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by Adam Gray | @AGSocialMedia

The other day we were running a two day “training” session for a new client and at lunch on the first day the client said that they were concerned that the training wasn’t effective, that it lacked energy, and that the pace was too slow. In short, the training was poor.

As it happens the client knew lots about training and had commissioned countless companies to deliver training prior to meeting Digital Leadership Associates. They were also an experienced trainer themselves. So they certainly knew what they were talking about…and we were a little bit shaken by this feedback as we haven’t had criticism like this before.

The thing is that we are not a training company and the client could clearly see this. Training companies transfer as much knowledge to the students in the allotted time as they can, good training companies also inspire and “sell the dream.” But that’s not enough. Not by a along way. The problem with training is that it equips people with facts and knowledge and techniques…but more often than not they simply don’t employ any (or many) of these things that they learn because the training works on the basis of “the trainer teaches many things and hopefully the trainee will use some of them”…but in reality, the trainee seldom does.

Training is too often seen by those attending as an interruption to their working day and they can’t wait to “get back to doing their job” once the training is finished. By which they mean – doing their job the way they are used to do it.

But Digital Leadership Associates is NOT a training company.

When we “train” we challenge, we empower, we shout and we debate, we don’t “train” in the traditional way.

Anyway, by the end of the second day when the client had all of the attendees give some open and candid feedback…

Every single person said that they had had “a lightbulb moment” during the course of the session.

Three people said that it was the best training session they had ever had. Everyone said that they felt it was exactly what they needed. One person said that they thought the company should set up a social selling university and that Digital Leadership Associates should run it, and every attendee said that they couldn’t wait to get back to their teams and share what they had learned. 

I’m not saying this in a boastful kind of way, I’m saying this as a warning to organisations that want to educate and empower their staff to do better and be better. “Training” in its traditional form does very little to help people become social sellers because the challenge is not what we imagine it to be. The challenge is not “teaching people things”, the challenge is “getting people to do the things they’ve been taught” and traditional training very rarely achieves this goal.

So, when you’re considering upskilling your teams with social selling training if you’re being offered a 1/2 day seminar, or a web-based eLearning programme, or a “free” introductory session ask yourself the following question. “If it is this easy to become a social seller…why isn’t everyone social selling?”

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