Whether you are the business owner or the sales or service manager, you have a responsibility for the care and feeding of you staff, specifically in the area of training. After learning from my own mistakes as one who occupied both those roles, today I want to make a half-dozen suggestions that will be helpful to you concerning your training meetings.
Start and stop when you said, Ted – If your topic is important enough to conduct a training meeting about, then announce in advance the start and stop times and live by them. It is very annoying when five of your six team members are there ready to begin but you hold up the start of the meeting for the missing one, “just knowing he will be there in a couple more minutes.” START ON TIME. Otherwise you are sending a message that it’s OK to be late. That said, on the other end of the meeting don’t leave your reps or techs wandering when the session will be over. END ON TIME. Don’t forget that your employees work by appointment, so take that into consideration, and by the way if you were to occasionally end the meeting five minutes early, I promise you nobody will be angry.
Have a plan, Stan – Make sure that your folks know you have prepared for the meeting. Being prepared shows them that the session is important and this will raise the value level they assign to your training sessions. At the beginning of each session describe the agenda, and this doesn’t require a printed handout. It can be as simple as jotting a few bullet points on your whiteboard; just a basic outline to help avoid surprises. The needle on your trust meter will go up when they are aware of something as simple as knowing what to expect during each session.
Make training fun, Sebastian – A training session with no fun is boring, as a little playing is a welcome component of learning. Here are a few ideas to liven up your training sessions:
- Give out tickets for a raffle at the end of the meeting; 2 tickets for those arriving prior to the meeting time, 1 to everyone that is there by the scheduled start time, and 0 to anyone who is late. This will help you build a culture of punctuality and improves the odds of winning whatever inexpensive prize you use for the drawing for those who are on time.
- Insert cash in balloons ($1’s, $5’s, and $10’s) and blow them up to use for correct answers to a quiz during the meeting. Call on someone to answer a question or recite something you covered, and if they are correct give them a dart to throw at the balloons and tell them they get whatever is inside the one they pop. Do this several times throughout the meeting.
- Everybody who volunteers to role play a technique you think is important could be given a ticket. At the end of the meeting draw out one and give a gift card to a popular eating place.
Use your imagination and do things that are quick and easy, with the objective of getting them to participate more during your training sessions.
Ask your folks to help with the show, Mo – Don’t make them just sit there and endure your bloviating, assign part of each meeting to several of your employees. Pick something for your folks that they need to improve on, as they will definitely pay closer attention to what they are responsible to present, which will automatically help them improve in their weak areas.
Less is more, Salvador – You know what they need the most help on so focus on those items. Use the worst-first concept I often speak about. Don’t try to cram everything into each session. Remember, you eat an elephant one bite at a time.
Test drive when you’re through, Lou – Practice makes better! Training isn’t training unless your folks are doing it. If you don’t include some role play on the topic you are covering, your session only consists of education; and I’ll bet they don’t really need more education. Just make sure you never set them up for failure, and don’t allow any other employees to be snipers and undermine these test-driving practice sessions.
————-Need More Service Sales?————-
Are you a service manager who would love for your technicians and installers to sell more of your services, but either don’t have time or don’t know how to plan sales meetings to teach them what they need to know? Doug created an inexpensive tool you can use to help. It’s a Leader Guide for you to use providing open questions for each of the 116 training topics Doug wrote about in his book. It removes all the planning and time commitment, so why not check it out here.
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