Paul Castain's Blog

How On-Boarding Sales Reps Can Become A Sh*t Show (And What You Can Do About It)

Posted January 12, 2018

Image result for meeting with the bobs

I have zero patience for a sales leader who neglects their new hire!

In many cases it begins with forgetting the importance of having the new rep’s laptop, business cards and office supplies waiting for them.

Basic things like being there to greet them on their first day, giving them a tour and my favorite;

Where to find important sh*t like the copier, office supplies and that hidden stash of Twizzlers.

Oh, and introducing a new teammate to their other teammates is kind of important too!

But that’s the warm and fuzzy part.

Sales Managers . . .

You REALLY Need To Have A Plan For The New Rep

If that plan involves spending time with other teammates, you need to have certain things worked out in advance.

Like what that time together will look like and;

You need to make it clear that the time with with other teammates starts and ends on time.

Here’s a thought;

Under NO circumstances are they to blow off the meeting with the new rep!

I’ve been that new rep who was supposed to get trained by a teammate only to wait, and wait, and eventually have my training with that person cancelled.

Meanwhile, I’m sitting at my desk playing Tetris like Michael Gibbons in Office Space!

If you’re going to have a new rep “shadow” a sales rep;

Work it out in advance and make sure the rep highlights certain things they’re going to be doing during the meeting and;

Debrief after the meeting.

Here’s an idea . . . 

Run to your local printer and print up a workbook for the new rep.

Have questions for the rep to answer based on their time with their teammates.

Meet face to face or have a brief call with your new rep, at the end of each day, to debrief and review the answers to the questions in their workbook.

The other reason why you want to have a daily debrief with your rep is to get an early warning of any disconnect between you and your rep.

This is really cool and super important;

One of the leaders I work with makes it a point to find out what his new rep learned about the person they were spending time with. Notice how I said “learned about the person”?

Sales is about people, and you want people on your team who understand that, and have a genuine interest in the people they serve and work with.

That same leader debriefs the people who worked with the new rep that day.

He wants to know about the questions they asked, overall interest, any red flags etc.

Here’s an idea that will save you a ton of time;

The problem with most managers is that they’re busy supporting other reps.

One of the things I suggest to the leaders I coach is to record a few training sessions using your WebEx account.

You can also tape some of the demos your reps do via WebEx.

This way you have a “Plan B” when you’re busy and/or a really cool addition to your overall new hire training program.

Pop Quizzes Keep Them On Their Game!

I’m a huge advocate of both formal and informal quizzes with new hires.

I’m guessing you already know what a formal quiz is so let’s talk about this “informal” thing.

Make it a point to call a rep, stop them in the hall, stop by their cubical and hit them with a surprise question about something they should know.

Don’t stop there . . . 

Have the rest of the team do the same.

One more thing . . . 

Be hard on activity and soft on results during their first few months!

Lets go back in time to the interview process for a moment.

I highly recommend that you have a discussion with all of your sales candidates about responsibilities and expectations.

One of the expectations should be their activity during the first few months after training.

Things like how many appointments, calls, demos etc.

But here’s the thing . . . 

New reps rarely go out there and crush it immediately but;

You can make sure they are putting in the activity to eventually get the results.

That’s a more reasonable mindset.

And if you don’t have the time to either support a new hire or have a program in place that helps;

Hold off on hiring the rep until you have your sh*t together!

There’s obviously much more to on-boarding a new rep, and its something that I cover in my one on one sales leadership coaching program.

Please click HERE to email me for more details.



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