The Rep's Journey

Our 3 tips to increase your rep's engagement: make it a consumer experience, increase their attention level, blur the lines between required training!

Show Notes

Our 3 tips to increase your rep's engagement: make it a consumer experience, increase their attention level, blur the lines between required training!

00:00-00:25 Introduction
00:25-00:54 Question: Why the Rep's Experience?
00:54-01:59 Answer: Experience Matters
01:59-07:15 The Challenge: Keeping Attention
07:15-08:44 The Opportunity: Higher Motivation to Engage
08:44-09:50 Question: Why Button up the Experience?
09:50-12:09 Answer: Only the Rep Knows the Experience
12:09-17:12 Tip #1: Consumer Experience
17:12-20:44 Tip #2: Reduce & Increase
20:44-28:05 Tip #3: Combine Interactions
28:05-31:00 C2A: Be a "Secret Shopper"
31:00-31:08 Ending

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.

Hey, how are you? Hey, I'm 
awesome. I'm doing great.  

Alright we're doing another episode. Yes sir!  

So we talked about this a couple weeks ago, where 
you know when we do demos. Whenever I sit in with  

you and we do a demo for a potential client, you 
will always start with the experience of the rep  

and we're kind of talking about why do you start 
there. What's the benefit of potential clients?  

Why should they be thinking about what their rep 
is going through in the process of being onboarded  

and trained? Why do you start there? So I do this 
on purpose. I do this deliberately because I want  

to make a point that the rep’s experience is the 
show. They're in the audience, they're looking at  

the show and then everything else is backstage. 
And really the backstage could be set up in a  

completely weird way. Your stage hands, and all, 
could be set up in a totally weird way but if  

it's getting the right result, why does it matter? 
Right? Sometimes companies optimize the opposite.  

So, they all want to make a great rep experience 
but they're really optimizing their departments.  

Right? And so, they're setting up their folders 
for how they create their content in a certain way  

that's optimizing for creating content regardless 
of how the rep experiences that. I'm trying to  

emphasize the fact that the rep experience is 
paramount because “who cares about reporting  

if they ain't nobody taking the course”, right? 
Or finishing the training, right? Yeah. And it's  

easy to kind of get passed backwards a little bit 
with that, right? Yeah. Yeah so, the challenge,  

the big challenge, for companies is this 
constraint. The biggest constraint I see  

in a lot of companies, especially in opportunity 
based companies, where they're offering an  

opportunity to a rep that is an independent 
contractor–it's not a w-2 employee–the biggest  

constraint they have is the attention span of that 
person. How much attention do they have of that  

person? They need to treat those people–the people 
that they're trying to recruit or train–more like  

consumers who want a great consumer experience, 
which we'll talk about more. If you really realize  

there's a budget for how much attention you have 
and if you're not filling that bucket back up,  

you can spend it really easily. Yeah, 
right. Yeah, it's a very finite resource,  

so again, the stakes are really high for the 
types of companies we work with especially  

when they have large independent sales forces that 
can “nope out” at any time in the process, whether  

that be a recruiting or training process. Yeah. 
So companies…they'll optimize for each individual  

section of the business. So they'll optimize for 
recruiting then, they'll optimize for onboarding,  

they'll optimize for training and they'll optimize 
for engagement. But usually, as the company gets  

bigger, they start to silo those, they break 
them up. So, early on you know it's the same guy,  

same two or three people; the owner and 
whatever, building out those experiences.  

As you get bigger and bigger and bigger, 
recruiting becomes its own arm and all they  

care about is “well, we brought this many people 
into our funnel”. (It's not all they care about  

but you know what I mean…that's what they get 
measured on.) There's many people in the funnel,  

we got them to sign, we got them to say “yes I 
want to do it”, to onboard. “I'm out”, hand them  

over to the onboarding team, right? The onboarding 
team picks up with a completely different context  

and picks that person up and starts working 
with them. Each time we do that, each time  

we lose people, these are the big opportunities. 
If a lot of companies will look at where they're  

losing reps, I call it the “sinew” between 
these little sections. And what's happening is  

they are not tending to that person, in a 
way. You should be doing the tending to them,  

not relying on them to keep their attention right? 
We should make it where they're thinking less  

right? Yeah. Don't make me think. It's like a book 
about user experience. We really should not make  

them think as much as we do except in training. 
Like when you're doing training, you do want them  

thinking. You do want them recalling what they 
learned and everything. Yeah, but they shouldn't  

have to think about where they go, right? or 
what's the next step or worrying like “okay I got  

recruited but I didn't hear anything about where 
I need to go, next to get onboarded” Right? Yeah.  

