Just last month, I was training a new sales rep a client hired through us. When the rep was endorsed to my department for deployment, I was told he was experienced in phone sales and I naturally expected much from him. During our one on one training, however, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed. It was apparent in his body language that he was so confused.
He didn’t do well AT ALL during the training. I had to repeat some points over and over. It came to a point where I just had to stop in the middle of a roleplay and say we have to break for five minutes.
I quickly approached my department head to let her know that I don’t feel the rep would be a great fit for the position and should be endorsed to extensive training. “I thought this guy did sales before,” I said to my manager. You see, we also hire newbies but we have them undergo a more extensive training.
During our training, his most notable weaknesses were:
- His tone was weak. It lacked the power and charisma of a sales machine.
- There were parts of the script he couldn’t deliver right.
- It took him way too much time to crunch numbers.
I was told not to give up just yet. So I didn’t.
I got the rep’s would-be supervisor to back me up with his training and her initial reaction was the same as me. We ended up breaking again after less than an hour because it was apparent that he’s getting rattled and nervous.
The coach and I talked about our observations. We also went through his resume and saw that he has indeed worked as a call center sales rep before.
We then looked at the script again and figured it out! It was in front of us ALL ALONG! The dude was afraid of numbers! All his confusion and nervousness stem from that one part in the flow of the call where he has to use a calculator. It wasn’t at all too complex, he just needed to compare the advertised price less any major repairs and the asking price.
Of course, we can’t judge him for sucking at math, or just simply being afraid of maths. I went over the concept and explained to him. He understood it very well, but his head just naturally spins when he sees more than three digits on the screen.
We tweaked the training for a little bit to fix the problem. What we did is had him roleplay a similar script sans the calculations. He did WAY better and he was able to showcase his sales skills.
We developed a simple tool for him using MS Excel where he just had to input the numbers so he wouldn’t have to worry with the operations. We then had him go through a list of set figures to practice on the tool.
We had him go on live dialing the next day. The client has stayed with us ever since and is generally happy about the services.