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How to Better Train in the Field

Guest Post By: Emmie Brown

Field training

I recently had one of my clients come to me and say, “I am not sure my managers are working with people very effectively in the field, can you check it out for me?” After investigating, they weren’t! They were working with their agents all day long in the field, doing the presentations, but expecting the brand new rookies to learn by osmosis. Many times we think we are teaching people how to sell effectively just by having them watch us. It does not really work like that at all! They cannot always just learn this way, they actually have to do what they are learning.

Someone can sit in a class on how to learn to ride a bicycle and intellectually understand how to balance, or how they need to put one foot down and the other up. It’s not just about reading a book on it or being told that will teach someone, it is actually having someone along side of them helping them stay balanced and figure it out. As a leader, we don’t just need to have the team watch what we do, we actually have to coach them as they go.

This is a field training methodology. It’s very simple and effective. It’s a formula you can use when you’re working with new people in the field, and you watch each other to help develop new skills.

The methodology is to watch, show, watch, make it real.

What you do, and how this works, is you have them do a portion of their presentation, role play a section or the entire thing, and you watch how they do it. When you’re watching, you are not looking for every little thing they are doing wrong, you’re looking for the biggest and most important area. One or two things that you can give them suggestions on, that if they do it, they will improve their presentation and make it better. You’re watching them, and listening for that one piece of advice you can give them.

The second thing you do is show them. You role play it back to them and have them see what it is that you are wanting them to get in very accurate detail. Then you have them do it again. Watch to see if they improve and use that advice and make sure they know you notice the difference. Now you go make it real. You go out and do the full presentation and apply what was learned.

The magic about following this formula is that even though you are giving someone one little piece of advice and they are practicing and applying it, over time, if you’re continuing to work with people with this methodology their skills will go from very small, to very adapted.  They are going to be strong, they will be proficient and know how to do things right. It won’t be because they just watched you and tried to pick up what you were doing. You broke it down for them one piece at a time. You followed an effective field training methodology.

How have you learned to best train your field agents?  Share some key ways you help others grow and learn in your business.

Emmie Brown is an executive level coach and an expert in the Psychology of Scripting. Emmie started her career with The Southwestern Company as a student intern at the University of North Carolina. She continued to work with Southwestern over the next 10 years as a top producing sales manager until joining Southwestern Consulting in 2009. Emmie has spent the last 4 years traveling the country as a professional sales trainer, executive coach and business consultant with Southwestern Consulting and the Success Starts Now! conference series. She is also the author of the audio series Talk Less, Sell More and a breakout presenter at the Success Starts Now! sales training conference.