Hotel sales training has been an important, yet somewhat controversial topic for many years. Everyone agrees that the potential benefits should make it a great investment. But, in too many cases, the results fall short of expectations. We often find that there is a huge gap between what people learn during the training and what they actually practice after training.
With training, our goal is to change daily work habits; not simply to excite and entertain the sales team for a few days. There is no better motivational tool than job knowledge. People who know their job and utilize techniques that work well are more stable and productive in their job.
I’ll never forget an occurrence a few years ago. During an excellent training program, which was developed and presented by a well-known sales training company, one of the least productive, least technically-sound sales people repeated several times that she had taken this program before. In fact, she had participated in the very same program just a year earlier. It was amazing to me that, while observing her performance for the past year, she had not utilized any of the techniques she had learned the year before.
We have all seen this same scenario many times. Unfortunately, it is a common occurrence. Is it the training programs that are at fault? In most cases, the training programs are sound. I believe that the fault lies in the lack of good consistent follow-up, after the training. I believe that this is the responsibility of the trainer.
By their sheer nature, most sales trainers present exciting, fun, and clever programs; designed to create and maintain a high level of attention and an atmosphere conducive to learning. Most programs are chock full of great ideas and sound sales practices; the problem lies in the fact that, as humans, retention of these new ideas and techniques relies upon repetition and practice to create new habits.
During and immediately after a training session, emotions run high and most trainees are determined to use every new idea they learned…that is, until they return to their normal routine just days later. Experts tell us that most new information learned during training is lost and discarded only hours after the training is finished. So, what’s lacking?
The answer is that we need to close the gap between learning the material and actually putting the material into practice. The solution is to look for training programs which include elements of individual coaching after the training program. During the coaching, which is generally done by telephone and email, each participant is guided into using newly learned techniques until those techniques become daily habits.
So what is coaching and how does it work? Coaching or mentoring is a process of creating a new daily activity routine until that activity becomes a habit that will be used the rest of their career. Replacing old bad habits with good ones is more easily done through repetition and practice, facilitated by a coach.
If your next training program does not include post-training coaching, ask the trainer if their program can accommodate some sort of coaching support for sixty to ninety days after the training session. One alternative to this is to have the general manager assume this role by participating in the training program and acting as the catalyst for follow-up coaching.
Training works, but don’t think that any training program consisting of a half, full day, or longer can stimulate anyone to replace bad habits with good ones, alone. As humans, we need frequent reminders and stimulation to facilitate real change. You will find that the results will be well worth the effort.
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