communication inventories

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17 02, 2012

Would Your Salespeople be Better if They Understood Their Communication Styles?

By |2017-03-03T12:07:07-05:00February 17th, 2012|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , , |Comments Off on Would Your Salespeople be Better if They Understood Their Communication Styles?

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I’m not a fan of “drive by training”. That’s what I call training when trainers come in with a “one size fits all” program that is built about the  training program and not the individual.

Everyone is different, everyone needs  different things and everyone learns differently. Teaching adults is more complicated and needs to have  ‘transferability’ – what they learn can immediately be applied to situations in their own lives. In addition the more they understand about themselves the more they will get out of the training.

If you are working on a training program, here are two interesting articles about teaching adults and how they learn: Principles of Teaching Adults How Adults Learn 

My experience has taught me the more people know about themselves the better learners they become. In other words, knowing my strengths and my challenges will help me  me understand why some concepts are easier to grasp then others. To be successful you must understand yourself and how you interact with the world.

For years I have been using BEST Instruments are a great way to help people understand how they communicate and how they can improve their communication skills. (There are a number of different test but I always start with the Communication Style.)The tests take very little time to administer and people are rarely threatened by the results. They are also  amazed at the accuracy. This information can be incorporated into the training program making learning much easier. It also gives the instructor a way to  make the message more personal and help the salespeople want to learn new ways to communicate. In addition the inventories come with “birds of a feather buttons” that proudly announce the person’s style. All of this makes for learning and fun.

Understanding and interpreting the tests do take time and learning on the instructor’s part and should  be  done ahead of time. The more times you administer the tests the more you will learn  about how to discuss the results.  I have found that participants are often unaware that others actually have different styles of communication. In fact people with other styles of communication are often described as “just difficult”.  This is a good way to get salespeople to take bigger risks in their communications and be more successful in their sales. Selling is all about connecting and it’s easier to connect with someone you understand.

After people have assessed their styles, they can be put into “different” groups and learn how to better communicate with each other and of course different types of customers.


We all know that we like things better when they’re “our ideas” so why not help your learners first understand how they think and maybe the new things will become their ideas.

Lisbeth Calandrino is available for Sales and Communication Training. She can be reached at [email protected].


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28 11, 2011

Stop Hiring Losers!

By |2017-03-03T12:07:07-05:00November 28th, 2011|Categories: Blog, Interviews|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |2 Comments

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The last U.S. Census reports that small businesses with fewer than ten employees make up 78% of all employers. A recent survey of small-business owners, by SurePayroll Inc., found that poor hiring costs about $10,000 per hire. And according to a recent study by Leadership IQ, nearly half of all new hires (46%) fail within 18 months. That means every move of every employee counts. 

What do you need for your business? You need super stars. Simply enough it takes good people. Don’t think there are any good people out there? Wonder why all the bad ones are in your business? Could it be your lack of nterviewing skills?Interviewing is tough business and takes being prepared. We all know that hiring mistakes can kill your company. All the motivation, all the coaching, all the training, all the total quality management and all the reengineering in the world can’t make up for a hiring mistake. If you hire bad people you can’t overcome it or train your way out.

How does it happen and how can you overcome it? Here are a few ideas. Don’t go to the supermarket  when you’re hungry. Just like shopping for food on an empty stomach shopping for  employees when you’re desperate produces the same results–a sick  stomach and an empty wallet. Hiring a bad employee can empty your wallet as well as create problems for your business . Statistics show that a bad employee can cost upwards to  $40,000 or even more. If you’re desperate to hire you’re more likely to get a bad employee.

Here are some interviewing tips to help you hire the right  employees, by the way, this link is a video.

Know what you’re looking for and what will work for your business. If you’re not sure of the job description watch your employees and determine what’s right and what’s wrong with your team. What skills does your team need and what’s missing. Simply, be able to define the job.

Benchmark the job. Do you have someone who works for you with the qualities that you’re after? What does that person do well and list the qualities that  you want. Maybe your industry has statistics for job performance.

Don’t hire someone like yourself. This is one of the easiest and most deadly traps that interviewers face. When someone is like you rapport is built easily and it seems like a perfect match. Ask yourself, does my business need another employee like me? If the employee is like you, how will they do with customers who aren’t like themselves?

Meet with your critical staff and develop a check list for the hiring process. If more than one person will be interviewing, everyone should be clear on the criteria. As they interview they should check off the questions and see how closely the candidate fits the criteria. Liking a person doesn’t necessarily make a good candidate.

Be forever hiring. Interview people when you’re not hungry. Encourage applications on your web site even if you don’t  have an immediate need for an employee. Who knows, someone spectacular may come along, someone you don’t want to pass up.

Should you read the the resumes? If you ask someone to bring a resume ask for a skills resume rather than an experience resume. Hiring is too costly to hire someone just because they have experience,  hire those who have skills that will help you stretch their abilities and you need. What will references tell you, not much. By law the questions you can ask are so limited that it’s doubtful you will find any useful information. These are desperate times with many desperate people and mistakes are costly to you and your business. I know plenty of floor covering salespeople with plenty of experience; most of it is bad experience. Just because they have product knowledge doesn’t mean they’ll make a good salesperson. I would go for the one who can build rapport anytime.

I have been asked many time to provide  job references for people who didn’t work for me!

Hold a telephone interview before you meet with your potential employee. Does the candidate make a good impression on the telephone? How do they sound on the phone, who answered the phone when you called, was it someone who could deliver a message? I have had employees whose wives couldn’t deliver a message.

Read the cover letters, check the spelling and word usage. When in doubt hire the  person who can write and spell. Most likely they can also talk.

Throw in a wrench! Ask them a question to throw them off guard. “If you found that the customer over paid what would you do?” Sounds like an easy answer doesn’t it? Ask me sometime about the bookkeeper who suggested the owner keep the extra check when the customer had over paid.

Ask the candidate to give you a list of their skills; then ask them to demonstrate how  they demonstrated these skills. Three pages of job experience doesn’t mean the person can do the job the way you want it done.

BEST Instruments testing has great, inexpensive tests that you can administer at the interview. Tests on communication styles will give you insight into your candidate and their ability to get along with other team members.

You’ve probably heard this suggestion: hire slow and fire fast. Whenever possible have a “get to know you period,” evaluate and if it’s not right move on.

Lisbeth Calandrino is a business coach and trainer. For more information on using BEST Inventories give Lisbeth a call at 518-495-5380.

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