Virtual Training for Real World Growth

By Roseann “Ro” Shales

(Originally published by World of Direct Selling)

“I don’t understand why people are frightened by new ideas.  I’m frightened by the old ones.” — John Cage

Have you seen a drop off in sales and/or recruiting in the last few years? Are you willing to take an honest look at what’s not working in our industry? Are you open to new ideas on how to increase recruiting, reduce attrition and truly empower your people to succeed?

The promise of direct sales is an unlimited opportunity with a low barrier to entry.  It’s what makes this profession the great equalizer and why it’s 92 million strong worldwide.  If “anyone can play in this sandbox”, we have to realize very few come equipped to achieve the dreams we encourage them to create for themselves and their families.

We have an obligation to “equip them” to be and do more than they have ever done before.

So how do we empower the masses that come to us with big dreams, serious needs, yet little experience in growing a business?  How do we turn those who say yes to our opportunity into focused, productive, engaging individuals who lead others to the top of the pay plan?

What worked yesterday isn’t working today. Think back 20, 10, even 5 years ago, when the answer to how to train and move our people was pretty simple.

  1. Systems
  2. Motivation
  3. Rewards

Systems – Slick, well-crafted flip charts, engaging scripts and sexy stories of people who achieved their dreams don’t work like they used to.  The older generation is jaded, even suspicious of the message, and the younger generation just doesn’t buy it!

Motivation – The “you can do it” message still works but has a short lifespan.  In an era of instant gratification, consultants who come in “hot” can lose interest quickly when they experience what it takes to turn a $100 or $200 investment into a lucrative career.

Rewards – We are an industry built on extrinsic motivation, described by Daniel Pink, in his book, “Drive”.  Moving people outside their comfort zone, with the allure of “carrots” is over. People yearn for what Pink calls intrinsic motivation. Consultants want to know that what you want them to do is in alignment with their core values. Push them to do something out of alignment with their core values, and THEY ARE GONE!

So what do we do? Stop kidding ourselves. Old-school methods fail to engage today’s consultants. They demand more information and support than we have ever been required to give them.

We need to provide comprehensive training that is:

  • User friendly while inspiring consumption and implementation of best practices
  • Delivered in logical, sequential steps to develop success habits
  • Developed to track participation and progress
  • Equipped with recognition features to motivate consultants toward their goals
  • Formulated to increase retention and encourage advancement to leadership
  • Virtual, available 24/7 to meet the diverse needs and lifestyles of our sales force.

At same time, we need to take training responsibility out of the hands of leaders, freeing them up to recruit and support more people; and work their personal business. The right virtual platform can empower our consultants to learn consistently and then take the right actions to build the business they want.

Today’s training requires simple-to-navigate delivery of an incremental learning model which moves consultants through the curriculum with accountability, interaction, motivation, comprehension, measurement, an engaging interface to keep them moving to completion and adaption. In 2013, digital (or virtual) is the preferred training platform. This allows companies to keep their sales force connected while reducing their long-term annual time and cost of training, travel, and meeting space.

Now is the time to implement your own powerful, online, multi-media e-learning platform to deliver your content and core concepts for every stage of the business. Once you have it designed, its available 24/7 to engage your sales force to learn and implement best practices. There you have it – a solution to our challenges to allow direct sales companies and their people to thrive in the years ahead!




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