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Inside Look at a Salesperson’s Teaching & Learning Process (Interview)

Ryan Nixon works as a Financial Representative with the Northwestern Mutual Financial Network. His role within the organization is to build a base of clients in his financial services practice.

Q. Since we live in such a fast-paced 21st century world, how do salespeople like you stay current with your company’s products and competitor’s products?

In my world there are always new gadget products coming out with big promises.

Clients are often dazzled by the monumental returns and what is advertised as low risk. However, as history has unfolded these promises often fall short because of the aggressive assumptions backing up the illustration. In order to stay current, we have to investigate all of the new products that are coming out and doing our due diligence to understand them thoroughly. Our company’s home office does a good job of keeping us current on what is coming out in the marketplace. We have a competition department and a toll free line dedicated to individual products to help us filter through it all.

Q. As a salesperson, what kind of opportunities do you have to teach and learn from other salespeople selling the same products at your company?

Northwestern Mutual’s educational process is driven by their sales reps giving back to other representatives through joint work and formal classroom sessions.

Q. How might technology be able to support and streamline the teaching & learning process?

Technology enables someone to access training at their convenience and they choose the content giving them ownership over the process.

Q. What resources help you do your job as a salesperson?

Recently we developed a website where representatives can learn view interviews, read articles and get help with specific areas of interest in the business. They range from product information to sales skills and are rated by everyone who views them and update regularly. It has easily been the most helpful source of information because it is developed by the sales people who use it. Material that comes from the home office has a very corporate feel and is developed by those who don’t sell and isn’t respected by the viewers.

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