What’s the fastest way to get a new team member up to speed? Should I throw him in the deep end?

We’ve got a number of important clients who I handle personally.  I’ve recently taken on my first salesperson, who is fairly green. I don’t want to risk upsetting any customers, obviously, but is throwing him in the deep end with my major clients the only way he’ll learn the ropes properly?


Imagine you’ve developed a relationship with someone you trust.  You know they won’t lead you astray or do you wrong. They’ve gained your confidence and know things about your business you don’t share with just anyone.  They understand your business, your goals, what you want to achieve and how you want to achieve it.


And then, one day, instead of getting a call from this person, you get a call from someone you’ve never heard of, who says they’ll be looking after you from now on.  You ask a couple of leading questions and find their knowledge base is green, to say the least.  How would you feel?


I’d feel dumped, jilted, disheartened and disappointed.  And, as a customer, make no mistake, it would definitely affect how I felt about your company, your products, your services – and you!


Not in a million years would I put a “fairly green” salesperson in touch with my important clients.  And, no, it’s not the only way they’ll learn the ropes properly.


They wouldn’t be getting near my important clients until I’d first seen the relationships they built with my “not-such-important” clients first.


I’d first be ensuring my salesperson’s product knowledge, service standards, ability to build long-term relationships with customers, and skill in making the sale is up to scratch.


If it wasn’t, I’d be training, teaching and coaching them on the way it’s done at your business.


Only then would I consider introducing them to my very important clients. My salesperson would be attending meetings with me – with me leading the sales call – allowing my customers to get to know them.


I’d be handing over some areas of responsibility and letting both my customer and salesperson know who was doing what.  I’d be overseeing to ensure the relationship was proceeding smoothly and that both the customer and salesperson were happy.


As the relationship grew, I would make the occasional call to my “very important” customers just so they know I value them and haven’t forgotten them.


To this day I have clients I touch base with twice a year.  They’ve been “my” clients for the past 20 years. They will always be “my” clients.


My team members may be servicing their needs but the customer is mine and I’m theirs.  Together, we’ve built strong businesses.


They’ve helped build mine and I’ve helped build theirs.  We’re a team. And no green salesperson is going to tear us apart.


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