having to deal with real prospects.
The experienced salespeople can give feedback after each scenario, and if the new employee does something wrong, they can simply try again until they correct the issue. After the new employee feels comfortable, they can be placed on real sales calls.
If you encourage top salespeople to share their experiences with new ones, and create easy-to-understand procedures around that concept, training new employees can be simple.
For even more help with your training process, look to a CRM. An effective, easy-to-use CRM that allows you to complete the entire sales process from start to finish will greatly reduce the amount of training your employees need, freeing everyone up to do their jobs and make more sales.