Getting new salespeople up to speed, quickly

Nathan Anibaba
April 7, 2019

Getting a new salesperson up to speed and selling your products and services quickly is a challenge. If you’ve recently hired a new sales person you’ve probably spent a lot of time and effort interviewing, screening and training this new person and there are some pretty aggressive sales goals you want them to hit.

However it takes time for the new hire to get fully up to speed with everything they need to know to confidently sell your services to prospective customers.

Some of the things they need to know:

  1. Product line
  2. Service offering
  3. Competitors
  4. USPs
  5. Expectations
  6. Organisational structure
  7. Presentations
  8. CRM
  9. Sales tools
  10. Best practices
  11. Company history
  12. Customers
  13. Business case
  14. Lead generation
  15. Proposals
  16. Target market

The way businesses normally deal with this is by having the new hire sit with different members of the business so they can download everything they know into the mind of the poor new hire.

After days of this her brain is frazzled, there’s no way someone can be expected to absorb that amount of information in such a short period of time and become proficient at their job.

No wonder why so many new sales people quit within the first few months or the business fires them because it seems as though they’re not performing.

6 strategies for rapid learning

In his time as a sales trainer for business with new product launches, Dave Kurlan had to get new sellers up to speed quickly. He identified 6 ways new sales people can quickly acquire the key information they need to be successful in their role.

These 6 learning strategies can be applied to anything you would like to become better at, flying plane, learning a language etc. The knowledge you already have will affect your starting point but don’t alter the need for the strategies.

  1. Chunking

Breaking big subjects down into smaller more digestible chunks is the first task in rapid learning. Otherwise the project is just too overwhelming. The brain loves structure so it likes to file all new knowledge into mental folders.

  1. Sequencing

After breaking the subject down into chunks, you then need to know what you need to learn first and what comes after that. Things have to be learned in the right order otherwise they don’t make sense. Taking everything in at the same time doesn’t work.

  1. Connecting

Linking new learning to things you already know is a great way to speed up retention. For example you may think about how your new job is similar to previous positions. Using this approach uses the brain’s existing folders to help you sort through and organize information.

  1. Dumping

Your brain gets bogged down easily, the more information it has to learn the less it’s able to function properly. Effective learning is about getting all the relevant information out of your head and into a place where you can look at and access it later. This frees up brain space for more learning.

  1. Practicing

Anytime you need to learn a skill deliberate practice is essential. The best practice in sales comes from role playing. Every time you practice a new skill it cements new behaviours in place.

  1. Prioritising

Your brain can’t do two things at the same time. Contrary to popular belief people don’t actually multitask we ‘task switch’. This seriously degrades the brain’s processing power. The best way to learn is to focus on the most important activity at the beginning of the day and complete that first before moving onto the next one.

Science has increased our understanding of the brain in recent years. We’ve learned a lot about how we best learn new skills and apply them to our role. These 6 areas can be applied to getting new sales hires up to speed.

For more information read ‘Your Brain at Work’ by David Rock.

Have a good week

Nathan