Saturday, June 14, 2008

Strategies For Leading A Sales Force

Writen by Donald Aleksy

You must take the responsibility of being the facilitator of learning. Sales people do expect you to be able coach and train on facts and skills. To be effective, you must understand your situation. Ask yourself the following questions:

1) Are the people I train competitive?

2) Are their goals clarified?

3) Have you developed training scenarios to meet their needs?

Allow for individual differences. Your sales force is a diverse group of individuals. Offer individual coaching time taking into consideration their differing backgrounds. Recognize their particular learning styles. Consider the following:

1) Imaginative learners will expect knowledge from which they can build. They will care about you and their fellow's sales force members.

2) Analytical Learners are more interested in theory and what the experts believe. They need data and details and are uncomfortable with subjective theory. They will expect their peers to seek knowledge.

3) Common Sense Learners are problem solvers and are typically skilled orientated. They will test your theories and look for practical applications. They tend not to do well in team situations.

4) Dynamic Learners believe in self discovery. They are risk takers and are at ease with people. They will respond if you regularly try new things.

Use different activities when training your sales force. It is recommended to change your activities every 20 minutes to keep issues fresh. Try new ideas and provide for flexibility. All people loose focus eventually. A constant rotation of ideas and change of topics will keep their concentration fresh.

Develop a supportive climate. Your sales force should understand that you are there to support them while they are earning the sales process. They should be made to understand that you have a stake in their success. That it does matter to you that they are successful.

Be sensitive to barriers. Some of the "baggage" sale force members bring with them can be:

1) Time restraints.

2) Outside commitments.

3) Their educational experience did not prepare them for independent sales.

4) They may have learning handicaps.

5) Stress.

6) More comfortable with a different style of training.

As a result, you need to be a learning partner. Create a common strategy for their training that will provide them the greatest options for success. Emphasize that they will need to try new sales techniques. Encourage and support mistakes as a valuable coaching tool. This is just as important as reaching the correct methods immediately.

Use technology to enhance learning. It is important that you take the lead in infusing technology into all sales activities. This will make them more comfortable and efficient. Be alert to changing dynamics in your field. Today we must consider cultural changes as well as economic changes.

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