The Rep's Journey

Three simple steps that will help you to get your reps to finish their training faster!

Show Notes

In this episode, Stephen will give you three simple steps to help you get your sales reps to finish their training faster.

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00:00 Introduction
00:15 Opening Montage
00:30 Challenges of Getting Reps to Finish Training
01:36 Why This Framework?
02:22 Step #1: WIIFM Audit
04:30 Step #2: Make Your Training "Feel" Shorter
07:42 Step #3: Create a Nudging System
09:56 Review
10:24 CTA

What is The Rep's Journey?

Learn tips for getting your reps to finish training, complete onboarding, and start selling faster! With over 12 years of experience working with direct sales companies that train 50k reps annually, Stephen Rhyne's perspective is proven to get results.

What's up? I'm Stephen Rhyne, creator of, where we help companies with large field sales forces recruit, train and retain more reps. And in this episode, we're going to go over 3 simple steps that you can take to get more reps completing your training faster.
[Audio Intro]
Okay, so maybe getting your reps to complete your training feels a lot like herding cats right just doesn't feel good. You know, you gotta rerun reports to find the people who didn't finish it. Then you have to divvy those people out to region managers and team leaders and tell them to go get their reps to do this. And then there are always the reps who just wait. They wait until the very last minute. And then they get locked out of a point of sales system and then they sound the horn, right? They go and hit everybody up and say, "Why can't I fix this? Why can't I access the system?", when they should have just done it way earlier.
Now all this rep wrangling, and training wrangling, for the most basic training stuff, means you have less time to start really releasing training that moves the needle, like new product update training and new objections based on the current landscape--stuff like that. You have less time to do those things. But I assure you that there are simple steps that you can take that dramatically increase the number of reps who will complete your training and how fast they will train.
Alright before we go through the 3 steps, I just want to say that this issue of low completion rates or low engagement rates in your's not just you. It's a universal problem that effects all types of companies. Over the last 7 years we've worked with top speaker/thought leader/trainer types/corporate trainers. We've worked with Fortune 100 companies. We've worked with direct sales companies, of course. And they all experience this from time to time, especially initially until they figured it out. And that's what I want to share with you: some of the things that are kind of the underlying things that always bubbled up that really stood out in how they figured this out to get the completions to go up, to get the engagement to go up. So let's go through it.
Step 1 is to do a WIIFM Audit. WIIFM stands for "What's in it for me?" So I want you to put your rep cap on and go through your training experience and ask in a really incredulous manner: "What's in it for me? Why do I need to do this training experience as a rep today? this month? Yea, I'm gonna do it, but maybe I'll wait for 2 weeks from now because I got other things. You're not telling me why I need to do it right now." This is our own self interest. You haven't explained the why. You haven't set the hook for me to complete this. And that friction between what you want them to do because it's important to the company and it's a requirement, and their perception of how important it is, that's the friction that you're dealing with and managing all the time. And what we need to do is to sell them and explain the why, and explain what's in it for them, using carrots and sticks. So carrots are positive explanations and selling of why they want to do this. So an example would be that you could say something like, "I know you're really busy, but guess what? Reps who do this within their first 10 days sell x more within their next 30 days." Or something like that. "Wow...that's kind of cool. Well I want to sell more and I want to do better, so okay, I'll go through it in the first 10 days." See what I'm saying? That's a carrot. A stick is you tell a story. You say, "Hey, I get it. You're really busy. You're learning the ropes. The last thing you want to do is complete this training. But guess what? You don't want to be that person in the hotel room the night before you're supposed to go out on sales that can't go to the dinner because you're on your iPad doing training. Right?" If you don't talk about it, it will never come into their mind. Then there's no carrot or stick. So always audit your training. Ask yourself, "What's in it for me as a rep? And how can I set the hook and get the alignment there."
