A blueprint for sales training.

Author:Hubbard, Andrew S.
Position:Training - Column
 
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In most companies in our industry, the biggest, highest-profile and most expensive training event is the course that is run regularly to train newly hired salespeople. That's as it should be, because the training is extensive and the function is critical.

After having conducted or managed these courses for a number of companies and for many years, I realized recently that there is an elegantly simple blueprint for designing such a course, or for auditing its content to be sure that all the critical pieces are there.

Let's take a look at the model, discuss it briefly and review some frequently asked questions.

As you can see, the model is extremely simple (see Figure 1). Trust me, it becomes more beautiful the longer you look at it, because this extremely simple graphic summarizes all the key skill and knowledge areas in which a new loan officer needs competence in order to succeed in your company.

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) No. 1: How long does this training take?

A: At least a week, probably two.

That answer is a dreadful shock to most senior managers. As we look at the competency areas, I will suggest some reasons why it is not a good idea to shortchange this process.

First, let's look at sales. Your new salespeople should learn whatever sales process you use one small, logical step at a time, and they should practice, practice, practice in the safety of the classroom with instant professional feedback.

FAQ No. 2: How about if I only hire experienced salespeople and skip this step?

A: This won't work, for two reasons.

The first is that experience is surprisingly unrelated to competence. Go on some sales calls with your experienced loan officers, and there is a good chance you may be appalled at what you see. Second, if you want to build a culture with a firm sales orientation, it is critical that your salespeople sell consistently with the same techniques, the same process and the same values. You can only achieve that with a serious commitment to training.

Next, systems. Your loan officers have to be able to use your origination software (and other systems such as e-mail) with competence and confidence. Mortgage loan origination software has come a long way since it was introduced 20 years ago, but it is still a fairly complex application requiring some focused training.

FAQ No. 3: Can't I have my...

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