What piano lessons and great employee development have in common

My mom taught over 500 young boys and girls how to play the piano. I remember coming home from school and listening to my mom teach the notes, the scales, the fundamentals of how to count bars and then…..then she would observe her students play the music she had assigned the week before. Patient at times while giving great encouragement, led to students playing with more and more confidence with each note. After the song was completed she would give advice and take over the keyboard giving her students a new look at how the song could sound even better. She then asked her students to play it again, and finally before the lesson ended, assigned more practice on the skills necessary to master before coming back the following week. What a system my Mom had! What is your system of developing your employees? Are they sent out to the recital without the sheet music? Are they sent off to an instructor for a few days and then asked to march back home to go about playing the same way they always have? There’s a better approach!

There is a good reason why effective sales training is more important than ever before. As organizations are faced with increased competition, regular sales team training should always be a part of their business strategy. The more training, guidance and encouragement your sales professionals get, the more likely they are to increase productivity, fuel performance and generate bigger results. Even some of your top performers need to upgrade their skills, polish their presentation and keep up-to-date with all the latest developments in the marketplace. In fact do you know if your team is effective at your company’s strategies in the marketplace? Do you know if you could be more effective? If so, how much more? Do you know how long it will take to get your team functioning at the desired level to exceed your goals? ALTERRAIN can help you answer these questions through the World’s Best Sales Assessment six years and counting!

If you are determined to move your organization forward and get a leg up on your competition, embrace our strategies below to achieve the desired progress.

1. Provide regular selling skills reinforcement
Evidence suggests that many sales professionals who go through intense training sessions have a tendency to feel stressed about information overload. It is crucial to ensure that they not only learn everything they need to know about prospecting, lead generation, relationship building, and other strategies, but also retain the knowledge they acquire for an extended period of time and apply their aptitudes in the real-world. That’s where sales skills reinforcement will make all the difference. By constantly reinforcing and applying the new strategies and techniques obtained in training, sales reps will be better equipped to internalize the new concepts, which will invariably lead to positive behavior change and improved performance. Your company must be equipped with the weekly sales huddles and short impactful RIGHT ON on-line modules.

Companies providing post-training reinforcement outpace laggards by nearly a two-times factor. And what happens when companies fail to implement a powerful sales reinforcement program for their sales force? The positive changes brought on by initial training, may have a short-term impact. Before long, some sales reps will invariably revert to their old behaviors which may impede progress and prevent them from reaching their full potential.

To avoid this predicament, sales managers need to put a lot of thought into the post-training phase and help their sales reps strengthen their newly-acquired skills. It is critical that sales managers acquire strong coaching skills and regularly conduct sales skills reinforcement sessions. This strategy should be firmly incorporated into the company’s culture and used as a valuable tool to bolster performance.

2. Customized milestones and content
Mom never taught her students to start at the end of the song and play it backwards. Why is it that nearly 80% of the sales force sell starting at the close and then end frustrated that the song was never embraced by the customer? Processes need to be in place, tied to milestones in the process of prospecting, identifying needs, developing compelling reasons and agreeing on next steps. Mom could tell when her students hit a wrong note. Can you tell when your sales force misses an opportunity?

Bottom line: It’s important to keep in mind that employee development is not a one-time deal. It is not a single, quick-fix event that will instantly boost earnings and transform your organization. To ensure long-lasting results and a competitive advantage, you need to embrace learning and make it an integral part of your organization. The key to success is regular practice, reinforcement, repetition, and coaching, allowing you and your sales force to get the most of every training session and dramatically improve overall performance.

My Mom left a lasting legacy with farm boys and girls who now know how to play the piano. Her teaching was contagious and led to her son David Dam to lead the most differentiated employee development organization in the agriculture industry today. Contact David today.

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