Are You Unleashed?
Learning Without Scars is pleased to introduce our new guest writer, Isaac Rollor. For his first post, he is asking, “are you unleashed?”
Isaac Rollor is a lifelong gearhead, mechanic, and training content creator/instructor. Isaac got started in the heavy equipment business as a mechanic maintaining and repairing his father’s equipment fleet and eventually received formal training in the Diesel Equipment Technology Program at Chattahoochee Technical College in Acworth Georgia. Isaac’s enthusiasm for lifelong learning led him to complete his MBA at Reinhardt University in Waleska Georgia.
Isaac has enjoyed many technical roles over the course of his career, most notably as the Automotive Program Technical Instructor at Chattahoochee Technical College, Corporate Technical Trainer with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and Technical Instructor/Developer (Dozers) while working with Komatsu America.
Isaac also has extensive experience in sales, holding the title of Sales Instructor/Developer, District Manager and National Account Manager with Komatsu America. Today Isaac works with Forrest Performance Group and specializes in sales training and sales recruiting.
Isaac enjoys writing articles, developing training course content, and appearing at public speaking events. Isaac is actively involved in educating and recruiting high school and college age students to pursue careers with OEM’s and heavy equipment dealers.
You can contact Isaac directly by connecting with him on Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/isaac-rollor-335b6876/
If you would like to learn more about sales training and sales recruiting, please visit: https://www.fpg.com/
Early in my career I realized that some inexperienced salespeople with entry-level subject matter knowledge were having more success than other highly experienced and highly knowledgeable salespeople in the industry. What I was witnessing is a phenomenon that is often flatly overlooked or described as “beginners’ luck” without any further investigation or question. Maybe you have noticed something like this? This phenomenon is most visible in sales but exists in all professions to some extent. We have all seen salespeople who have worked in the industry for decades and they are not closing sales. We have also watched brand new salespeople who are in the president’s club 3 months after they start selling. This new salesperson didn’t make the presidents club because of their huge knowledge base, meanwhile the veteran is struggling to meet sales targets despite having a deep knowledge of the industry and an intimate knowledge the product they are supposed to be selling.
In education we are told to believe that someone’s performance should be equal to their knowledge base. I started to question this paradigm while I was developing product sales training content for North American sales teams. At this time my mission was to develop cutting edge product sales training content and deliver this content to salespeople through web based and instructor led training. This is exactly what I did. The training content was excellent by all standards, and I successfully delivered hundreds of training offerings that received excellent reviews. I focused all my attention towards ensuring that the North American sales team had access to all the knowledge required to educate customers and help them make a purchasing decision. My efforts were successful, and salespeople soon had all the knowledge they could possibly desire at their fingertips. I felt that our training group had finally evened the playing field for all salespeople within the organization, and I was certain that massive increases in sales market share would be the result of these efforts.
I soon witnessed something very interesting. Some sales teams flourished with access to this increased knowledge and some sales teams saw no noticeable difference. This was concerning to me. How can two groups be exposed to the exact same resources but have completely different results? This question caused me to read many books and download many podcasts related to developing successful training programs. I soon learned that even the so called “experts” in sales training were slow to guarantee any results from the training experiences they provided. It was at this time that I stumbled across a book written by Jason Forrest called WTF: Why Training Fails. This book acknowledged something profound “164.2 billion is spent annually on training in North America, yet 70% of this training fails to produce ROI. “
I was shocked by this. Even more shocking was that the WTF book even promoted a trademarked performance formula: Performance=Knowledge-Leashes.
As described in WTF, a “leash” is the limiting beliefs that prevent us from acting on our knowledge. Basically a “leash” is an arbitrary rule or reluctance that salespeople have created because of past experiences and programming. Here are some examples of rules that you may hear salespeople verbalize: “You must make a friend before you make a sale” or “you must always ask for the sale in person” or even, “you can’t sell our products over a zoom video call it just won’t work”.
These are all examples of rules that will limit the success of a salesperson. The more rules a salesperson creates the harder it is to overcome those rules and make a sale. I came to the difficult realization that the training I had developed was based completely on knowledge and did not in any way remove the leashes or previous programming of the salespeople who consumed the content.
This realization prompted me to start researching how salespeople can overcome and sell through leashes. I discovered that everyone has leashes to some extent and to overcome a leash requires continued training and coaching. A salespersons leash must first be identified then a coaching program must be created that allows the salesperson to overcome and sell through the leash, essentially reprogramming the salespersons brain to think differently.
If you want your child to excel in sports, do you just drop them off at the sports complex, let them participate without any formal instruction and then pick them up a few hours later? Or do you hire the best coach and get involved? The answer is obvious, but our industry rarely applies this same thinking to professional selling. It is common to see sales reps with multi-million-dollar territories who have never received a selling script, and never been trained or coached on a selling process. A common practice is to condense sales training into a short period. This allows the salesperson to rapidly complete sales training, frame a nice certificate, and get right to work. This scenario sounds great to most sales managers and has become the industry norm.
Would you board an airplane if you knew the pilot skipped flight school and only attended a two-day seminar? I suspect not. Your customers feel the same way when they are making purchasing decisions.
I would urge you to think about your company’s existing sales training. Is this training focused solely on knowledge? What leashes might the sales team have adopted that currently limits their success? How often is the sales team receiving coaching that will help them overcome existing leashes? Is the sales team being continually coached and held accountable to a script or a proven process pattern or strategy?
When salespeople are trained and coached, they will perform at the top of their game, win market share, impress your buyer, and provide a massive ROI.
If you would like to learn more about the WTF book please visit: https://shopfpg.com/product/wtf-why-training-fails Forrest, J. (2017). Why Training Fails. MJS Press.