How To Be A Shadow To Greatness

How To Be A Shadow To GreatnessWe continue on our adventure through the various types of sales training by talking about field shadowing.

Field shadowing involves a new sales person following or “shadowing” a more experience sales person in the field as they call and meet with clients and prospects.

This allows a new sales person to see first hand what life will be like for them in the field. In addition they will have access to the knowledge base of a more senior sales person and be able to see first hand how they handle objections, answer questions, and probe clients for pains.

How To Get The Most Out Of Field Shadowing

Whether you’re the shadower or shadowee (real words?) there are a few steps you can take to get the most out of this type of sales training.

Before The Field Shadowing

Proper preparation before field shadowing is extremely important to make sure you get the most out of it. First of all there should always be a pre-call planning session. This will set you up to understand what the call is going to be about.

It also gives you the opportunity to do some research so you can have a better understanding of the meeting topic and the client or prospect you will be meeting with.

The sales person you’re shadowing should provide clear guidelines for you as well. If you’re shadowing, depending on how new you are, the rep may want you to stay silent after the introduction. Or they may be ok with you joining in on the conversation at certain points.

It’s their client or prospect so make sure you abide by their rules. I’d imagine you’d feel bad if you said something that jeopardized the sale.

During The Field Shadowing

Whether or not you are an active participant in the meeting something you should always do is take notes.

Notes on how the client reacts to answers from the senior sales person, what questions they are asking, and how the rep responded to them.

As we’ll talk about shortly, these notes are integral to the post-call review.

But don’t go too crazy. Pay attention to the customer, don’t simply be feverishly writing things down, especially after they say something.

And always let them know before hand that you will be taking notes. Whether you’re new or experienced, they will appreciate that you are taking items down for later follow up.

After The Field Shadowing

After the meeting is where the real learning begins.

As I’v mentioned before, learning new sales techniques and having it stick happens after repeated and consistent reinforcement.

To help this happen, after every meeting, you should have a post-call review session.

Using your notes go over what you saw during the meeting. Your impressions on what happened and possibly how they differed on what was discussed in the pre-call planning session.

A good senior sales person will help to point out things you may have missed. e.g. “did you see him start to nod his head when I was discussing our reporting capabilities” or “remember how we weren’t planning to go over our module for building operations? Well when he mentioned the issue they had with the water heater this morning that was a great lead way to talk about how we can help them with that“.

Those are just two examples but a senior rep is likely to catch a lot more than a junior rep will.

When it’s an option, shadowing in your sales training program is a must have  ~Tweet This!

Let me know in the comments below what have your experiences been with shadowing?

~ Johnny Bravo

Image courtesy of phanlop88 /

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