I’m Ed Ross with Ignite Selling. I focus on helping organizations increase revenue and decrease market share by improving their sales skills. I’m a master facilitator, so I work with select clients on helping them implement our solutions across the nation.
What Type of People Do you Typically Work With?
The majority of our work is done with salespeople and sales leaders, whether that’s helping them implement that overall strategy as we just discussed or whether it’s around workshop activities like this where we lead these interactive sessions that allow organizations to think about their strategy. We challenge the way they think and approach their business on a daily basis.
How Long Have You Been a Trainer?
I’ve been training for probably 12 years on the education side. Prior to that I carried a bag in sales and I’ve led sales teams of all different sizes, but I’ve been focusing on the education side of training for probably the last 12 years.
How is Ignite’s Approach Different Than Others?
What I love about our methodology is the learning happens out in the audience. My job as the master facilitators is just to guide those conversations and help them think about their strategies and try to figure out where they’re going. My goal isn’t to teach them anything. My goal is truly to be a facilitator of knowledge, skill, and application within the table settings, and that’s really unique about what we do. We take that exercise, make it relevant, make it real so that they can walk out with strategies they could execute immediately.
Typically, What is the Skill Level of Your Audiences?
The beauty of what we do is we work with all skill levels. Sometimes we’re working with someone who’s brand new to sales, or sometimes they are brand new to a certain industry or arena. What we teach them are fundamental skills that take all of what they’ve been exposed to before in their sales career and allows us to apply these new strategies.
How Does Ignite Manage a Comfortable Learning Environment?
Our methodology allows us to make it real, to make it relevant and to give them an opportunity to get exposure to other strategies. In many of our sessions there’ll be paired with someone else who may be more experienced or more tenured. These activities allow them to share the way they think in an open format so that they can identify multiple strategies. What we often find is those individuals find strategies that maybe they didn’t think of before because they have exposure to someone who’s been doing it at a very high level. Even high performers are now being exposed to new ways to think about it considering the changes we see in the marketplace.
How do you Engage Experienced Learners Who Don’t Want to Participate?
It’s about making it real and relevant for them. Many of them have been through training programs where they sit down and they go through your traditional death by PowerPoint. All of our activities are table based. It encourages that social learning element. They don’t want to participate because they’ve been through that death by PowerPoint where someone’s speaking at them. Now they have an opportunity to share their insights and their experience with other colleagues, challenge the way each other thinks, even if you have multiple high performers in the room and that gives them a strategy that’s immediately applicable. They can go out and start using that strategy right at the conclusion of one of our workshops.
How do the Learning Maps Create a Compelling Learning Experience?
We’ve incorporated the learning map, which is an over-sized game board if you will, and that learning map forces them to take their individual thoughts and roll it into a team strategy that they’re accountable for. What we love about this approach is because they are now transitioning their individual thoughts and to a team play, they’re using some of the same skills of influence in creating value for others that we’re actually teaching in the program. So unbeknownst to them, they are reinforcing the skills that we’re exposing them to, that we expect them to use on their customers. They’re doing it in that social learning environment. That’s how we use the learning map. Each learning map forces them to think about a different strategy and allows them to compare notes on the case, influencers or key decision makers and that again pushes them to do it. Plus it’s the element of fun that they actually get to draw on something for those kinesthetic learners. They all get to apply to the different learning styles by using the learning map. It’s a great resource for us in terms of engaging learners in a different way than they’ve been in the past.
Which Modules do you Enjoy Teaching the Most and Why?
I love all of them. I would say the Influencer Snapshot is one of my favorite because it forces people to think about levels of influence and how do we impact those. The Value Creation is another, especially in today’s time in the market because we’re all trying to figure out how do we create differentiating value for our clients. The Sales Process is one that I lead very often for our clients as well. I’m helping them identify what are the steps or phases that they go through and then what are those key milestones that they actually need to accomplish to move an opportunity forward.
What do People do After the Training to Sustain those Skills?
Our recommendations are that number one, they use our online tools and paper-based tools to reinforce the experience that they just had that day. Number two, a very strategic part of what we do is coaching. They have to receive some type of coaching and reinforcement. In the absence of that coaching and reinforcement, within 90 days, they’ll lose 87 percent of what they learned in a classroom environment. So that coaching and reinforcement are really big parts of the successful strategy we roll out to our customers.