How to Make Training Stick for Your Team
A question that frequently comes my way is, “How do you make training truly stick?”
It’s a query that resonates with leaders across industries because getting team members to seamlessly integrate new best practices into their daily routines is a formidable challenge. This challenge doesn’t discriminate between new hires and seasoned veterans; in fact, it can be even more daunting for those who have been in the game for a while.
Today, we embark on a journey to unravel the complexities of this issue, particularly when it comes to identifying pitfalls in sales presentations and introducing a unified sales technique to your team. While you aspire for this change to shine as the highlight of your upcoming sales meeting, the reality often falls short. Join us as we explore the core problem and unveil a comprehensive solution to ensure enduring behavior change.
The Real Problem
Before we delve into the solution, let’s take a moment to dissect the core issue at hand. Salespeople, like many individuals, often exhibit a strong inclination to adhere to behaviors and practices that have been deeply ingrained in their psyche over extended periods.
The power of these habits is not to be underestimated; they are rooted in years, sometimes even decades, of repetition and reinforcement. This presents a significant challenge when it comes to effecting change in a sales team’s dynamics. Attempting to uproot and replace these deeply entrenched habits with one single sales meeting is not just unrealistic; it’s a recipe for disappointment.
Statistics indicate that behavioral change is, indeed, a formidable endeavor. According to research by the European Journal of Social Psychology, it takes an average of 66 days to establish a new habit.
Additionally, a study conducted by McKinsey & Company found that nearly 70% of organizational transformations fail to achieve their intended goals. This failure is often attributed to the difficulty of changing entrenched behaviors within a corporate context. These statistics underscore the significance of comprehending the complexity of behavioral change.
The Real Solution
Recognizing the formidable nature of behavioral change, it’s imperative to acknowledge that this process requires a fundamentally different approach.
It’s not a quick fix; rather, it’s an ongoing journey that demands patience, persistence, and the unwavering commitment of leaders and coaches.
To achieve lasting behavior change, it’s essential to embrace the understanding that it’s a gradual process necessitating both time and repetition. Your role as a leader and coach is multifaceted. Initially, you introduce the new concept, setting the stage for change.
However, this is merely the commencement of a more protracted journey. You must continually coach and mentor your team, providing guidance, support, and encouragement as they strive to replace old habits with new, more effective ones.
Let’s now dissect the five essential steps of this change process from the perspective of a sales representative:
The Five Steps of Change
Exposure to a New Idea, Technique, or Behavior
The journey begins with exposure to the new concept. Your initial sales meeting accomplishes just this – getting the idea out there. However, remember that this is only the starting point.
Contemplation and Challenge
Salespeople, much like any discerning individuals, approach new ideas with a healthy dose of skepticism. They’re not merely passive recipients; they’re active evaluators. They critically assess whether this new idea aligns with their extensive repertoire of past experiences, and most importantly, they introspectively gauge their willingness and capacity to integrate it into their toolkit.
For genuine change to take root, your team must ultimately embrace the new behavior as not only valid but also intrinsically beneficial. This step is akin to selling a product; you are the advocate, and your product is the new idea. Convey the idea’s merits and benefits clearly and passionately. Help them understand why this change is in their best interest.
Here’s where it all comes together – or falls apart. Salespeople must be given a safe environment to practice the new behavior extensively. Trying it out in front of a customer is not ideal. Encourage solo practice, peer collaboration, and supervised attempts with you as their coach.
Repetition / Mastery
Last but not least, repetition is the key to establishing a new habit and achieving mastery. It’s a road that leads to mastery, and habits are formed through consistent practice. Understand that behavioral change doesn’t happen through a single email or meeting; it requires dedicated time, repetition, and coaching.
Making Training Stick
In sales and leadership, true behavioral change is a gradual process. By following these five steps – exposure, contemplation, acceptance, application, and repetition – you can guide your sales team toward lasting change. Remember, great leaders focus on the right behaviors and invest the time and effort needed to ensure they stick. So, embrace the journey of change and watch your team’s performance soar.
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