How to Improve Sales Training With Repetition and Follow-up

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Sales TrainingWhen a “sales training session” shows up on your calendar, I’ll bet you immediately call your dentist to schedule an appointment.

As my dentist always says, a bad day getting a root canal is better than a good day sitting in training.

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been in almost a dozen training sessions, teaching sales reps the ins and outs of using the XANT platform.

Throughout this process, I’ve learned one thing – learning happens by doing.

If you think someone leaves your training with any clue of what you just said, think again.

It’s just like riding a bike

I have four young children and without realizing it, I missed the chance to teach my oldest two kids how to ride a bike (but my wife nailed it – they are expert bike riders). For the last four years, I have been determined to teach my third child the art of bike riding.

A couple of months ago, I decided it was time. I removed the training wheels off my daughter’s bike, strapped on her helmet, and imparted my wisdom: don’t stop pedaling, put your feet down when you stop, stay away from parked cars, and look straight ahead to help you balance better.

None of this meant anything to her until I ran down the street holding the back of her bike and then let go. She did all the things I said not to do – and when she ran into a parked car, I think she finally realized I know what I’m talking about.

But she figured it out. Not from me telling her, but from her DOING IT!

So what does this mean? Is my dentist right? Do trainings have any value? YES!

Learn by doing

There is an age-old marketing rule that you need to hear something seven times to remember it. The true goal of training is changing human behavior, and that takes hearing PLUS doing.

Training provides context to what they’re going to do. As difficult as it may be to run a good training session, it’s still one of the most efficient ways to teach a large group of people. And if done well, it can be extremely effective.

For one customer, we recently trained about 140 inside sales reps on the XANT PowerDialer. Training each rep individually would have taken weeks.

So we followed this simple training method:

  • Short training
  • Reps Do
  • Individual follow-up with even shorter training
  • Reps Do
  • Follow-up
  • Rinse and repeat

Within 24 hours, 140 people had changed from an old process that they had done thousands of times to a completely new process.

I’m not saying it was perfect, but with continued follow-up and more repetitions, their new processes become second nature – kind of like how my daughter now effortlessly navigates parked cars and garbage cans.

Training doesn’t have to been painful and meaningless. If you follow the “train + do + follow-up” formula, it can be effective and successful.

Now you can schedule your dentist visits for another time, like during your strategic planning meetings.

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Image credit: Andrew Louis

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