Putting It All Together
In the last three installments of this series, we have endeavored to build a case that our beliefs must be in congruence with our ethics and values in order to reach our full potential as sales people. Beliefs drive behaviors and behaviors drive results. So, if you can’t learn these principles intellectually, how exactly do we put together a program to address these issues effectively? How can we ensure that the change in productive behavior is lasting and consistent?
According to our mantra at Integrity Solutions, Inc., we transform people’s potential through an ethics driven process that aligns knowledge, skills and values. In turn, we help our clients create value for their customers, which brings about customer loyalty. We know from research done at the Harvard Business School that customer loyalty is a key driver of business revenue.*
Before we get into the process, let me state up front two critical requirements for success: First is a business culture that reflects a high degree of ethics and values in the organization’s dealings with customers or clients. Second is an expressed commitment to the process by senior management of the organization. With that said, let’s examine the process.
Adults best learn through “self-discovery” based upon their experience and what they feel is relevant to the task at hand. This concept is practiced and reinforced throughout our initial seminars and follow-up sessions. Rather than by lecture from “the expert”, our programs are facilitated to guide and draw out meaningful experience from the participants based upon the principles and skills presented. By establishing a safe environment to share, this is a very powerful learning tool for behavioral change.
Next, the process must be repeated and reinforced over time. We know from our research, it takes three to four weeks of intentional practice to form a habit. Over the eight weeks of follow-up sessions (typical for most of our programs), bonding with other participants and behavior change starts to take place between the third and fourth week of the program. Here we start to observe real changes in attitudes and actions and we hold them accountable to continue to practice and report back on results.
These efforts must be rewarded. Behavior that gets rewarded gets repeated. Rewards can take the form of simple recognition of success by managers and peers, or they can be instructional, such a book award, or they can be tangible incentives. Generally, increased sales production from the conscientious practice of the principles and skills can be its own reward in increased income.
Because the principles and skills are universal, the programs are self- leveling. That means that whatever level of experience or sophistication of the participant, they learn and practice from that point of entry. The corollary to this is that the programs are customizable to whatever the complexity of the selling cycle, product or service sold. The principles and skills are applicable to all “B” to “B” consultative selling applications.
To make this all a lasting experience of improved performance and production with a high ratio of ROI, we need our managers to coach to the principles and skills covered. When this takes place, the organization has made a quantum leap to the next level.
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