I may be dating myself by sharing this, but I was a teenager when the show Friends was in its prime and airing new episodes every Thursday night. It was also around that time when episodes were syndicated and showing up on other networks, so naturally I stayed up way later than I should’ve been watching the gang hang out at Central Perk after I got home from sports practices.
But as a kid, I definitely missed a few of the jokes on the show. When I watch reruns today, I have a new perspective. Things like…
- Yes, they were on a break.
- Unagi is actually sushi.
- Rachel was just not a good waitress.
My thoughts about Rachel may seem harsh, but I feel like she had the potential to be a good waitress and good at sales, too. She just didn’t have good sales training or any sense of accountability—sorry, Gunther.
The skills needed to be a great coffee shop barista vary from the skills needed to be incredible at sales, but there are some undeniable similarities between the two. As a barista, Rachel would have benefited from sales training to show her that fraternizing with her friends, gifting handsome gentlemen with free drinks, and refusing to invest in herself or her role as a barista were all avoidable mistakes.
Why invest in your team?
Now let’s “PIVOT!” from Friends and Rachel to talk about your team. Would you say your company offers a strong sales training program? Do you have a sales training curriculum that you and your teammates love? Regardless of your answers to these questions, here’s some good news. Training doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective. Below, I’ll share with you how to create and evaluate your own program.
Plan it out
Begin by considering the knowledge base of your new sales reps and think about the skills they will need. What areas of sales, product, systems, company culture, and processes are key for them to know? Then think about your audience and their current skill level: Is this going to be a sales training course for beginners, a course for sales professionals, or somewhere in between?
Start from the bottom with your sights set on your goals
Consider what resources you already have, and ask yourself if there are professionals within your company that can provide additional insight and guidance. Do you have access to supplemental sales training courses that already exist? What things are your salespeople consistently struggling with, and where are their knowledge gaps? Working backwards from here is an extremely effective way to build out meaningful training.
Design your program
This is where you will want to include key sales training ideas like product knowledge, the customer experience, customer use cases, the market, your sales process, and essential sales skills. Another piece of advice—deliver your training in interesting ways using videos, text, flipcards, quizzes, gifs, and more! Consider also, if the training you’re building will be an online sales training lesson, an in-person course, or some type of blended learning. Be sure you have a sales training agenda, too. Sequentially order your topics and activities in a way that builds upon itself. You ultimately want to make sure that your training meets the needs of your sales force.
Assess and Review
Once you have created your sales training framework and evaluate whether or not it truly prepares those taking the course for success in the field, figure out what’s working and what’s next. You’ll want to be sure to track training for accountability purposes and ask yourself, “How can I reinforce new behaviors so my sales team learns?” and, “Where will they garner feedback from?”
Circling back to my initial introduction—if you’ve watched as many episodes of Friends as I have, you’ll know that a number of seasons in, Gunther, Rachel’s manager, is tasked with re-training her because she doesn’t follow the processes in place at Central Perk. She is surprised to find out things she did not know. For the record, the “tray spot” is where the trays actually go when they are not in use, not where the other waitresses go to socialize.
Now, I encourage you to go create your own sales training course. Don’t let it be a daunting task. Take what you’ve learned and pair it with your sales force’s needs, and build something your team can use to take their deals to the next level. You can do it!
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