Imagine grabbing your favorite mug, pouring yourself a cup of coffee and having 95% of it pouring out from a hole in the bottom of the mug. Now, imagine doing that day after day, being perfectly ok with only 5% of your favorite morning java available to help you get through your morning. You’d probably either get a new mug, or repair the hole…right?
When it comes to learning, according to landmark studies done in the 1960’s by the NTL (National Training Laboratory of Applied and Behavioral Sciences) Institute that generated the ‘Learning Pyramid’, we all too often approach learning in a way that has up to 95% of what we are learning, dropping out from the bottom of our mugs!
According to the NTL research, we (adult learners) only retain 10% of what we read. We pick up even less (5%) from what we hear from a lecture. Incidentally, a good deal of instructional design delivered in classrooms and training rooms across this country are “lecture” based. We know that there are exceptions to every rule, however, who among us hasn’t thought after an unreasonably long training session, “what a waste of time”.
Very few people are immune from the proliferation of electronic media and an economic climate that demands that workers do more with less.
So how does the 21st century sales professional keep up with the latest trends, socio-economic indicators, volumes of reading, hours of lectures and product training necessary in order to be differentiated in their marketplace?
My old mentor Don would often tell me, “Caesar if you had to learn everything first hand, you’d die stupid”. He instructed me to find someone that was producing at a level that I wanted to produce, figure out what they were doing and get close enough to watch. That led me to contact and connect with people like David Ogilvy, Jay Abraham, Zig Ziglar, John Wooden and Tony Robbins to name a few, the list is endless. Even today as a platform speaker on sales and leadership, I’m always in search of the “right” classroom.
If you’re wondering what the “right” classroom is, ask yourself, “Who does what I want to be doing, better than how I’m currently doing it?” Get close enough to watch and now you’ve put yourself in the classroom.
The mission of our REAL ABCs BLOG is to put you into the right classroom every week. We will examine the hundreds of methodologies and “best practices” that have been introduced to the marketplace over the last 30 years and compare them to the REAL ABCs. The REAL ABCs are the top four areas of focus that have helped the sales pros who comprise the top 15% of any sales organization, across all industries, and throughout history consistently look down at quota.
The NTL research wasn’t all doom and gloom. It posited that retention goes up 1000% (from standard lecture-based training) when the learner was engaged in a group discussion on the materials covered, 1500% when they immediately applied and put into practice what they just learned, and an astounding 1800% when they taught someone else to use what they had just learned.
As a facilitator and coach, it’s incumbent upon me to make sure my information is nearly flawless, in design, in facts stated and in execution. I rehearse, I tape myself, I share and rehearse concepts with my wife or friends, I write about the concepts, I do whatever I can to turn the whole thing upside down, more importantly, to create the outcomes necessary to expose the flaws.
Next time you read something, listen to audio, or come back from a sales training, immediately apply and teach the concepts to someone. Better yet, compare what you’ve just learned to what the top professionals do in that field or area of study to consistently stay on top.
I’m always humbled by participants who come back from our workshops after day one and with excitement tell me about a conversation they had with their family or friends about a concept we discussed. It tells me they are well on their way to applying concepts and principles we firmly believe will have a significant positive impact on their careers and personal lives.
We live in a world where we must make the most of our time, where rewards are given for maximizing resources, not wasting them. Information and knowledge are the building blocks of the 21st century. Discern and choose wisely, the “classroom” you put yourself into, and learn how to keep 90% of what you hear from pouring out the bottom of your mug!
-Caesar Kavadoy, Chief Sales Evangelist