How do you get employees to "buy in" to your mission?

by K
(Indiana)

During and after training you know you have some "hold outs". They go through the motions, but won't follow through on assignments.


These aren't rookies and they aren't seniors. Ours are two 30 somethings and one is head of the department and others follow her example.

So, we recently tried monetary incentives with an additional chance to enter our money machine for 30 seconds and win additional funds.

Their assignment was simply to tell our members who don't have car loans with us about a great way they might save money. Our car loan promotion had a terrific rate and they might win a basketball if they refinanced their existing car loan with us.

We're at wits end.

It's our employees job to talk to members they wait on and they don't/won't mention current promotions. Do we threaten them???

Our Reply

This is an interesting situation, especially as one of the people you are concerned about is a team leader and should be setting an example for others.

It also sounds as though this is resistance in the work place rather than in a training session.

So to explore the situation fully let's break it down, and let me ask you a few questions which will help you to deal with the situation.

The first question I would ask is are the people you mention clear that this is part of their job description, that one of things that they are paid to do is to promote and talk about your products to all customers?

It sounds simple, it's obvious to you,( and causing you some frustration ) but does it need reinforcing with the team?

If there is any doubt, clarify their accountabilities with all the team members ( especially the team leader )

Secondly we need to check out whether this is a training need or a management issue.

Is it that the team members you describe don't have the skills or confidence to carry out the tasks that you require them to, or is that they could but are choosing not to?

The simple way to answer this is to ask yourself "Have I ever seen them do it right?"

If you have heard them demonstrate the behaviours you require then they know what to do, they are just choosing not to do this, and this then becomes a management issue.

If you have never heard them do what you need them to do then it is a training need and you need to organise a training or coaching session during which you can discuss the fact that they are not putting this into practice.

I would ask them as their manager or their trainer "what is stopping you from asking / promoting these products?" ( and in a management discussion I may also ask them "what are the consequences of you not promoting our products )

It may be a question of motivation and not everyone is motivated by money. It may be that they feel uncomfortable with the promotion or the wording of the promoting, again by asking them the question and discussing this with them you can coach them around finding an approach which works for them and works for the business.

You may have to sell the idea of promoting the products to them, be clear what the benefits to
  • the company are of promoting these products ( an increase in sales of ...... which means that the company is stronger in a competitive and difficult market place
  • the customer will benefit by taking a better interest rate which could save them x amount per month
  • ask them what they think the benefits are to them of promoting the products and services you describe - it might be a financial reward, it might be job satisfaction, it might be that by selling more products they have better job security.

    Is their work over the telephone, do you record their calls which you could review with them? That's a great way to get people to recognise what they are doing and what they are not doing during a conversation with a customer, and can be used for training and coaching as well as call quality purposes.

    You may want to check out our dealing with resistance information in the Training Tips section of the site - http://www.customer-service-training-helper.com/overcoming-resistance.html. That may also give you some ideas.

    Whatever, I think I would have a conversation with the Head of Department as s/he really should be setting an example to the team - do they have sales targets?

    I would be asking a version of the following question, "how are you going to motivate your team to hit their targets if you are not putting into practice the very things that will help them to make sales?"

    I hope this helps - let us know how you get on.

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