I see people losing, again, seeing companies 
losing reps between these. Especially because  

the sale of keeping this person going and keeping 
them excited doesn't stop. I was just talking to  

a company where they're like “Yeah, we recruited 
these reps. We got them signed and then they're  

not showing up for training between that process. 
Before we have our physical or our virtual  

training, we're losing reps because they talk to 
a friend and that friend nag them out on the job  

or something like that and then they leave.” Okay? 
Yeah. Is that a problem with the recruiters? No,  

because the recruiter did their job. Is it 
really a problem of the onboarders? Not really.  

Yeah because they never got to it. They now, 
never got to work with them. So what happened,  

right? Yeah. So it's we lost some attention or we 
didn't tend to them and add more attention from  

their more commitment or belief to them. So if 
you think of it like a bucket, a finite bucket,of  

attention right? Think about a movie. Even think 
about whoever is listening to this right now,  

is calculating should I continue 
listening to this right now  

right? I'm talking about it but they're literally 
going like “ah should I turn this podcast off and  

go listen to another podcast or should I go you 
know listen to some music or change my tune?”.  

You know what I mean? Yeah. We're constantly 
recalculating and people are doing this  

all the time. Yeah. In a world where we have so 
much information, I'm tired of seeing it happen.  

I'm tired of seeing people lose reps and people 
that would have done great in the opportunity  

stopping short just because they lost their you 
know attention to it. They lost their interest.  

They lost their motivation or a lot of indecision 
was created and then their indecision creates  

fear. And then they say this isn't for me 
and then they leave. So opportunity-wise,  

I just kind of wrote down, very simply, the 
opportunities I think companies that we work with  

have okay less recruits. Lost reps are getting 
through their onboarding more quickly. They're  

more motivated. They're committed to actually 
launching. So there's a big difference in between.  

Let’s say you could go into the first week where 
they're actually going to do the job and they're  

like, “Yeah I completed training. I completed 
onboarding. I separate onboarding and training  

separately but I completed all my onboarding. I 
got my shirt size in and my I-9, you know like  

my legal stuff in and my background checked 
on. All that and I filled out all the forms  

and I showed up but I kind of got my arms crossed 
like this like is this legit right?” That's not  

the same as somebody showing up kind of already 
understands how this is gonna go and already got  

their information. They're attentive to what's 
next right? Yeah, yeah. Big difference, yeah?  

So finishing training more quickly, getting 
them ready to start the job, and then there's  

an opportunity for a tighter feedback loop 
with reps. This is what I'll talk about with  

regards to combining different experiences, like 
a training experience with a pulsing experience,  

and being able to have this doesn't make quite 
as much sense until I get down to explaining a  

little bit more, but those are the opportunities. 
Okay so when you talk about the “sinew” and the  

drop between the different portions, training, 
onboarding, recruitment onboarding and all this,  

it makes me think. I like to use restaurants as 
examples because everybody goes to restaurants.  

So we really have our finger on the pulse of that 
experience but you know it's like when you go to a  

restaurant. When they've got the chalkboard up in 
the front and they have the specials listed on it  

and then you sit down. You're like “man that 
special sounded really great”. You order it  

and the waiter's like “yeah we're all 
out”. You're like, “Well doggone it,  

erase the chalkboard”. Then you know we had that 
experience, you and I had a recently, last month,  

when we went out and they didn't have something 
that we were like “oh that sounds great”. It  

seems like there's a drop off, like at least that 
sounds like what you're saying, where the front  

end and the back end need to be talking. Likewise, 
the recruiters and the onboarders, the trainers,  

the departments, they need to be communicating. 
They need to button up that communication.  

Can you talk more about that? Yeah, yeah 
absolutely. They need to button up because, I've  

said this before, but really the only person that 
actually knows your entire experience is the rep.  

