Building knowledge and changing behavior are the two main reasons companies big and small pour huge resources into training their staff, sales teams, support teams and clients.  Unfortunately, research shows that only a fraction of training content actually gets engrained, is retained, or put into practice.

Not in this “Dojo”!

Our sales and leadership training is designed to give producers and leaders the information, practice, feedback, tools, and ongoing coaching they need to be successful out in the field, long after the training is over. Here are 5 things that we do to drive behavior change and better results in our sales training and coaching programs.

1. Discuss the training goals with your producers or direct reports beforehand.

By discussing the purpose of the training, managers can set expectations for what the participants should learn and how that will help them on the job. Setting expectations beforehand encourages participants to take the training seriously and improves their focus during the session.

2. Require that participants generate an action plan and share it with their sales manager/leader within 24 hours of completing training.

The best training program is worthless if it doesn’t translate to action on the job. To generate changed behaviors, assign (require) direct reports to commit to specific actions after the training. Having participants create an “action plan” that forces the participants to own the results of their training experience.

3. Identify the types of support that the team and individuals on the team need to have success implementing activity and behavior changes.

Learning new skills requires a variety of resources, from rehearsal and practice time to feedback, mentoring, and additional information. If your managers aren’t proactively asking their participants what support they need—and then helping secure those resources—they are losing the opportunity to lock in new skills

4. Cascade the learning.

It is rare for managers to have only a single direct report that would benefit from a training session. They can maximize the value of their training investment by having the attendee share their knowledge with other co-workers. Participants can lead formal teach-back sessions, stretch assignments, or discussion groups over lunch. These practices improve the reach of training, solidify the understanding for the participant-turned-instructor, and create a culture of learning.

5. Hold sellers/producers accountable to their action/sales plan.

If managers ask for action plans and provide support resources but never discuss them afterwards, participants get the message that the training goals are less important than the day-to-day assignments that the manager does ask about. Conversely, when managers follow up on the action plans, they create accountability for results.  Ongoing and on-the-fly coaching help to reinforce the behaviors and provide critical feedback that builds confidence and momentum. Consider outside coaching to give producers a safe place to process and incubate their ideas.

Lemonade Stand Total Revenue – $24 .00 (my junior sales associate drank up her profits during her shift).

Written by Colin Hahn and Eli Howayeck