Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Give Your Sales Rep an Unfair Advantage

When a modular home factory hires a new sales rep, the average number of days for new hire training ranges from 3 days to 10 days.  Most new reps learn how to sell on the job.  They don’t have any bad habits to break as most sales managers don’t have very many new habits for the rep to learn except to fill in the CRM software properly, exaggerate how business is going, complete an order form and look busy when the sales manager shows up.

Most of the training a new rep gets is company-centric, not focused on the home builder. Any training they get is about product and sales metrics.  So the reps often don’t learn about business drivers and market forces affecting builders during new hire training.  This makes it tough for them to get a great jump when they try to sell to the established builders in their new territory.  Forget about any training for prospecting, cold calling, follow up, etc.

As I’ve said in prior articles, successful sales reps practice their sales conversations every day, read everything they can get their hands on concerning the modular industry and have lots of good suggestions to help their builders market and sell homes.

But not developing business acumen about builders in new hire sales training leaves new sales reps to obtain that information themselves – an inefficient process as well as one that also leaves sales reps to develop their own understanding of the value of their solutions.  When they do it on their own the results are usually partially incomplete or even incorrect.

If there any modular home factories that start new sales reps off on the right foot, let me know.  These would be the ones that move beyond simple product and order taking training.  The ones I’m looking for train new hires in sales skills, competitive knowledge and go all the way through modular business acumen such as understanding builders, market drivers and knowing their competitors.

Any factory that actually does this will give their sales reps, not only the new hires, a definite unfair advantage.

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