Okay Step 2 is to make your training feel shorter while increasing its effectiveness. So notice that I said, "make it feel shorter", not "make it shorter". So there are actual Jedi mind tricks that you can put into your training that's going to reduce the perception of time for your reps. So step 1 is the first one. If you get a rep motivated, or get aligned with their why, then the perception of time goes down. Think about anything you do in your life where you don't like doing it. It takes a really long time. Perception feels like it takes forever. And things you like doing...time flies. So there are other things you can do to reduce the perception of time. Here's one: tell the rep how long it's gonna take for them to go through the course. This is left out all the time. They don't just say, "Hey, the average rep only takes 3 hours for them to do the training." I think a lot of people are afraid to say that, and they leave it out. So imagine going to YouTube, and there are no times on the video. So unless it's a cat video or a sports reel, you need that time. You need to know how much time to allot to buy in. And it's left out all the time in training. So just call it out and let the rep's mind not wander anymore, or worry that it's gonna take 8 hours. Just tell them. Alright next up is: break up your big pieces of training, your big videos, your 30 minute videos, your pdfs, your big blocks of text--break it up into smaller bite size chunks. It's actually going to serve you better in the long run better because you can mix and match those pieces of content better. But keep them smaller. This is the perception of progress. So if you make the milestone shorter, then the rep feels like they're moving and going faster. We see this all the time in our lives. So if we have a book that has short chapters and big text, you can crank through chapters really quick. You feel motivated. You finish the book faster. A book that has very small text and really long chapters, it just doesn't feel like you're getting anywhere sometimes, even if you're reading the same amount. The next example is how we see this at the airport. So did you know airports didn't use to have the big giant single file snake line. They used to have separate lines. So you'd go into one line and it would take forever to move one person forward and you'd look over and see the other line and it would move and you would be bugged by that. So they created of a single file line and it keeps moving and you have the perception of progress that's faster than the previous model. Same thing with traffic. You're sitting in traffic. You're not moving. You decide to get off and go the long route. It takes you the same amount of time but since you're moving faster on the back road, it feels likes you're going faster. So think about that with your training. Break up your training into bite sized trunks so they can get those milestones and wins to get the moment to complete.
Step 3 is to create a nudging system. So even with the best motivations, the best intentions, we all forget about things. We have fruit-fly level attention spans and we need people to put things back on our radar. And we especially need to do this for our reps. Now when I say, "Create a nudging system and create reminders." you say, "Duh! Everyone needs that." Except when you think about the actual implementation of that, it gets daunting. And you hear things advertised around "You can set up automated text messages and emails and release these little nudges at the perfect time based off of 3 days after they got the training." And maybe you don't have the tech for that (it's something we can do in ConveYour), but if you don't have that set up, don't wait until you have those things to implement those nudging. So the first step is to ask if you can release a nudge even if they have completed it like 7 days after you released the training to them and say "Hey, if you haven't finished this by now, you should do it." There's your out. And it's amazing how many people don't want to set that up because it isn't a "full automation". Yet they're missing out on the benefits of just that simple reminder. And then the next step is to create a list. Could you create a list in your field communications tool of everyone who has received the required training? And then slowly but surely pull them off that list, possibly programmatically. So if they finish training over here, could you pull them off the list. And you're continually adding and removing people off of that list so that you're pretty confident that if you send an email to that group, you're only touching people who have not finished. This means you could increase the amount of reminders. And of course the third level of nudgery, nudging master, is to create that really contextual automated nudges where it's all based off of where it's all based off of when they released and how far they are through it, which is something we can help you with. So that is Step 3: create a nudging system.
So in review, here are 3 steps you can take to get more reps to complete your training faster.
Step 1: Do a WIIFM Audit. Put your rep cap on. Go through your training. And ask yourself as a rep, "What's in it for me? Why do I need to do this by x date?"
Step 2: Make your training feel shorter while increasing its effectiveness by reducing the rep's perceived time spent in training.
And then Step 3: Create a nudging system. Just get something in place, then refine.
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