Space – The Learning Frontier: How Brooks(OS) is Making Lessons Stick

Written by: Russ Sharer

In the famous science fiction franchise “Star Trek,” space was considered the final frontier.

 

At The Brooks Group, we, too, consider space to be very special. In fact, “space” is the essence of our latest innovation, Brooks(OS) – a sales training program that uses space as an ally, rather than a hindrance, to reinforce sales training lessons.

Here’s the epiphany we had: Though there’s nothing wrong, inherently, with a typical two-day sales training program that’s delivered all at once, there’s a bit of a glitch in the wiring of our brains that makes this an uphill battle.

A German philosopher, Hermann Ebbinghaus, did some groundbreaking research in the late 1800s that affirmed the limitations of our memory. His observations yielded something called the Forgetting Curve, which illustrates this in graphic detail.

(source: Versitas.com)

When we first learn something, Ebbinghaus found, we lose most of the information in the first couple of days, after which the rate of loss begins to level off. Unfortunately, he discovered, after the first month, 90 percent of what we learned has evaporated into the ether.

Though the capacity of our memory is fairly fixed in place, Ebbinghaus discovered that the information presented is actually a variable that can be leveraged to reduce, or eliminate, the decline. It’s called the “spacing effect,” and it is genius in its simplicity: By simply reinforcing the training at regular intervals, the rate of decline reduces, and the memory becomes stronger (see below). Thus, frequent training interventions as part of a learning campaign helps solidify the information through active recall.

Necessity is the Mother of Innovation

Though we have been aware of the value of spaced learning for some time, the COVID-19 pandemic served as our own sort of “litmus test” for Ebbinghaus’ research. Through the abrupt shift to virtual learning, it became evident that the attention span for people participating in a Zoom training call was greatly reduced – 90 minutes was ideal, two hours the maximum.

Thus, we had no choice but to divide our IMPACT Learning Sales Training into shorter, and more digestible, chunks. Remarkably, we found our clients were better able to ingest and recall the training materials through this format – and Brooks(OS) was born.

For us, the philosophy makes sense – learning is not an event, but a process. To foster that process, we developed a four-pronged approach – learn, practice, sell, coach – that would be delivered in hour-long training modules, with live facilitators, over the course of multiple weeks.

Taking it to the Streets

We knew that the multi-week format would allow for something that one-and-done training would not: Real-world practice and feedback. Short field assignments between sessions will allow participants to put the information to work immediately, then return with lessons learned or questions to help take the training deeper into their work.

By dynamically applying what is learned each week into daily sales activity, salespeople and sales managers would see immediate improvement, while using the outcomes to inform future weekly lessons. And, by shaping the sales methodology based on real feedback, we can leverage the team’s unique strengths and weaknesses, as well as the current state of the company’s market and competitive sphere.

Our format for our IMPACT Selling Program is as follows:

  • Learn: Participants alternate between facilitator-guided instruction and self-paced discovery of the IMPACT sales process – with a special emphasis on their company’s unique selling process.
  • Practice: Using The Brooks Group’s customized LXP (learning experience platform), sales professionals will complete scenarios and activities designed to help them master IMPACT in their own day-to-day selling.
  • Sell: Participants engage in a Sales Bullpen discussion board with peers, managers, and IMPACT subject matter experts to apply Learn and Practice activities to current problem solving, best practices, and skill expansion.
  • Coach: Using vignettes offered by several of The Brooks Group’s experts, participants will identify gaps in their selling skills and connect with their facilitator for questions. These lessons will be reinforced with weekly “Thought Drops” electronic reminders containing additional timely insights.

Spaced Learning is Only Part of the Story

Though we knew we were on the right track, we also realized that retention is only half the challenge. True, lasting change would be driven by implementation – meaning that sales managers would need to participate in, and coach, the new practices for the success paradigm to be complete.

Concurrently, we developed a distinct track of programs for sales leadership —sessions designed to teach the essential art of coaching to the IMPACT Selling methodology, and to help leaders rally the company culture around this new methodology.

Put Brooks(OS) to Work for You

We’d love to introduce you to the Brooks(OS) philosophy and program. If we can help you and your team achieve sales mastery through spaced learning, contact us.

Written By

Russ Sharer

Russ is the Director of Sales Strategy Excellence at The Brooks Group. Russ combines his 30+ years in B2B Sales and Marketing with his in-depth facilitation experience to deliver high-impact training programs as well as lead The Brooks Group’s team of talented facilitators.
Written By

Russ Sharer

Russ is the Director of Sales Strategy Excellence at The Brooks Group. Russ combines his 30+ years in B2B Sales and Marketing with his in-depth facilitation experience to deliver high-impact training programs as well as lead The Brooks Group’s team of talented facilitators.

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