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The Kids Are Back At School. Are You Ready to Learn Too?

Posted by: In: Sales Coaching, Sales Executives, Sales Managers, Sales Training, Salespeople, Training 07 Sep 2023 Comments: 0 Tags: , , , , , , ,

We’ve all spent a big chunk of our life in formal learning environments, most commonly called schools! Over the course of a decade or two, we acquired a tremendous amount of knowledge — some of it useful, most of it not. Unfortunately, once we enter the working era of our life, our rate of knowledge acquisition falls off. This makes sense in that we are now expected to use this knowledge. But the really successful people in all walks of life never stop learning.

In training thousands of salespeople over the years, I’ve clearly seen that top performers are actually more open to learning new skills than average performers. How ironic!

There are 5 phases to learning. Take a look at the list and ask yourself, “What can I do to apply all 5 phases to a new selling skill?”

The Five Phases of Learning

Phase 1 — Commit to learn

  • The learner must be motivated to learn and to change his or her

behaviour. During the central training experience, learning activities and media illustrate

how new skills, knowledge, and attitudes help learners address job-related issues and

achieve job-related goals. This phase succeeds when learners open themselves to new

possibilities and resolve to master and apply essential interpersonal skills.

Phase 2 — Assess current performance.

  • A carefully crafted survey helps learners measure current

levels of knowledge and application of a key interpersonal skill. Recognizing their

own performance gaps further motivates learners and helps them focus effort in areas

for improvement. Post-training assessments measure recollection of training content

and skill use in the workplace.

Phase 3 — Acquire knowledge. 

  • Learners encounter the cognitive details of a distinct interpersonal

skill through presentation, reading, discussion, observation and analysis of realistic

examples, simulations, and other activities. Typical content includes environmental

cues that prompt skill use; a sequence of behavioural steps; relevant terms; examples of

use and absence of use; and tips, tactics, and pitfalls for each step.

Phase 4 — Develop competence through practice. 

  • The training of interpersonal skills requires

rehearsing with humans—the intended audience for the new skills—in order to achieve

competency. This real-time practice with another human being, whether face-to-face,

voice-to-voice or online, is essential to soft-skill mastery. In a safe setting, learners

rehearse the skill, receive constructive feedback, observe others using the skill and

offer constructive feedback. The goal of this is to develop baseline competence and

build confidence.

Phase 5 — Apply new learning. 

  • Integrating new skills into job interactions requires commitment.

A range of activities—discussions, testimonials, printable online planners, and others—

give learners the clarity and resolve to apply their knowledge and skills. Managers

of trainees can also reinforce and sustain skill application through coaching, recognition

of skill use and modelling the skills.