6 Methods of Training Reinforcement

by Tim Hagen on Thu,Nov 12,2009 @ 08:48 AM

Training Reinforcement, sales training, sales coachingThe key to training success is to deploy creative ways to keep material front and center in the learner’s minds. Here are 6 suggested methods for keeping training reinforced:

1. Product Training

If your firm does a lot of product training schedule update sessions at regular intervals.  This way people get to see updates or new features, and also ask question about current features or benefits they are struggling with.  If your staff has a better grip on their product knowledge, they will really wow their prospects in the field.

Another approach is to have people pair up in groups of two and teach each other the benefits and features of the product (s). (To know something is to teach it)

2. Coaching

We can’t stress this one enough. In a recent survey done by Sales Performance International 46% rated “coaching by the sales manager” as one of the most effective ways for reinforcing new sales skills.  Another important fact is that ROI on training quadruples from 22% to 88% when reinforced by in-field coaching and reinforcement, according to Ventana Research.

Managers should schedule one on one or small group coaching sessions and ask two key questions after any training event. One, what did you learn. Second, how will you apply what you learned to our real world?

3. Follow Up Content

Managers or trainers can take important points from the content taught and additional relevant information and do “reminder” sessions.  Information could be presented via meeting, phone call, or even a short email. By consistently keeping the lessons top of mind, they will more likely to remember and implement them into their day to day habits.

4. Assessment

By testing staff you can measure their progress.  If you can see that certain people aren’t catching on as quickly, you can implement other techniques to keep them up to speed.

Some great ways to assess your teams skills, is to have them teach it back if it was a knowledge based skill. Second,  if the lesson was designed to build skills, have them practice it out loud. Last, if the training was centered around behaviors have them act out the desired behavior in a role-play practice session.

5. Best Practices

Management should be proactive in facilitating the sharing of best practices.  They reinforce skills taught as well as spread success stories, which are important to create buy in with staff and confidence in the techniques. Managers and employees should meet bi-weekly or monthly to openly discuss challenges and what is working. It is critical to not have managers or employees dominate the conversation. The key is to break into small groups and present a challenge and have each group discuss a solution and present what their specific group discovered.

6. Homework

Management should assign follow up work and assignments for their staff.  It could be reading additional information, emailing a manager a success story, etc.  This builds accountability, again keeps info top of mind. The homework can be called a “learning project” and this can be applied after meetings, training workshops, coaching sessions, etc.

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This post was written by Tim Hagen

Tim Hagen founded Sales Progress, a Training Reinforcement Partner Company, in 1997. His entrepreneurial career began in college leading to positions in sales, sales management, and sales training for small and large corporations, and eventually ownership of several training companies. He possesses a unique combination of hands-on experience, academics, and innovative insight to solve the industry’s most common challenges. Tim holds a bachelor’s degree in Adult Education and Training from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.