Why Reinforcement Is Necessary for Sales Success is discussed by Dr. Tom Sant of Qvidian. It's not just me. You hear me say, "Ongoing reinforcement is needed for getting results in selling." That a one-time seminar or lecture won't get you results.
Why is that?
Let's deal first with the lecturing. Why doesn't hearing a sales technique once at a seminar work? The answer is because actual learning did not occur. As Dr. Sant shares, the salesperson goes into congnitive overload. They become defensive. The message is tuned out.
"I already do that."
"This guy isn't telling me anything new."
"I'm already a great salesperson."
Even if the salesperson does accept the new idea, after a couple of weeks they'll forget it. Back to their old comfort zone. Back to their old techniques.
Why Reinforcement Is Necessary: How It Overcomes Inertia
But the sales manager/trainer/leader has to have a playbook. The playbook can be a consistent sales process. It can be objections and rebuttals. It can be an equation to be applied to the customer's business--can we reduce their costs or increase their revenues? What is inside the playbook doesn't matter as much as having one.
Without the playbook, you don't have a target to aim at. If you don't have a target, will you have consistency? If you don't have consistency, can you manage your results?
The Three Learning Phases Showing Why Reinforcement Is Necessary
The plain truth is the way we learn is why reinforcement is necessary for sales success. Dr. Sant's article is based on studies of adult learning. Effective coaching simply bolsters that adult learning process. So how do we do it?
First, we perceive. We assess a situation and perceive which variables are critical to our success.
Second, we decide. Which course of action should we take? Thank goodness we have that playbook handy!
Third, we act. We practice, we roleplay, we rehearse--but most of all we use the new technique in real life.
The salesperson can practice. The coach gives ongoing feedback. That feedback can come in the form of ridealongs and a debriefing chat right after the prospect visit. It can come in the form of simulations. And it can be in the form of team coaching, where peers work with one another.
But the common key is that you need to see the new technique over and over again...interacting with real life. That's how it will stick. You must first perceive the need for it. Then decide to use the techique. And then really use it, taking action with the new technique in live selling situations.
Sounds simple? Doing this consciously is not nearly as easy as talking about it. That's why having a coach who will keep showing you why reinforcement is necessary helps so much.
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