Salespeople must evolve through six levels of development before they can consistently and successfully execute any process, concept, strategy or tactic they are trained and coached to perform. The six levels are:
If there are hiccups at any one of those levels, they may continue on to the next level, but with an improper balance. For example, if they weren’t listening carefully, and didn’t quite hear the entire message, they will inappropriately approach the next 5 levels. If they listened but understood the message differently from the way it was intended, the next 4 levels will be wrong. If they listened and understood, but selected a poor frame of reference for internalizing the message, they probably won’t embrace it.
Let’s assume that they have properly advanced through the level of embracing. The key level of evolving takes place at the level of attempting.
Some salespeople never evolve from level 4, embracing to level 5, attempting. This is where underlying weaknesses have the most affect. Those hidden, underlying weaknesses cause discomfort and hesitancy – preludes to lack of confidence – preventing them from taking what they believe to be a big risk. Objective Management Group’s work in this area, and the deep and wide sales force evaluations they conduct, help shine light on these hidden weaknesses. I have written a series of articles on the science, data and research behind this work.
Others make the attempt, but they are uncomfortable and do it poorly. and their undesirable result may cause them to give up right then and there. Finally, after making several attempts, some fail to master the concepts and continue to practice them poorly without improvement.
Keep in mind that this process takes place for each and every concept, strategy, tactic and method that they learn. Many clients ask why it takes so long – so many months – to train and develop salespeople. The concepts can be taught in a day. But the other 5 steps to evolving take months, especially getting them over the weaknesses that prevent them from attempting and executing. There are two ways to convey these concepts and most companies, in a great hurry to fix things, choose the comfortable, rather than effective option!
Feed them with a fire hose via a one or two day seminar and perhaps reinforce it quarterly, semi-annually or annually.
Present the fire hose but don’t spray it down their throats. Spoon feed and reinforce daily through coaching, bi-weekly or monthly via follow up training, and don’t ever stop. Hold them accountable for the six levels each and every day.