Over my career of writing books, speaking and consulting in the sales industry, one of the most common questions I hear is, “How can I make my sales team follow our sales process?”
My response is always the same: “You can’t make them. You have to make them want to.”
Trainers, consultants and coaches have content that can make significant contributions to organizations and individuals if the training is actually implemented. As I say in my book “The Power of Consistency,” “We don’t have a knowledge problem, we have an implementation problem.”
Two steps can help in encouraging others to implement what your training teaches:
- Help learners become emotionally committed to their personal dreams, and show them how implementing your training can help them achieve those dreams.
- Help learners understand the relationship between what they are thinking and what they are doing.
It can be helpful to connect your audience to their personal goals before you segue into your core content. As you conduct your training, look for ways to show how implementing what they learn will help them achieve those goals.
For example, in my two-day core sales training classes, I spend the first four hours teaching learners how to create their individual “prosperity mindset.” Experience has shown me that if I fail to help learners understand how training will help them reach their goals, it will be yet another sales program they fail to implement. In the scope of mindset training, I share my personal story of 25 years of prison, poverty and desperation and show them how the sales profession saved my life. I share how the sales process helped me earn millions of dollars and reach my personal dreams of wealth and happiness. I credit the sales process they are about to learn for this transformation in my life.
I ask my audience to identify their individual goals along three primary priorities: their money, their relationships and their health. I explain that money goals include professional and financial goals; relationship goals include family, friends and community goals; and health goals can include mental, spiritual and/or physical health goals. I then ask them to outline one or two activities they can do every day to achieve those goals and to consider how their professional and financial success can play a role in achieving them. Inevitably, their professional and financial goals weave their way into achieving their personal goals. I ask them if achieving success in their sales career would move them closer or further away from their personal dreams. The answer quickly becomes clear, and they begin to see that learning and implementing the sales process is the first step to achieving their personal goals.
Successful training also requires that learners understand the relationship between their expectations about the training and what they actually gain from the training. Often, if learners believe the training is not going to work, they will prove themselves right. Here is why: When we have a thought, our brain sends a signal to the hypothalamus, which secretes a chemical that triggers an emotion, which drives an action, which determines results. This neurological cycle can explain why learners’ expectations about training tend to be right: Thoughts drive emotions and actions, even if the thought is inaccurate. In other words, you can believe something that’s not true, yet produce emotions, actions and results that are real. This is the essence of a “self-fulfilling prophecy.”
Imagine you’re in a parking lot late at night, and a man runs toward you with a knife in his hand. He is covered in blood and seems intent on hurting you. Your immediate thought is, “Danger! Danger!” Within a nanosecond, your hypothalamus is producing epinephrine and adrenaline, which drive the emotions of fear and panic. As the man comes near you, your emotion drives your action, and you swing and connect with his jaw, rendering him unconscious. The result? You protected yourself against this dangerous situation. All is well.
That is, until the police show up, and you realize your thought was inaccurate. When the man regains consciousness, you learn that the knife was fake. The blood was fake. The man was simply running across the parking lot to meet a group of friends for a Halloween party. You assaulted an innocent young man. Now, you ask yourself, despite your thought being wrong, how real the emotions you felt were. How real were the actions you took? How real was the man’s broken jaw?
Now, consider learners who believe your training is a waste of time. What are their emotions likely to be relative to the training? What actions are they likely to take with respect to learning and implementing the training? What results are they likely to see? It is critical for learners to understand that they are likely to prove their expectations right, even if they are wrong. This realization will help them have an open mind to the training, which will improve their chances of learning and implementing the valuable knowledge you are giving them.
The training you have to offer can be enormously helpful to the individuals who embrace your message and to your organization. Helping your audience see the connection between your training and their dreams will give them the motivation they need to capitalize on that training. Helping them understand that their expectations about the training will impact their experience will help them open their minds and implement what they learn.