When it comes to training, there are three steps that managers need to take to be successful: base training, reinforcement, and coaching.
By Tim Hagen, president, Sales Progress
With millions of companies out there, how do you make yours stand out? You need to have a competitive edge. Sure, you can have flashy promotions and expensive advertisements to draw in customers, but it is going to be your employees that make or break a sale. Managers need to make sure everyone has an extensive knowledge of the product or service, but more than that, they need to be personable, friendly, and attentive to their customers’ needs. High-level management should provide employees with constant coaching so they can land more clients. When it comes to training, there are three steps that managers need to take to be successful.
1. Base Training
The first step, base training, is the foundation for all learning, and it typically comes in the form of workshops, seminars, or e-learning courses. All too often, when it comes to training, companies believe problems in the workplace are a one-stop fix. That is, one seminar will solve their issues, and they will begin to immediately see a return on their investment. However, what they fail to see is the big picture—that base training is the beginning of a three-level process. Managers need to understand that base training cannot be the sole source of learning, and it needs to be followed with practice. There needs to be some sort of handoff. As employees come back, managers need to take the tools from the seminar and begin implementing them in the office.
The second step, reinforcement, refers to time put aside at the workplace for employees and managers to review what they have learned after training seminars. They engage employees in activities that will help reinforce key points of a seminar, and they practice for real-world application. The sessions should last about 30 to 40 minutes, and managers can take different approaches: First, they can employ a one-on-one sit down. During this meeting, managers may ask their employees to teach them what they learned through demonstration. This allows managers to gauge progression, and it will force employees to remember and put their new tools to use. Another method is the group training session. Gather a couple of employees together and have them share with one another what they learned and what they adjusted. Group meetings encourage employees to listen to what others learned, and, in turn, they may pick up something they may not have heard at the seminar.
While the reinforcement level focuses on practice, the third step, coaching, pertains more to analysis, review, and advice, and it typically takes place in a one-on-one setting. During this meeting, managers should talk with their employees about their specific performance challenges. They should get an idea of what employees think is their No. 1 weakness. Next, managers should ask if employees are having any difficulty with the training and practicing. Employee may not understand why they have to learn or change their approach to selling. It is vital that managers find out in advance any issues that someone may have with learning. Finally, an open discussion should evolve when having a one-on-one meeting. Both employee and manager should be able to freely talk about any strategies and techniques that can be used to enhance an employee’s performance.
Visit http://salesprogress.pointecast.com/lms/public/MTk1NTE4 for a presentation on training reinforcement.
Business coaching and adult education expert Tim Hagen has been in the consulting industry for more that 15 years and is currently the president of his company, Sales Progress. He specializes in employee coaching and training reinforcement. His Progress Coaching system and Coaching Generator technology have revolutionized the idea of effective training. His services focus on sustainable employee development and growth, leading to increased return on employee training investments. For information, visit www.salesprogress.com, call 262.240.1077, or e-mail Tim@salesprogress.com.