Yeah. Right? Because everyone is working off their 
micro version of the map for their department. But  

they're not seeing how they connect to each other 
unless somebody is doing a really really good job  

mapping out the entire journey. We've talked about 
this before in other episodes. Map your entire rep  

journey. Have it somewhere where everybody can 
look at it and be like “here's where there's  

people dropping off”. Have analytics around 
it. I'm really big on this and that's why I  

feel like I'm qualified to talk about this. We're 
seeing this play out right now in the solar boom.  

We're seeing companies that have some top 
talent in, you know, the CRO space or head  

VP of sales. Here are some that really really get 
this and are crushing it because they're treating  

it more like a consumer experience. Yeah. And 
holistic and they're just at that right point  

where they have scale but they're small enough to 
make these decisions and put them in place early.  

And then there are even big companies where 
they've got smart people but it's just so big it's  

really hard to move those things. Like you know if 
you're if you're recruiting 50,000 reps in a year,  

like one of our customers, it's very difficult 
to make a lot of you know changes. Yeah. But it's  

unfortunate because if you do this right and you 
get it right, it reduces back pressure on all of  

your managers, right? There's another topic around 
the benefits of doing this for your people. Your  

managers are dealing with the coaxing, that is 
to get people to finish training. The coaxing  

that it is to get them to finish onboarding or 
go through the recruiting process. All of that  

leads to what I call back pressure, which is 
essentially your managers having to grow into  

painful experiences. You don't want your middle 
level managers growing into painful experiences.  

You want them actually excited. You want there 
to be a deficit between their pain and their  

desire to grow right? Not like pain's up here 
and growth is down here. You know what I mean?  

You can't rely on them. You know to take that in 
place. You’re talking about restaurants, so let's  

talk about experiences. We should be modeling, you 
should be modeling, your rep experience similar to  

some of your best consumer experiences you've 
ever had. So I'll give you an example of one.  

This tool or this product called Founder Shield 
is just business insurance. This smart agency  

came along and digitized and consumerized the 
experience of getting business insurance which is  

a totally boring, stodgy process. I've 
always hated it and they essentially,  

kind of like TurboTax. The process of going 
through TurboTax. They have an amazing experience.  

They made a linear experience out of asking 
a whole bunch of really annoying questions.  

They helped me see how far through the process 
I was. I think at one point I stopped in the  

process and they nudged me to get back in there 
and finish the process. They were really clear  

with what I needed to give them. Okay? I didn't 
have to think about it. Like I just followed the  

instructions. I followed and I could have had a 
couple beers or you know been kind of a little bit  

tipsy and gotten through it, right? Yeah. Simple, 
yeah? It's very simple and it was a complicated  

task to get all the business information to 
get the insurance but they made it simple,  

right? They didn't leave any assumptions. Yeah, 
okay. Then on top of that, once I got my quotes,  

the coach showed up. Then I got my quotes. 
It was just like this is how everything  

should be. You know I heard those experiences 
like can we just make other things like this,  

like this experience I mean another one that we 
all know is uber. When we first had our first  

uber experience we're like “What the?! This was 
awesome!” You know? Why can't we have experiences  

like this all the time? Yeah and it's hard to 
do sometimes you know, like technically, but  

there are things that you can do too. We'll talk 
about getting more of an experience like that.  

So you said you had an example as well… Yeah, 
so I think of maybe two examples. I think  

of one example where you know the consumer 
experience of something that you don't like  

and then also the other, which, go back to 
a restaurant…which I'll talk about that in a  

second. But you know the consumer experience 
that you don't like. That's kind of how I'm  

approaching this because when you think about 
the process of onboarding reps, they really  

aren't signing up to be onboarded or to go through 
training. They really want to get on the job. So  

it's kind of one of those “you have to do it”, 
you know? It's not like you get to do it. “Yay,  

we get on board”, nobody's really 
like that. It's like it's more so:  

we have to do this in order to get people 
out into the field. So yeah when I think of  

experiences that I don't like I think 
of stuff like ordering new contacts or  

ordering new tires, getting new tires. In 
both of those instances they tell you upfront  

what's going to happen and they try to make this 
a seamless process. So I'm thinking of, you know,  

