Excellent training that delivers amazing results is STICKY! That means your representatives successfully transfer what is taught to their real life, daily jobs.
Over the next couple posts I’m going to dive into six of the key elements of an exceptionally sticky and successful training program. Today we’ll talk about the first two! (Psst... make sure you receive the rest of this series directly in your mailbox by signing up on the right!)
Step 1: Tell Your Reps WHY!
I’m a bit embarrassed to put this on the list because I think we all know the critical value of this step. But I’m continually surprised at how often a trainer fails to effectively execute. Yes they throw up the standard WIFM slide and read the bullets. But they fail to make it personal and credible.
The easiest way to make the benefits of the training personal for your reps is to make sure you include “which means” or “so that” statements. For example if implementing the training “will help you learn to use empathy more effectively”... continue with...”so that you will be able to help an upset customer move from upset to calm quicker. This means less customers will escalate to angry customers, customer satisfaction will be higher and you will find doing your job much more pleasant.”
Credibility means building trust. Let your reps know that it’s not just you saying they will see the benefits you extol, there are real examples of success. Credibility often comes from outside sources. It only takes a few minutes to google “studies on empathy” to find a few pieces of data that will reinforce the benefits you claim.
Credibility can also be found in stories. Share stories of how others have achieved success by using the materials being trained. If Sandie turns around an angry customer almost every time through her excellent use of empathy, share her story with the team.
My general rule is to spend 15-20% of the total training time talking about the WHY. That might seem like a big investment when you have limited time to train, but if you don’t get your reps to buy in up front you might as well stop talking.
Step 2: Avoid TMI Syndrome
I often find this step the hardest as I want to give the reps ALL the information they might ever need. I want to share everything I know about the topic. It is so easy to end up with Too Much Information (TMI).
And do you know the outcome of TMI Syndrome? It is OVERWHELM. And when overwhelmed the natural response behavior is to not do anything. As a self-protection measure, the brain shuts down when it can’t process the information. Your reps just hear Charlie Brown’s teacher saying “Wah, Wah, Wah...”.
What is the cure for this malady?
Keep your objectives simple and basic. Ask yourself “If I only taught 2-3 things out of all of this material, what would be most important.” I’ve already confessed that I am guilty of TMI which means that when I write a training course, I often go back and delete up to 50% of the content before I present it. I want to make sure that the learner has full grasp of the most important elements.
So what if you find that you have a lot to cover? It’s just not that easy to distill down to a couple objectives.
Then look for the natural learning flow in the material that allows you to split it into two pieces. What do you need to learn first before you can do anything? And then what will pull it all together. I found this true when I developed a course on Listening for supervisors. Effective listening is about the act of listening itself and then the act of asking good probing questions to come to a meaningful conclusion. By splitting it into those 2 chunks it became much easier for the supervisor to stay focused on learning each skill before pulling everything together into one conversation.
And there are 4 More Steps...
So taking my own advice, I am stopping here. This is a lot to consider as you work to get superior results from your training programs this year. Watch for my next post – I have four more very impactful steps to share. (You can now read Part 2 HERE and Part 3 HERE.)