To me, the answer to “what makes good training” is “whatever training achieves behavior changes that allow the desired results of the training to be met.” (And, yes – it must be measureable!)
Maybe I make things too simple. But at the risk of making things too complex, I think you need to use basic behavior modification principles. In Behavior Modification: What It Is and How to Do It, Pear and Martin noted that there are seven characteristics to effective behavior modification:
- There is a strong emphasis on defining problems in terms of behavior that can be measured in some way.
2. The treatment techniques are ways of altering an individual’s current environment to help that individual function more fully.
3. The methods and rationales can be described precisely.
4. The techniques are often applied in everyday life.
5. The techniques are based largely on principles of learning – specifically operant conditioning and classical conditioning.
6. There is a strong emphasis on scientific demonstration that a particular technique was responsible for a particular behavior change.
7. There is a strong emphasis on accountability for everyone involved in a behavior modification program.
Taking those academics into practice, let’s apply these characteristics to one of the objectives noted earlier – the business owner/sales manager who wants his sales team to increase their close ratios.
- Define the problem: our close ratio is too low because our sales reps aren’t overcoming objections and closing the deal.
- Treatment techniques: we need to focus our training on how to overcome objections they are getting in the field, and closing the deal.
- The methods: we will use a combination of classroom training, role-plays, and in-field sales coaching.
- Techniques: we will develop objection and closing scripts for the reps to use in the field on live sales meetings.
- Techniques based on principles of learning: since everyone learns differently, we’ll provide the proper objection handling and closing models for the reps, but have them build the scripts according to how they think and work every day in the field.
- Scientific demonstration: we will measure close ratio changes weekly.
- Strong emphasis on accountability: we will produce sales reports and close ratio statistics that are reviewed at our weekly sales meeting. Each person will have a percentage-increase goal that the results are measured against. If the goals are not met in the first 90 days, the rep(s) will be placed on a performance improvement plan that addresses what they need to do (behaviorally and results) to maintain their employment.
Pretty simple, yes?
Returning to the question: “What makes good training?”
Well, in this case it’s the training that follows our plan above – and results in hitting our increase in close ratio from “A” to “B.”
But to determine what “B” is, lock the door, shut the shades and tell me what you want it to equal!