Super Agent

Effective Training: One Size Does Not Fit All

Too often, agency owners and sales managers will provide producers with the same sales training and resources regardless of their skill level, needs or performance. As we’ve discussed in the past, failure to assess the needs and attributes of producers before implementing a training strategy can be a waste of time, energy and resources. According to an article published in Harvard Business Review by Thomas Steenburgh and Michael Ahearne very few companies are focusing on getting the most out of their salespeople, and “companies that take individual differences into account will realize better results across the performance curve.” It is important to segment your producers and identify their performance problems in order to align effective training that will improve outcomes.

Identifying where underperforming producers are lacking is the first step in aligning the right training resources with specific producer needs. They may be lacking knowledge, or they may lack the ability to convey their knowledge fluently. Asking these questions can help identify where producers are underperforming and what skills they are lacking:

Fluency Questions:

- Can the producer identify right-fit clients and convey a message that captures attention and curiosity?
- Does the producer have the skill to connect resources with a prospect’s risks and threats?
- Does the producer have the ability to identify and adapt to marketplace changes?

Knowledge Questions:

- Is technical knowledge missing; do producers have the necessary knowledge to understand problems and identify opportunities?
- Does the producer have a good understanding of the sales process and the ability to effectively lead the buyer through the sales process?
- Does the producer have the ability to up-sell and cross-sell clients?

Once these questions are answered, a distinct and effective training strategy can be developed. Segmenting producers and assessing their needs is a necessary step in developing a training program to improve their success. According to John Baldoni, “when it comes to reaching people, one size does not fit all.”

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