In my two-decade career as a sales trainer and coach, I’ve trained over 5,000 individuals in more than 65 countries.
I’ve worked with salespeople from every corner of the globe, with a broad spectrum of experience levels.
The one universal truth I’ve found is that no matter how high-quality a sales training program may be, it cannot bring lasting results without reinforcement through follow-up sessions.
The Importance of Reinforcement in Learning
After an engaging sales training session, attendees often leave brimming with enthusiasm, ready to implement what they’ve learned.
However, without follow-up reinforcement, their retention of the material swiftly diminishes.
In my early years as a sales trainer, I saw that my training sessions’ impact would fade within weeks. It was disheartening to watch my clients’ investments in training evaporate.
I remember a training program I conducted for a sales team in Europe some years ago.
During the sessions, the participants were active and involved, and they reported gaining valuable insights. However, when I followed up a few months later, I found that most had returned to their old habits.
The training had a transient effect but failed to bring about lasting change.
The Game-Changing Decision
After observing this pattern time and again, I made a significant decision – I would no longer accept one-off sales training projects from new clients unless they also invested in post-training reinforcement through sales coaching.
This decision marked a turning point not only in my career but also in the success rates of the salespeople I trained.
One of the many stories that stick with me is about Sarah, a salesperson who attended one of my training sessions. Sarah was slightly overwhelmed during the training, with a wealth of information to take in. Our subsequent coaching sessions were transformative for her.
We tailored our discussions to her unique needs and challenges, giving her space to ask questions and explore specific areas that she struggled with.
In these coaching sessions, Sarah truly began to shine.
Sarah saw a dramatic improvement in her sales performance and credited our coaching sessions as the catalyst for her success.
Ensuring No One Gets Left Behind
When training sales teams with a mix of experience levels, it’s inevitable that not every participant will derive the same value from the sessions.
Some will grasp the concepts quickly, while others may struggle. Follow-up sessions are vital in this context, ensuring every team member receives the individualized attention they need.
I remember training a team in the Philippines that included both seasoned sales veterans and newcomers.
After the training, the veterans successfully implemented the techniques, but some newcomers were floundering.
In our coaching sessions, I worked with these newcomers to understand and apply the concepts at their own pace.
The results were remarkable – not only did their performance improve significantly, but their confidence levels also soared.
Additional Benefits of Reinforcement and Follow-up
Besides bolstering retention and understanding, follow-up sessions can have several positive effects. One benefit is that they create a sense of accountability.
Knowing there will be a follow-up session where they need to report on their progress and discuss any difficulties can motivate salespeople to be more diligent in applying what they’ve learned.
Moreover, follow-up sessions can serve as a platform for continuous improvement. Sales is a constantly evolving field.
Techniques and strategies that were effective a few years ago may not be as potent today. Regular follow-up sessions can be an opportunity for salespeople to stay updated on the latest trends and best practices.
Lastly, follow-up sessions can help identify areas where additional training is needed. Salespeople may uncover gaps in their knowledge or skills that were not addressed in the initial training.
By addressing these gaps in follow-up sessions, salespeople can become more well-rounded and effective.
Sales training is a powerful tool that requires reinforcement to bring long-lasting results.
Follow-up sessions are an indispensable part of this process. They provide the necessary reinforcement, create a sense of accountability, and offer an opportunity for continuous improvement and personalized attention.
In my 20 years of experience, I have witnessed firsthand the transformative effect that follow-up sessions can have.
They have been the key to success for countless salespeople I’ve worked with.
If you’re considering sales training for your team, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of investing in follow-up sessions as well.
It’s an investment that pays dividends in improved sales performance, confidence, and continuous growth.