Case Study: US Air Force Reserve

U.S. Air Force Reserve Recruiting Command Licenses the IMPACT Selling® System for Ongoing Success

Summary

Beginning in 1996, the U.S. Air Force Reserve Recruiting Command began facing an increasing challenge to achieve their procurement goal. To combat this challenge, the Reserve introduced their entire recruiting force to the IMPACT Selling System in 2000. The results were so dramatic that they ultimately decided to purchase a lifetime license agreement for the IMPACT System. Their license agreement allows internal trainers to deliver IMPACT training as-needed – a cost-effective option for any large organization.

Situation

Staffing the Air Force Reserve is the responsibility of its 400-member recruiting force headquartered at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. During the early 1990s, a massive drawdown in the level of active duty forces created a large number of active duty personnel interested in continuing their military service in the Reserves. For several years, recruiters had no problem filling their ranks with these well-qualified recruits.  

By the mid-1990s, the force reduction programs ended and the number of Airmen leaving active duty annually dropped dramatically. This shift posed a challenge for the Air Force Reserve recruiters and they struggled to achieve procurement goals for five consecutive years.

Solution

Senior military leaders were determined to boost recruiting. A key strategy in their recovery plan was to provide better sales training for the recruiters. The recruiters sought new ideas from the private sector. This bold and ‘un-bureaucratic’ move was instrumental in pointing the organization on the road to meeting and exceeding their goals.

In January of 2000, the Air Force Recruiting Command held a national workshop to introduce their entire recruiting force to the IMPACT Selling System. Recruiting results improved dramatically. However, IMPACT was still an external program for The Air Force Reserve. New recruiters went to Recruiter School to learn the internal sales model and then to The Brooks Group’s training center to learn IMPACT. This system proved to be costly, time consuming, and inefficient.

By purchasing a license agreement for IMPACT, the Air Force Reserve took “ownership” of the IMPACT Selling System and was able to convert the school curriculum to IMPACT. Recruiters no longer had to go to The Brooks Group for training, which saved time and money. With the licensing agreement, the organization has the flexibility to teach classes when they choose and update the curriculum as changes occur in the Air Force Reserve recruiting environment. They can conduct continuing education classes using their own instructors, and perhaps most importantly, by “owning” IMPACT, the system has become an integral part of the Air Force Reserve culture.

Another positive side effect of the licensing agreement was that Air Force Reserve officials saw that the value that IMPACT brought to recruiting could also be applied to retention. As a result, they modified some of their training materials on their own to apply the same principles of sales to retention. This was done without the need for either permission or assistance from The Brooks Group because the licensing agreement allowed for “in-house” modification of the training materials and the Air Force Reserve now had experienced recruiter-instructors and staff personnel capable of building on the original curriculum.

Results

Productivity increased immediately. Starting in fiscal year 2001 through the present, the Air Force Reserve has exceeded its recruiting goals every year, despite recruiting in a wartime environment.

Perhaps the best compliment came when a high-ranking Pentagon official, testifying before Congress, referred to the Air Force Reserve recruiters as, “The model recruiting service in the Department of Defense.”

  • Since 2001, the Air Force Reserve has exceeded its recruiting goals each year by an average of more than 6% despite recruiting in a wartime environment.
  • A high-ranking Pentagon official, testifying before Congress, referred to the Air Force Reserve recruiters as,“The model recruiting service in the Department of Defense.”

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