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Training your sales people on the job

Richard Stone, Sales Trainer and Coach from the Spearhead Training Group, gives the following recommendations on this subject of on the job training for sales people.† He offers advice on the most effective approach to take.

One of the most effective tools for progressing your sales people is still a joint customer visit. Field coaching is great way to follow up from any sales training that the sales person would have received. It also helps to ensure that the learning points are implemented in meetings with customers. But if your sales people are to benefit from this on the job training you must not go with them as their sales manager, but simply as a mentor, developer and friend.

Richard Stone, lead Sales Trainer and Coach from the Spearhead Training Group, gives the following recommendations on this subject of on the job training for sales people.

For on the job training to be effective you must accompany the salesperson regularly. And by regularly I mean one to two days every six weeks. Only by doing this can you help the field salesperson.

It is important that you choose the visits. Ask the salesperson to give you a rough weekly schedule and choose interesting visits at short notice, otherwise you will be presented with unchallenging meetings. After all, you want to get to know the normal day's work.

Prepare yourself and the field salesperson thoroughly. Before you go into the client, discuss the customerís current situation with the salesperson. Also talk about the person you are both meeting, the reason for the visit, and the aim of the meeting. Also settle with your salesperson in advance the discount that they can concede to the customer using the right negotiating tactics.

At the customerís premises, do not play the boss. This begins as early as introductions. Keep yourself in the background as much as possible so that you can really experience how your salesperson conducts him/herself in negotiations. Only by doing this can you later correct them during the de-briefing conversation. If you are addressed by the customer then tactfully pass the question back to the salesperson to handle. Do not solve problems yourself, however tempting this may be. Remember this is a training session and every gain you make for your image is a loss of standing for your salesperson.

Let your salesperson have the experience of success. Orders which are achieved during joint trips should always be recognised as achievements of the salesperson. The sales manager does the ground work, the sales person closes the gate.

Do not start the postmortem right away with a roadside conference. Only mention the positive side of this meeting. Wait to have the real postmortem later, perhaps during a lunch break. When giving feedback start with praise to build up the salespersonFeature Articles, then move to technical criticism and finally to questions about what the salesperson would like to improve in the future:† How do you want to go about things in the future to optimise ... ?

Agree two goals at the end of the day. Close the day with a summary. Work through the main points for improvement jointly with the salesperson. Agree at most two goals with them and set a date for this within a maximum of four weeks. In conclusion tell your field salesperson once again what you liked about their work. Check up on improvement at the next meeting. Do this jointly with the salesperson.† Praise any improvements and recognise their achievements.

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Spearhead Training Limited that specialises in running management and sales training courses. Richard provides consultancy advice for numerous world leading companies and is the author of the Training Your Sales People on the Job.

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