Effective Field Training

This article reviews some tips to effectively field train either a new sales person or help an existing team member refocus their efforts by doing the things that work the most and reinforce the best practices in growing their own business.

Role of Field Training

Always take trainee out on your appointments - new trainees will do about 50% of what you do, good or bad, so field train them in the same order you want them to work. Set up your appointments, have your product and presentation material ready when you leave with the new trainee. You know how to set qualified appointments; they don’t so take them on your appointments until they see the first sale made. They need to see you running the same kind of leads they will be running and they need to see a sale made. If they don’t see you make a sale they won’t believe they can make a sale.

This is very important!

Before leaving for appointments, ask what the trainee expectations are for that day, then give your expectations - set the tone for the day. Find out what the trainee expects to see happen and to have happen. Then give them your expectations, talk about the appointments you have set up, how you expect to work the appointments and what you expect the trainee to do when you are conducting the appointments.

Encourage participation - field training is about demonstrating to the trainee the correct and most effective way of working their business. Having them participate in different parts of the day helps them assimilate what they observe to what they experience. The more often you involve them the more familiar you become with them and they with you.

Other important points

Learn to observe - the new trainee is there to observe you but you also need to observe them, how they interact with prospects, the interest they show throughout the day, do they pay attention during your presentations, do they notice any techniques you use etc.

Learn to critique: don’t “major in the minors” - Put the trainee at ease and stress key points, don’t try to teach too much at one time. Don’t cover more that they can master at one time.

Set a “High Standard” as you teach and demonstrate - however the new trainee see’s you doing it is the way they will expect to do it.

Prospect, approach, make the presentation and close the same way you taught them in your training.

Let the trainee carry the ball, trade off as you prospect, you make an approach to a small business or individual lead then let them make the next approach.

Correct the trainee sparingly and privately, phrase often and in public.

Establish a program for continual follow-through - at the end of the day set a time to review what happened and what they can see themselves doing. Schedule the next field training and set an activity goal for them to complete prior to the next time you field train with them.

When discussing sales calls or questions:

Do not provide both sides of conversation- give them time to answer, explore their answer and once started, don’t quit until point is made. Ask them different questions to determine their comprehension.

Do not make a ceremony of these discussions - have a conversation with the trainee, don’t lecture them. Treating these discussions naturally is necessary for good training. Get the trainee into the habit of making the diagnosis immediately after each call.

First ask the trainee what he or she thinks were the weak points and strong points in the interview.

Get the trainee’s opinion regarding his or her own performance?

Limit the discussion to one idea or point at a time and make sure that the trainee understands the point before leaving it. As much as possible keep corrections in question form.

“What could you have done differently?”

“How do you think the customer felt about…”

Be patient and understanding as well as appreciative of the trainee, but at the same time point out the correct way. People learn best when they learn the correct way at the time they are doing the wrong thing. Make your criticism friendly and helpful, never belittling. Never hurt any trainee's feelings by making fun of his or her work.

Teach Sales People to:

  • Solve their own problems

  • Be accountable

  • Achieve goals

You want a team of capable sales professionals, not dependent trainees who see you as responsible for their success.

Remember you can’t expect what you don't inspect!