1-800-Contacts, and I'm thinking of Discount 
Tires, you know? They tell you it's going to  

take this amount of time, it's going to be this. 
They're also reaching out to you saying “Hey you  

should be changing your tires” or “You should be 
getting new contacts”. They know that information  

so they're surfacing just at the right time. 
When you go in to get new tires, they tell you  

“Hey it's going to take x amount of time, and this 
is the process that we're going to do.” They give  

you the opportunity to leave and come back if you 
want, so you know whatever it is that you need to  

do when you're getting that done. So, I think on 
the one hand telling people what the process is  

helps to make it feel more seamless. Then you 
know for a restaurant, when you think about  

going someplace to eat when they ask you good 
questions. First, when the hostess or the host  

you know, they transfer you to the waiter if 
they've got just a seamless process there,  

you know? “Hey your waiter's gonna be with you, 
here in just a second” and no sooner do they walk  

away, and your waiters greeting you, talking 
to you, asking you questions about what it is  

you want to drink. “What it is you want to eat?” 
and if you're like “well, no, I don't drink” then  

they know immediately what to do from that point. 
They're going to ask you about what kind of  

meal you are looking for. If you're looking for 
something heavy, you want something light, you  

know? They want to tell you about the specials, 
they ask good questions to make the process  

an enjoyable process. So I think asking 
good questions, making things seamless  

and communicating clearly what it is that you're 
trying to do. So yeah, I mean asking questions  

is another example of garnering attention. 
Yeah, right. Because people want to hear,  

people want to talk, people want to engage 
with them. They want to share about themselves.  

It's always easier to do that. So tip two is like 
look for ways to reduce the attention needed and  

increase the attention level. Okay so attention 
needed things like reading like blocks of text,  

we were talking about that in training. You've 
seen this right? Like dude, yeah this course.  

Yeah, so the one of the things that ends up 
happening is that people create content and  

sometimes they'll use text, just tons and tons and 
tons of text and the learner is just scrolling,  

scrolling, scrolling through all this. We 
encourage people not to do that. You should  

use text. There's a time to use text and I know 
you can talk about that but you know when you  

think they're engaging, if they're consuming 
your material your content on their phones,  

text can be something where, as soon as somebody 
gets a text message from somebody else–and when  

I say text, I mean articles, like you're giving 
them articles to read–as soon as they get a text  

from a friend, they kind of check out and they 
may not come back to reading that full article.  

So we try to live by, and encourage this mantra, 
and I don't remember where we came across it, but  

this idea that video is king. What if you can take 
your content and present it to your learners in a  

way that they're already using on their phone, 
you know? And again, not that text is bad but  

if they're, you know, primarily consuming social 
media on their phone then it's likely in the form  

of graphics or videos. So it makes sense to 
present in that same kind of manner instead  

of making them or asking them to scroll through 
and scroll through and scroll through. You have to  

ask the question: how often do you sit and read 
tons and tons of articles on your phone? Yeah,  

that was for that and and even if it has to be 
text like at least break it up. Break it up from  

I'm expecting you to read for 10 minutes or two. 
Like I'm expecting to read for one or two minutes  

then I'm going to ask you a quick question to 
engage with you. Then go to the next section. So  

always be looking for ways you know that… Have 
you ever heard of “you're either moving away  

from your goal or towards your goal”? Right well, 
look through your requests and are you saying am I  

spending attention or creating attention 
through all of my processes, right? Yeah and  

really watch out for when you start to dip 
below like a baseline, you know what I mean?  

An example of one I think I know happens 
is you recruit a rep they're excited.  

You have a great talented person to hop on the 
phone with and recruit them and then you're like  

“great let's onboard you”. Then you get them 
on the onboarding sequence and then there is  

zero work done to keep them hot, like to keep 
them interested. And you're like okay you're  

gonna launch and so now we're gonna go through the 
process of getting your social, your blood type,  

and your social security number. You're like 
all this stuff and there's zero intermission  

to be like “by the way here's how our competitions 
work and people are learning like winning all this  

sorts of stuff”. “What's your shirt size?” You 
see what I'm saying? But it's not intermixing the  

attention creation and you're expecting just 
spending all of that attention down to a zero  

level. So it's just really thinking about it 
like a thermometer or thinking like a bottle  

and you're filling it up and ripping it down every 
once in a while or pouring it out. Yeah so this is  

really the biggest thing I wanted to talk about in 
our conversation which was this idea of blurring  

the lines between requirements and finding ways 
to combine interactions that are different types  

of interactions. So a lot of companies will treat 
these different types of interactions or different  

jobs to be done as separate little things on the 
back end and then they show up to the rep like  

little tiny movies. It's like separate 
movies rather than one big movie.  

