Is Staff Training a Carrot or a Stick?

 Image of a man running towards a carrot with a stick behind him

 

It cannot be denied that staff training is beneficial to sales. A team that has a well-rounded knowledge of the products you sell and any objections they might face is going to be better at selling these products than a team that has never been trained. 

However, staff training is not always the most exciting topic to bring up with your sales staff. Often, they see it as being sat in a room, being talked at by a salesperson for hours, when your staff has something more important to do. This negativity then stops your staff from engaging properly with the training and the whole session is a waste of time.

So how do you have a training session that is a carrot and not a stick? We believe the answer lies in the attitude surrounding the training. If you can create a mentality that staff training is about being empowered to develop your skills and not about being punished for not performing well, then half the battle is won. Once you have created the air of positivity, the culture starts to change. 

Before you even start with the training, you should assess your audience - their prior knowledge of the product, their age, their backgrounds etc. This will help you prepare relevant content at the right level for your audience and stop disengagement. 

Another way to have a great training session is to make it interactive - to create an engaging training session is to get the staff members involved with the products they are learning about. Having some interactive demonstrations can go a long way towards getting your staff to connect with the trainer, and can help a lot with understanding. There are many different learning styles, and studies have shown that some people learn by hearing, some people learn by doing. If you can incorporate as many of the different learning styles into your training, it will be a benefit to everyone.

You should implement breaks in your sessions, especially if they are all day sessions. Most studies tend to say that the average attention span in a lecture is 10 minutes, but lectures are often over an hour long, so breaks can really help your group to regain their focus and keep them happy. It also gives them an opportunity to take in what they've just heard. 

Finally, you should always ask for feedback on your sessions. Feedback is a great way to measure how well people have engaged with your session, how well they have taken in the information you have presented them and what they liked most and least about your session. Feedback can either be presented as a survey before the participants leave or as a follow up email. You should be open to criticism and use what you learn to improve your sessions. 

We at STS have great belief in positive and productive training sessions that can be used to help staff reach their highest potential. As Richard Branson says " Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to." If you look after your staff, they in turn will look after your customers.