Benchmark Business Group

Is your training designed to fail?

May 1, 2018

In most financial services businesses, training consists of information on products and services and the advice to watch and copy the experts; do what I do and you'll be fine. Most new employees are put in a sink or swim scenario.

Experience is the best teacher, right? Yes and no. Experience is vital in the learning process, but the type of experience will make a world of difference.

For instance, you may hire someone you think is a perfect fit for sales. You have them watch you make a few calls. You give them a script. Then you turn them loose on the phones. After a few days, you expect their performance to vastly improve. They just need experience, right? Not necessarily.

The issue is, when someone watches you, they watch you through their own perspective. Their past experiences and education filters what they see and hear. This leads people to miss important parts of the process.
  • Did they notice that you change your tone at certain parts of the script?  
  • Did they catch that you offered a specific solution, because you noticed something the client was saying indirectly?
Chances are you don't even notice when you implement these smaller skills. If you've been selling for a while or consider yourself a natural, these tips and techniques have become muscle memory for you. You don't stop to think, you just do them. If you don't notice that these smaller skills are a part of your process, how can you teach someone else?

What typically happens is that the person doesn't learn the smaller skills. They might get better, but most will do so slowly and hit a plateau. They'll take the script and make it their own, which is great, because no one wants to talk to a robot, but in doing so they'll leave out key pieces. Not on purpose mind you, but because they don't know any better.

They'll get experience, but if they're not doing the right things, they'll build the wrong habits. They won't know what to change or how to get better. So they'll continue to do what they think you've taught them. What they think you do. And most of the time they'll fail. Or they give up.

The truth is most training programs are perfectly designed to fail. If you want someone to get better at any skill, you need to make sure they practice with intention. It's not just about gaining experience. They have to practice the right skills to gain the right experience. The trainer needs to observe the trainee and give feedback, especially instant feedback, so that they know what to change.

It requires the trainer to understand how to break the skill into small pieces that are practiced with repetition until they are mastered. You can't train someone to simply do what you do and expect them to become a master. Your training program has to allow them to practice the smaller skills until they become natural and then put them together to master the process.

In our example, we've focused on sales, but this is applicable for every position in your business. It's not just a suggestion, it's based on the scientifically proven training method named Deliberate Practice. We challenge you to learn more about deliberate practice, but to also step back and look at your own training program. Are you relying too much on experience, without teaching your employees the needed skills to excel?

« Back

© 2024 Benchmark Business Group. All rights reserved.