Michele Mavi, Director of Training at Atrium Staffing, shares her insights on how to train sales members.

Teaching ‘How to Think’ vs ‘What to Think’

My approach to teaching people how to sell differs from the traditional powerpoint presentations. I became a trainer because of my subject matter expertise rather than any formal education as a training professional. Nothing can fully replace the type of learning that goes on in an active classroom setting. My intention is to teach a thought process rather than specific information. Mentors are asked “How do you do that again?” because 80% of the information is invariably forgotten two weeks into the job! Teaching a thought process is a delicate thing and is usually strengthened in a communal setting. When people openly disagree and discuss chosen courses of action everyone learns something new. So I did away with the power points and handouts and opted for a traditional note taking system of paper and pen. We follow a roadmap that offered several ways to get to one’s destination.

Each Class Should Be Different

What I love about this conversational approach is that no two classes are ever alike. Role playing creates a unique classroom that allows our sales trainees to reinforce what they’ve learned. While one may know how to answer a question correctly on a written test, it’s quite another thing to maneuver the situation properly in person. How many times in our own lives have we planned for an important meeting, negotiation or even break-up? How often has the conversation taken control of us? For some of us more often than we’d like to admit! We’ve all experienced the following “I should have…why didn’t I, if only I had….I can’t believe I forgot to say…”.

eLearning Modules Complement Back to Basics Learning

eLearning excites me because I can incorporate it into back to basics learning. Back to basics learning is a helpful tool to keep people fresh, especially after new hires go through formal training and have hands on experience. It’s also great for our more seasoned employees who usually roll their eyes thinking there’s nothing more to learn! With an e-learning module we can measure retention as well as what people may be overlooking in their process…and in that case, the statistics don’t lie!