Training is Your Recipe For Success
Just remember: the ingredients don't have to be bland.
By Steve Honig
One of the big challenges you encounter as a sales manager is training your staff.
There are two components to this: How much product training do you arrange? And how much sales training do you add to the mix? Finding the right amount of each is the key to successfully preparing your sales staff for the challenges they'll face on a daily basis.
The vendors with whom you partner can provide product training through their reps, their training departments or their rep firms.
Such training can be valuable if presented well, but I caution you to do a little investigating first before you schedule any manufacturer training session for a sales meeting. The time you have with your staff is precious. Avoid wasting it with poor presentations.
Manufacturer training should be catered to your needs. It shouldn't be a generic overview that has limited impact on your salespeople. If your sales staff is generally knowledgeable, like the staffs at most A/V specialty stores are, require your vendor to provide its best trainer—the one with the most technical knowledge—to speak to your crew. Speak to the trainer prior to the session and explain what you'd like covered and how. This will likely eliminate any hiccups and ensure a productive outcome.
Manufacturer training doesn't have to take place at your site, either. Another method is to send a staff member to be trained individually by the manufacturer's factory personnel. When the employee returns, he or she can present the training information to the staff in a fashion that is most effective, because they'll know what material to include and how to present it.
At Wilshire, we've had some successful experiences in this regard. Recently, both B&W and Lexicon offered to have our staff members visit their facilities. We sent two of our custom project designers to England to visit the B&W factory, learn the history of the speaker line and get a hands-on experience with the people that design, assemble and test the products. It was extremely beneficial to our employees, who now can tell a story about B&W and speak with more confidence regarding its products.