One of the hardest business routines for me to break was checking my email when I first got up in the morning. Email is such a time suck! But I couldn’t help myself.
I actually was cognizant of the fact that I was having a chemical reaction in my brain that made me feel like I had missed something if I didn’t check my emails. It wasn’t until about two years ago that I made a shift. The inception started with a simple quote I heard, that I can’t remember where or when I heard it.
The quote is: “Emails are other people’s priorities, not yours.” With that simple quote, and countless other subconscious learnings from people such as Tim Ferriss, I decided to change.
Create A Repeatable Process
My first change was to replace the email checking action with an Insights checking action on Feed.ly. I would spend 5–10 minutes reading a few articles, some for self-interest and some to be shared with buyers. I would then share an insight to my LinkedIn and Twitter network before really starting my day.
That was it. That was one step among other Social Selling steps that helped build my company. Instead of nose-diving into emails that would consume my time and alter my daily priorities, I would first serve my brain and my buyer with insights. Over time, I later evolved my email checking routine to only three times per day:
7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.: Scan for customer emails, and make those a priority. Then clean out the inbox.
12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.: Only answer customer emails or anything that seemed “Urgent.”
8:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.: While working on the couch with my wife, clean out my email inbox.
This routine has made me exponentially more efficient during business hours. I now spend my day helping my team and serving my customers, not focusing on nonessential tasks that others would like to inject into my daily priorities.
Was this difficult to change? Yes
Did this happen overnight? No
My behavioral change required constant self-supervision and reinforcement of a new habit.
I bring up this analogy because it showcases that driving adoption with social selling does not happen overnight either.
In fact, hundreds of sales enablement leaders we’ve met have tried to kick start an internally-designed Social Selling program, only to fail because they tackled the project like they had other skill-based training – in a half-day workshop.
One-and-done training for sales professionals, for a topic as evolutionary as Social Selling, is guaranteeing to have on 10 percent of the learnings retained two weeks later. Do not develop a Social Selling program unless you’re going to create checks and balances, gates and hurdles, for sales professionals to master before continuing their learning path.
Social Selling isn’t like teaching a sales professional how to pick up a telephone receiver. Social Selling has the same dynamics as teaching a new sales professional how to pick up the phone, dial, talk to a CFO, objection handle, book a discovery call, host that discovery call, and qualify the buyer for the sales team.
Can you accomplish this in a half-day workshop? Workshops are the perfect environment to create buy-in, create a groundswell of initial action within the sale force, but don’t mistake it for world-class training and coaching.
create a reinforceble training program
The reality is that reinforcement has to be implemented in bite-sized chunks.
I’ve learnt this the hard way. When we first started our business, we tried to make digital transformation happen overnight. We crammed too much information into the minds of our students, and predictably, the learning didn’t stick.
So, how do you create behavioral change? By following this simple sequence.
1. Creating awareness that a problem exists.
2. Backing up that problem with facts and figures that a person can relate to which pushes them off their status quo. We call this priority shifting. If you can push them off their status quo, they’ll be willing to listen.
3. Showing them a prescriptive process (or formal sales methodology) to making that change that complements the way they are accustomed to selling, so they can clearly see it’s an additive but simple process to change.
4. Having them practice it as a daily routine. For every deal every day they’re working that account.
5. Testing that change.
With this simple sequence, you’ve drawn a baseline in the sand and made an incremental change. It’s now simple to measure how well this is progressing, because you’ve only made one mechanical change.
WHAT CAN I DO TO ENSURE REINFORCEMENT IS SUCCESSFUL?
Once you have the who and the how sorted out, it’s time to dive into how. Whether you’re building or buying a sales training program (social selling or otherwise), consider if you or your vendor can deliver on the following:
– Implement Periodic Refreshers, such as cheat sheets, product updates and how they change your company’s value prop, Salesforce reminders for CRM best practises, etc.
– Spot Check Sales Readiness, such as assignments, pop quizzes, etc.
– Reinforce With Coaching and Simulation Exercises, such as real-time call coaching, recording and analyzing pitches and using them as learning experiences, etc.
– Mentoring, such as internal training, a mentor system, etc.
– Make it Mobile in order to ensure these activities become of your salespeople’s daily activities.
You’re now set to test how well this learning behaviour translates into sales outcomes, and how that sales outcome translates into business results.