So the rep doesn't care if you have a recruiting 
department or an onboarding department or an hr  

group. They don't care about any of that stuff. 
What they care about is what they're experiencing.  

So here's some what-ifs: What if the place where 
you recruited the rep is also where you sent them  

to watch the opportunity video? And also the 
same place that they're going to do training,  

right? Where they've already been onboarded 
into the thing that they'll end up using to  

do the rest of onboarding and the rest of training 
right? Right there in the recruiting experience  

rather than like “oh you did this recruiting app 
over here and filled out your application here  

and then you went over here”. It's just like one 
of these things like you're just going like this  

right yeah? What do I have to download? What do 
I have to yeah… Yeah exactly. Then what if a rep  

watches a belief building video a 
little micro while he's filling out  

some onboarding information, right? So you do 
a quick little “here's you know Sally” and how  

she did in the job right after and here's 
how she did right after onboarding. Okay  

a little testimonial and then, “By the way we need 
this from you” in this here. And you spread out  

onboarding as part of your training so you're 
blurring the lines between those two sections.  

One thing that's also a byproduct investment in 
that is that people want to be congruent with the  

time investment that they made right. So if you're 
just doing onboarding by itself then, like I said,  

they're making that risk reward calculation 
while they're on boarding. They're like well  

“I haven't learned anything about the job or how 
I'm going to do this or what it's going to be like  

and this is boring so I'm done”, you know? You 
might be thinking in the back of your mind some of  

the more rugged sales people are being like 
“well if they can't finish that and they can't  

have enough attention to do this then I don't 
want them” you know? Something that I hate that  

because you're assuming that the reason why 
they're noping out you know from your process is  

because they're not capable. It's because they got 
three other opportunities like at their doorstep.  

Yeah. In one of the hardest recruiting climates 
for especially for independent contractor type  

of roles yeah a long time right? Yeah. So you 
have to change that mindset from being like “well  

it's a barrier for a reason” and be like “no, 
if they don't sell they don't sell”. But if  

you build the right systems, who cares right? 
At least you got them through the process. So  

another one of blurring the lines is while 
you're doing a little bit of training  

you also asked them a quick little “how's it 
going in the field” question, like a stats tracker  

question. On a scale from 1 to 10, how well are 
you using the new approach that we rolled out?  

How's that going for you? How do you feel about 
it? A poll on what's the most challenging thing  

in this new location we're checking out right? 
Whatever. But usually people will engage in  

another tool like SurveyMonkey or you know do 
the surveys over there and they'll do them later  

and then again that's another thing that you're 
asking people to divide their attention on and  

go do that over there versus doing it in line. 
I think of it in line as one nice experience.  

Another way to think about it is like stories like 
Facebook stories or something where the reason why  

they pulled that out is for engagement, right? 
So instead of having to scroll through like 900  

posts, it was just like a dot dot dot like just 
you just click, click, click and you're going  

through these nice little videos and it's kind 
of a roll up of everything that's changed since  

you've been there last. Yeah. Right, yeah. It's 
easy for people to engage with. So this makes me  

think of the fact that like we know that this is 
something that's out there. We have a belief that  

there's really something that's more than just a 
concept. So I know we have an example which would  

be, you know the old-school Batman when he and 
Robin jump on the pole and by the time they get  

down to the bottom they're dressed right? Yeah or 
like Ironman will come flying in, he lands and as  

soon as he lands the system is taking off all of 
his armor, right? We think that there are these  

times and these places out there where the process 
of equipping you is also the process that outfits  

you. Yeah! So we're doing multiple things at 
once we know it exists. It just feels nebulous  

you know? Maybe even the fact that I'm using 
these two examples kind of shows that like it's  

there's just not quite on the nose in in certain 
places but if if we can double up blur the lines,  

like you're talking about, you actually, you know 
the expression, “kill two birds with one stone”.  

