We have all been there, subjected to boring, instantly forgettable training.
I remember, many years ago when I was first training to be a sales person that I attended a three-day course. It mainly consisted of sitting in a room and listening to someone drone on about various sales techniques.
I am certain that I had forgotten most of it by the end of the week. Despite my best efforts to pay attention, I certainly did not actually do anything very differently because of attending the course.
This means that it was a pretty much a complete waste of time and money. Given that the entire point of sales training is to bring about behaviour change, in this case it simply did not work.
In contrast, consider what happened when you learnt to drive. It probably went something like this……..
The basic controls were explained and demonstrated.
The ‘rules of the road’ were explained.
From now on, you are in the driving seat…..
You were taken through various tasks one at a time, pulling away, steering, changing gear, braking and so on.
Over a period of several weeks, you practised the skills, gradually adding in more as your level of skill improved, such as reversing, overtaking and parking.
You probably practised the skills in between lessons, until they became habits.
Some of those skills were more difficult to acquire than others. So you kept practising them repeatedly until you mastered them.
You ventured onto different types of roads and traffic conditions.
You learned what to do in unexpected situations, e.g. emergency stops and breakdowns
Until finally you had acquired the skills and experience needed to take and pass the test.
So why is the learning to drive approach more effective than the training experience I had at the start of my sales career?
Here are the dramatic findings of some very interesting research into the effectiveness of different training approaches;
• 5% of learners will transfer a new skill into their work because of learning a theory
• 10% of learners will transfer a new skill into their work because of learning a theory and seeing it demonstrated
• 20% of learners will transfer a new skill into their work because of theory, demonstration, and practice during the training
• 25% of learners will transfer a new skill into their work because of theory, demonstration, practice, and feedback during the training
• 90% of learners will transfer a new skill into their work because of theory, demonstration, practice, and feedback during the training — when it is followed up with on the job coaching.
There are many important factors at play here, but these are the top four.
1. Timing, relevance and pace – you learn to drive when it is most relevant to your life and circumstances, at times that suit you, at your own pace. Frequently sales training is done on a ‘sheep-dip’ basis where we just put everyone through as quickly as possible, whether the timing is right or not and whether it is relevant to them at that moment.
2. Drip feed, not Flood – with driving, your learn over an extended period of time, allowing the skills to build through repetition and practise. If the training is delivered as a single ‘flood’ then it tends to wash away as quickly as it came as the memory fades.
3. Active, not Passive – with driving you are continually involved and active in the process, as opposed to just observing it happen. By actively using the skills, over and over, you establish new habits and replace old un-helpful ones.
4. Follow-through – with driving, once you pass your test, you have a two-year period where you are subject to special rules. You probably had someone keeping a watchful eye over your driving and supporting you as your confidence grew. Often with training, you are on your own the moment you leave to room or quit the program.
Regrettably, most sales training is forgotten within a few weeks at most and no long-term behaviour change happens. So, next time you are choosing some training for yourself or your team, consider the above factors and it will be much more likely to be valuable, rather than the waste of time and money that it sadly often is today.
If you are looking for a sales development program that that is absolutely designed around these powerful principles, is proven to accelerate sales activity and results then we can help. Have a look at Sales-Motivations and our award winning solutions. We would be delighted to explore your challenges and demonstrate how we might be able to help to overcome them.
We specialise in using proven, evidence based development techniques and psychology to help sales forces to get more activity, motivation and resilience. This enables them to accelerate sales and sell more successfully. These can be delivered as any flexible combination of workshops, coaching or e-learning, customised to your specific requirements and budget.