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About This Episode
There are two big mistakes we make in onboarding: too much or too little. Too little is having your reps come in for a two day’s worth of onboarding. But that’s not new hire training. That’s orientation. Too much is trying to teach them everything. So, where’s the sweet spot?
That’s what we’re talking on today’s episode of The Sales Engagement podcast. In this episode, we’re welcoming back Lauren Bailey. You might remember Lauren, from Episode 35, where we talked about the right way to leave a sales voicemail. Lauren is the Founder of Factor 8, a company dedicated to building confidence with frontline sales reps and managers. She’s also Founder of Sales Bar. And Girls Club. No big deal. Today Lauren shared her thoughts on what training for reps should look like. Here’s what she had to say.
The Sweet Spot: The Real Purpose of Training
When onboarding new reps, we tend to make one of two mistakes. We teach them too little or we teach them too much.
The sweet spot is in the middle. Ideally, you want to train your reps to be prepared for the first month on the job.
Don’t teach them about the complex product question they’re going to get in conversation number three. Forget about teaching them to do the demos or worrying about how to overcome the competition. All of these lessons will just scare your reps.
Plus, your first month in any sales job is full of just two things: Leaving voicemails and figuring out who you’re supposed to talk to.
So, don’t worry about anything else. What you need is for your new reps to walk out of training feeling really confident. So, don’t expose them to anything overwhelming. Don’t introduce them to what they don’t know they don’t know.
Overconfident is exactly who you want dialing your phones.
8 Steps You Can Take To Improve Your Training Process
So, here are some practical tips you can implement to focus on building super confident reps.
Tip # 1: Don’t let your reps know what they don’t know.
We covered this one above. But if they figure out there’s a lot they still don’t know, their confidence will be undermined.
Tip #2: Be careful who you have your reps shadow with.
When you shadow a jaded, “been here too long” rep, or you shadow someone who’s experienced and is having complex conversations, your new reps are going to get scared. Instead, use call recordings. And focus on the front end of the call, not the complex issues that come up later on.
Tip #3: Play the pause game.
Here’s how it works. Play 10-20 seconds of a recorded call. Then pause it and ask your new rep two questions: What’s the customer thinking? And what would you do if you were this rep?
Asking about the customer helps the rep get out of their own head. It helps them think more clearly.
And there’s no right or wrong answer to these questions. The learning comes in the thought or the discussion.
Tip #4: Focus on positive calls.
Again, it’s about building confidence. So, when you’re using call recordings, pull out positive calls. And when the time comes give your new rep opportunities to have positive conversations with real customers. Maybe they’re collecting testimonials, cleaning data, or thanking each customer for their business. Anything works as long as it builds confidence.
Tip #5: Flood your reps with testimonials and case studies.
That’s the best thing you can do to help somebody get excited to call customers on your behalf.
Tip #6: Give your reps a taste at what it’s like to be a customer.
You could even hire past customers. Either way, your reps become excited to tell others about their experience. Let them see that you’re actually solving problems and alleviating pain for your customers. That’s how they’ll come to believe in the product.
Tip #7: Help reps get to know your customers.
We shower reps with everything we can about our product’s features, functions, and benefits. But they don’t understand who the customer is, what their challenges are, and why their business needs our product.
We’re at an all time high with scripts, process, and product. But we’re at an all time low with business acumen, industry acumen, and customer acumen. It’s off balance and we need to fix it.
Tip #8. Encourage your reps to make the call with the genuine goal of learning something new about someone’s business.
Reps have the opportunity to call into hundreds of different types of businesses. That’s a great way to get additional business education. And it helps with tip #7.
The Game Changer: What the Real Goal of SDR Calls Should Be
Here’s the real twist. We’ve taught reps that the goal of the call is to get the meeting.
But that’s why the calls are off. The goal of the SDR call is not to get the meeting… it’s to get the customer engaged. And if you do that the outcome is a meeting.
That’s a bit mindblowing. But think about it this way.
If the goal is engagement, here’s what happens. The customer asks some questions. And you can answer them in the meeting. The customer starts to see the big picture. And then they want to learn more about it in the demo.
Engagement naturally leads to a meeting. And when you get a customer engaged, they actually show up to the meeting.
So, how do you get a customer engaged?
Curiosity is key. Understanding the customer is key. Having the confidence to engage in a conversation with them is key. And being armed with call goals and questions, not scripts, is key. So, how are you focusing on engagement in your organization?
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