I wish there was a way to have a measurement 
meter where you could just watch the tension  

go up and down you know? Yeah. Yeah and see 
the dips. The other thing is, well, a lot of  

companies solve this through hyper messaging. So 
the way they do it is “well I'm going to get their  

attention back” because every department is going 
to hammer them with different messaging. And this  

becomes an even bigger problem than no messaging 
or lack of engagement because you overwhelm them.  

Okay? You're asking them to have another 
level of attention so there's a tension in  

you're asking them to figure out what to do 
next on top. So if you're given three tasks  

and training and three trials and onboarding, 
you're now asking the rep to hold that in their  

head and be like what am I supposed to do 
first? Yeah. Right. Do I go do the training?  

Can I maybe just do the training first then I 
can do some of these questions? For sure. And  

the best thing that you can do is create an 
experience that's linear, okay? As much as  

possible, keep the attention on one thing at a 
time while giving them enough understanding of  

what they're headed to. We've talked about this 
before where they can be like “ah you're going  

like”- what's that saying? Bearing the lead right. 
So you're bearing the lead like you're not telling  

me where I'm going or how this is going to play 
out and so I'm kind of scared because you are  

taking me through a linear process but you're 
losing my attention because I don't know what I'm  

gonna be doing for the next three days or the next 
three months. Yeah so the best is a nice little  

blend of making a very linear this is what you 
do next experience but then also doing a little  

bit like “hey it's gonna be okay here's all the 
things you're going to do just real quick we're  

just going to tell you so you don't feel like 
you're going to get painted”. Yeah yeah yeah.  

Yeah that's okay but I love your thoughts like 
sliding down the pole and being equipped at the  

end. Yeah. Yeah that's super cool. That's 
a really good example. So call to action,  

all right. So this one, if you're a you know 
head of recruiting, go through the go be a secret  

shopper for outside of your department right? So 
if you're ahead of recruiting or ahead of that, go  

do onboarding as a secret shopper if you can. 
Or have somebody, you know, meet with someone to  

have them go through your onboarding so that you 
can understand the onboarding experience. Right  

then if you're just in HR and you're all about 
onboarding reps and getting them, you know,  

set up in your systems, go do training right or go 
through and learn about the training experience.  

Do some cross learning there, okay? If you're VP 
ask your people to do this because what they'll  

find is ways like “well we're asking for the 
same information” or “we're leasing things out  

that we thought we covered that they understood”. 
You'll find the deficiencies either in terms of  

repeating yours, like I said repeating 
yourself. I just said I just repeated myself  

and is it like repeating yourself. Yeah it's 
like repeating yourself. So if you find yourself  

repeating yourself… And this is just an easy way 
to get more collaboration between your team and  

then of course there's the bigger task, the bigger 
call to action, which is once everybody does that,  

let's just whiteboard it all out. Let's have a 
place where everybody can see their reps journey  

and look for the places where there's a lack of 
attention. Or you're asking for too much attention  

where you are gonna have people drop off so that's 
it. That's the call to action. Another email you  

could send, a quick little action you could take 
if you're like you know CRO or head of customer  

rep experience, you could email each to head 
of a department and be like” just give me your  

give me your process,” like, “give me your 
bullets…your nine steps that go through your  

process, okay?” And, what has to be done for 
them to get to the next step, right? Yeah yeah.  

Once you get those from your people, look at 
where they overlap. Look at where some things  

could be intermixed together, okay? And get 
some of that nice double play, right? Because  

lastly, this isn't a call to action but, think 
about a day to day in a rep. Like if they're doing  

another job while getting onboarded with you, 
right? Maybe they're still working at another  

place. They're working eight hours there or maybe 
they're looking at multiple opportunities at the  

same time, right? Yeah. So really how much time do 
you have? Do you have three 30-minute time frames  

with them in a day? No. You probably have like a 
15-minute window or a 30-minute window at the end  

of the day or in the morning of the day, you know, 
morning to pack in anything you need to get done.  

So if you can compact it and make it effortful 
and make it short but it hits all the right notes  

for where they are in the process then you 
win. Right? That's how you win. So that's it.