How to Get New Salespeople to Take Off Like a Rocket Ship

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Sep 07, 2017 @ 16:09 PM

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Several of my recent conversations with sales leaders have focused on how to quickly and effectively and efficiently get new salespeople up to speed and help them to have an immediate impact.  Quickly and immediate are relative to the learning curve and the sales cycle but are still the key outcomes.

Most companies combine some kind of classroom training with self-directed online training, shadowing an experienced salesperson and coaching.  While all of that helps to pass on important knowledge, it does little to quickly ramp up a new salesperson.  What does?  I'll share that next.

Your classroom training and self-directed training are totally controlled.  But the time spent with other salespeople is the complete opposite.  There is no control.  It's not scripted. Your best salespeople often go rogue.  You have no idea what will happen, what your new salespeople will see and hear, and whether you want them exposed to it.  So most sales leaders minimize, discount and undersell the joint sales call.

In my experience, sales leaders fail to leverage a new salesperson spending time with and following an experienced salesperson.  It's not just one of the things that should be included as part of your on boarding - it's the most important thing. But if you don't set the proper expectations, provide a framework, and properly debrief, bad things will happen.  Consider these four points:

  1. Before you send Bob, your new salesperson, to shadow Rick, your seasoned salesperson, you'll want to teach Bob the sales cycle, messaging, phone calls, sales meetings, conversations, objections and outcomes that are typical for your business.  Only then will his time with Rick make sense and have a proper context.
  2. All of your veteran salespeople are different, with various strengths and weaknesses.  It's crucial that you prepare Bob for his time with Rick by saying, "I want you to watch Rick when he begins to ask questions - that's his greatest strength.  And when Rick goes off track, starts rambling and telling stories, ignore that.  It's not something I want you trying to emulate."
  3. Explain to each new salesperson the difference between your company's sales best practices - that everyone must follow - the seasoned salesperson's best practices - which Bob should attempt to emulate - and Rick being Rick, which Bob should ignore.
  4. After spending a day or two with Rick, you need to debrief Bob and ask what he learned, what he thought was important, what he liked, what he didn't like, what he learned about your business, what he would do differently and why.  It's the last two questions - differently and why - that provide you with insight into Bob's beliefs and how they might sabotage his performance.

Follow these four points to leverage your new salespeople's time with veterans salespeople and help them get off to a quick start.

Want another great way to on board your new salespeople?  Have them participate in my top-rated, live, interactive, 12-week online sales training program where we bring to life the concepts of Baseline Selling.  You can learn more about the program here and if you're interested in having salespeople attend, drop me an email and I'll help you get preferred status to the best sales training around.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, on boarding, joint sales call, new salesperson

Double Article Friday - How New Salespeople Struggle

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Feb 21, 2014 @ 05:02 AM

driving in the snowToday, you'll receive multiple articles and a bonus video too!

The Sold Lab portal posted this article of mine, "Why Sales Training Doesn't Work".

Then, Evan Carmichael did a terrific job interviewing me for this video on his YouTube channel.

Today's article is a follow-up of sorts to this article from yesterday.  It would help to read that for context if you haven't already.   

So we're back in the snow.

Yesterday, during our morning huddle, the team was talking about how hard it had snowed the previous two days.  I mentioned that in the past two days, my 50-minute roundtrips had totaled 4 hours of white-knuckle driving.  It was stressful and exhausting because I could barely see out the windows due to heavy snow and ice piling up, there was no visibility as it was snowing at a clip of about 2-3 inches per hour, I couldn't control the cars that were sliding past me and in front of me, and I knew that if I had to stop, I couldn't.

Rocky's wife encountered a similar scenario on her flight from Florida to Albany as the pilot began the flight happy, funny and relaxed, and presented all the sites as the flight headed north.  When he entered the heavy snow zone near Albany, he was back on the intercom but this time sounding very serious, very stressed, and very short.  He ordered all of the flight attendants back to their seats, ended cabin service, and warned that the visibility was so bad he may have to divert the flight to another airport.

We are talking about a driver with 42 years experience driving in the snow and a commercial airline pilot with probably 30 years experience flying in the elements.  Yet in both of these scenarios, the experience wasn't enough to keep it from being extremely stressful and dangerous.

Rocky mentioned that my scenario might mirror exactly how it feels to be a new salesperson, or an experienced salesperson who isn't being onboarded properly at a new company.  New salespeople could easily be experiencing the white-knuckle syndrome, have difficulty seeing ahead, feeling like the car won't stop, and just being totally out of control.

If ever there was a good analogy for the new salesperson, this is it; and what a case it makes for nailing the onboarding process to make sure that nothing is left to chance.  In what kind of shape is your onboarding process for new salespeople?

Here is an article that I wrote seven years ago about how to onboard new salespeople and it still holds true today.  Enjoy.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales management, Sales Coaching, new salespeople, on boarding

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader,  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog has earned medals for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for nine consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave

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