1 A Client asked the following question: how do i encourage mediocre sales managers to engage in kerb-side training when they have no knowledge of that type of training themselves and see little or no need for it?
2 The following notes aim to answer this question.
encouragement – by the use of role-playing
3 Some Sales Managers have altered their attitudes to kerb-side coaching quite significantly as a result of role-playing training which involves kerb-side coaching.
4 The following section gives one approach to carrying out such role-playing.*
procedure for a role-playing session
5 Select a role-playing situation which involves a common problem for the Company’s Sales Representatives and which uses an important Company Product.**
6 Select A to take the part of the Sales Representative and B to take the part of the Prospect. In addition select C and D to take the role of Sales Managers.
7 Both C and D observe while A and B carry out the selling situation.
8 Ask D to leave the room. Ask C to carry out kerb-side coaching in the same way as he/she would if doing so in the field.
9 Immediately after C finishes, bring D into the room and ask him/her to do the same thing as C did.
10 All other Sales Supervisors/Managers should act as Observers. When D acts as Sales Manager, C can observe what D does. However the procedure does not allow D to observe C – to avoid baising what D does in the kerbside coaching.
* For further information on Role-Playing see the Cullen Morton notes on: “Some Points on Role-Playing” and “Some Hints for conducting Role-Playing Training”.
** This step assumes the Organisation has some suitable role- playing situations already prepared; if not, the Organisation will need to prepare some. For assistance, obtain copies of the Cullen Morton notes: Preparation of Client Role-Playing situations.
11 The following diagram summarises the approach.
|1||A||B||-||C, D & all other Represen -tatives.||Representative attempts to sell Prospect B a Coy. Product.|
|2||A||-||C||All other Represen- tatives.||D||Sales Managers aim to improve the future per-formance of the Representatives by discussing the performance of the Represent -ative with Prospect B.|
|3||A||I-||ID||C & all other Represent -atives.|
12 The whole group should then consider the kerb-side coaching of C and D to select what they did well, what they did poorly, and how they could improve in future coaching situations.
13 Provided the Conference Leader (Trainer) runs the training sessions skillfully many people will see potential in kerb-side coaching. They will see the need to improve their own activities in what they do in trying to improve the performance of their Representatives.
Encouragement – By The Use Of Group Discussions
14 A Company who wishes to use a less-direct approach might consider using the following ideas.
15 Arrange for the Sales Supervisors/Managers to attend a group discussion on the subject “How should effective Sales Managers try to improve the performance of their Sales Representatives”.
16 The Conference Leader would encourage the Sales Manager to list as many methods as they can. The methods should include both written and oral communications – either separately or in combination.
17 Once the Managers identify possible methods they should consider the advantages and disadvantages of each. When they get to oral communications they should consider both where, and when, to communicate.
18 These topics should help the Conference Leader to introduce the idea of kerb-side coaching – if not already introduced. The Leader can help the Sales Managers to discuss this technique and its advantages and disadvantages.
19 Probably most Sales Managers will accept that they should have oral discussions with their Sales Representatives to improve their performance. The Leader can encourage them to identify just what they will discuss and the specific ways they will learn that their Representatives have a need to improve their performance.
20 The above approach should help Sales Managers to accept that kerb-side coaching has some definite advantages which will outweigh its disadvantages.
21 However particular attitudes of some Sales Managers may still prove an obstacle. They might desire to avoid having to criticise their Representative in a way which will spoil their relationship with the Representative.
22 These Sales Managers will need to carry out such an activity without feeling disturbed or worried about it.
23 The Conference Leader should steer the conference towards the possibility that Sales Managers can, and should, carry out the activity in a way which does not disturb their relationship with their Representatives.
24 The identification of situations where Sales Representatives genuinely look for help from their Sales Managers to cope with problems they have will help to influence the attitude of the Conference Members in the right direction.
25 Possibly this method of encouragement requires a more-skilled conference leader than the previous demonstration of kerb-side training through role-playing situations.
26 Sometimes a Company should use both methods since they compliment each other.
27 Both the above methods aim to expose Sales Managers to the technique of kerb-side training without forcing them to listen to the ideas of one person taking a “telling” one-way-communication approach.
28 The first approach exposes them to a demonstration of some kerb- side training and allows them to hear how other people evaluate the technique.
29 The second approach exposes Sales Managers to the opinions of their peers about what kerb-side training involves and its advantages and disadvantages. Whether this approach will succeed depends on the knowledge and attitude of the people in the group discussion and the skills of the person leading the discussion.