Many sales training techniques can be used to develop sales skills but one of the most effective tools is still a joint client visit. To ensure your sales people a get maximum training benefit from this type of on the job sales training you must not go with them as their superior. Instead you must attend as their mentor, their developer and their friend. Using work-shadowing as a training tool depends largely on your behaviour for its success. Spearhead Training sales trainers provide the following recommendations on the subject of on the job training for sales people.
Accompany them regularly. Aim to go out with them for one to two days every six weeks. Only by doing this can you help the field salesperson.
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. Discuss the customer’s current situation with the salesperson, the person you are both meeting, the reason for the visit and the aim of the meeting.
At the customer’s premises, do not play the boss. This begins as early as introductions otherwise the customer’s interest will be concentrated on the sales manager.
Boss is quiet – salesperson sells! Keep yourself in the background as much as possible during the visit so that you can really experience how your salesperson conducts them self in negotiations. Only by doing this can you later correct them during the de-briefing conversation.
Do not solve problems yourself. Do not allow yourself to be tempted to solve issues raised by the customer during the visit. If you are addressed directly by the customer, then diplomatically pass the issue back to the salesperson for them to come up with a solution.
No “Father Christmas” effect. Your salesperson keeps the 2% additional commission they negotiate! In this way they can strengthen their skills; it also relieves you of work because you train the customer to actually negotiate with your salesperson. Of course you settle with your salesperson in advance the discount that they can concede to the customer using the right negotiating tactics.
Suppress your need for prestige. Consider that every gain you make for your image is a loss of standing for your salesperson. You are providing sales training to them: do not let your ego get in the way of doing this.
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. After the first sales meeting on the day of the trip only mention the positive side of this meeting.
Have a roadside conference with postmortem during sandwich break. Start this postmortem with praise to build up the salesperson, 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 starting 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 field sales training meeting. Do this jointly with the salesperson. Praise any improvements and recognise their achievements.