Action Learning and Sales Effectiveness

It was great to see some new faces at the Bridge2Learning meeting in Huntingdon on Friday and wonderful to know that the word is spreading beyond East Anglia about our events. Today Kent, tomorrow the world!

We had two great and very diverse sessions lined up for the morning:

Bill Clarke started off with a thought-provoking look at sales effectiveness. As trainers and coaches, despite having great communication skills, we’re sometimes uncomfortable with the process of selling and Bill facilitated a really useful discussion on how to make this as pain-free (and possibly even enjoyable?) as possible. We discussed the importance of “fishing in the right pond” to start with, and getting past the gatekeepers whose job it is to stop you from reaching the people you really need to speak to. Bill made the interesting point that these gatekeepers can actually help you to win business by keeping the competition away and offered some great tips on how to get them on side. Once we do get in front of the right person it’s helpful to remember that as L&D professionals often what we are selling is a concept or an innovative approach rather than a product per se. This can sometimes make it a real challenge to help prospective clients to “get” what we do and to see it as something which will add true value to themselves or their organisations. We need to be sure to speak in a language that non-L&D professionals can understand: Bill used the example of describing himself as a “sales trainer” (which most people will understand immediately) as opposed to a “sales effectiveness specialist” (huh?). The key message here – keep it simple!

Bill’s session was followed by an introduction to Action Learning with Simon Leckie.  Simon explained the principles and process of Action Learning and how it can be used as an L&D tool, enabling real and honest discussion about genuine problems or issues.  The idea behind it, as defined by Reg Revans, is that: “There is no learning without action, and no (sober and deliberate) action without learning.” As part of the session, Simon facilitated a mini action learning session to demonstrate how simple and effective it can be. A key point was the importance of ensuring that the action learning set provides both a high-challenge and a high-support environment in order: participants need to be asked questions which challenge their thinking or feeling about an issue, and encourage them to look at it from different perspectives, but this needs to be done within a high-trust and environment in which participants feel safe and confident to explore issues with honesty and openness.

Here are some of the comments made by attendees:

A huge thanks to both Bill and Simon for their sessions!

Our next meeting is on 19th October and we have another great morning lined up. Barbara Reid will facilitate a workshop on Mindfulness and Communication, focusing on how we can improve our listening skills as trainers and coaches, and more widely. We will also be holding a “Trainer Share” session in which you’re invited to bring along your ice-breakers, energisers and review activities and share them with the group. These could be old favourites, or new ones that you want to try and out get feedback before you build them into your own training.

SPECIAL OFFER! As a “thank you” to everyone who has previously attended one of our meetings we would like to invite you to come along for half price if you bring someone new to the meeting – a kind of “buy one, get one half price! So please start thinking about people you know that you think would enjoy the meetings and invited them along. Full details of the offer and how to book will be posted on our Linkedin page and Eventbrite.

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About bridge2learninguk

Bridge2Learning is a brand new, informal professional networking group for training professionals in the East of England (and beyond!). As HR and training consultants, we’ve come to realise that, although business networking opportunities are plentiful, the chance to meet up with other like-minded professionals in the local areas are few and far between. We figured we can’t be the only people who think this so we’ve decided to do something about it, and we’ve set up Bridge2Learning as a way to connect people to others and provide access to affordable professional development that doesn’t involve a whole day out and hundreds of pounds.
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