Training Reinforcement. . . The Key to Successful Training

by Tim Hagen on Sat,Dec 29,2012 @ 11:11 AM


Training Reinforcement

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Every year many companies invest a great deal of time and resources on employee training programs with the expectation that employees will return from training as top selling sales reps, but this is unlikely given that employees will only retain a portion of what they have learned just weeks later. Research continues to emphasize the ineffectiveness of traditional training methods when void of post training reinforcement.

Sales Performance International has reported that:
  • Participants in sales training forget half of what is taught within 5 weeks

  • 55% of respondents listed "lack of post training implementation" as one of the top weaknesses of sales training.

The key to capitalizing on employee training is reinforcement!  As a sales manager, it is crucial to implement a training reinforcement plan to challenge employees to apply what they have learned.

Below are 3 key points to build a training reinforcement program around.

Keep training reinforcement content short.
  • Example: Ask your staff to complete an activity related to the topic they have recently received training on. Activities can include, but are not limited to, reading an article, viewing a short video, and/or listening to a podcast. has a ton of great, free material to draw from for reinforcement activities. Request that employees email you two things they learned from the activity.
Keep reinforcement activities scheduled on a consistent basis.
  • Example: Have employees carryout a reinforcement activity daily, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. Keep employees accountable for completing activities by asking them key follow-up questions:
    • What did they learn?
    • How would they apply the content in a realistic scenario? (This question will get employees to visualize themselves putting the newly learned content in action)
Bring reinforcement full circle by having employees put their knowledge into practice.
  • Example: Have employees select a specific customer and context in which they will practice applying their training. Afterwards, ask a few brief questions to get them to evaluate their execution and improve moving forward.
    • What works well for you?
    • What aspect(s) do you think you could improve upon?
    • How will you go about improving this/these aspect(s) next time?

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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.