If you are the Sales Manager, a member of senior management or the owner of a modular home factory, you already know how important it is to send professional sales rep into the field to work with your existing builders and prospect for new ones.
You also know that they have to be trained in the art of selling to builders as well as being the builder’s direct communication conduit to every department in the factory. You also know that in-house training for new sales reps is almost non-existent in our industry.
When a factory needs a new sales rep they begin the search by looking at the current sales rep base that is already working for other factories. Since most sales reps know their contemporaries at the competing companies, having your sales rep approach the other rep with an inquiry is the time tested way of hiring someone that you don’t have to train.
I’ve worked at several factories where the training included being introduced to the head of Engineering, the Sales Manager, The GM and a couple of others that would prove to be invaluable to me. The only training I received from any of them was how to fill out a quote. That’s not entirely true, I was shown where the literature and sample rooms were so I could learn the standard product, the optional items and the plan books.
All that happened within the first few days and after that I was “on my own”, given a map, thermos of coffee and a list of my builders. "Go get ‘em"
Not having a true training program in place for ALL your sales reps has 4 main risks that can hurt your business in many ways.
Risk 1: New employees learning from your bad apples.
Can one bad apple really spoil the whole bunch? Without a solid learning strategy, you have no control over how your employees learn. Bad habits are hard to fix and without providing the proper learning support to help sales reps reach their potential, you risk them learning all the wrong things from all the wrong people.
Risk 2: Higher chance of turnover.
An unorganized, incomplete and lacklustre learning strategy is often the leading cause for sales reps to rethink their decision to stay with a factory.
Disengagement from inadequate support leaves sales reps feeling resentful and lacking confidence in their role. It’s time to realize that a strong learning strategy is the number one reason top talent comes to work for and stay with you.
Risk 3: Poor customer service and damage to brand reputation.
You only get one chance to make a first impression, and as cliche as that is, a negative first impression can have long lasting repercussions. Putting untrained or under educated sales reps in front of builders tarnishes their experience and your company’s brand.
Risk 4: Slowed ramp time.
Without effective learning support, sales reps can suffer long learning curves with drawn out time to productivity rates. This drives up costs for idle time and increases the risks associated with trial and error learning. It takes an average of 6-8 months for a sales rep to go from first contact with a builder to having the house go to the production line at the factory.
Within little or no training, the sales rep could have made a lot of mistakes during that time that might cost your factory a sale simply because they appeared uninformed about things.
If you think continuous training is expensive, I wonder how much more you will lose by not teaching them how to be better sales reps.