Are Fast Food Restaurants Offering More Training Than Your Sales Organization

Denver-Based Sales Leadership Development Available Nationwide

Posted: July 16, 2012

I read with great interest in the Denver Post yesterday about Chipotle restaurant’s focus on training and career advancement. What really struck me about the article is Chipotle probably invests more time and money into training positions such as a burrito roller than most sales organizations invest in high level sales positions.    

Here are a few things that I like about their training and on-boarding program:

  • Everyone knows the potential career path and knows through hard work and performance they can reach the next level.  For example, a burrito roller knows there is an opportunity to become a cashier who knows they can become a service and shift manager.  In fact, 98 percent of salaried managers start as burrito rollers.

    The same thing can be accomplished at your sales organizations.  For example, a sharp intern could move up the ladder to inside sales to outside sales to major account sales. 

  • Everyone teaches at Chipotle.  No one is promoted at Chipotle without first training someone below them on how to do the job.   When you teach, you  become more proficient at the task or job.  A deeper understanding of each position helps create more effective leaders and managers at an organization.

    How many of your veteran salespeople would improve their professional selling skills if they took on a teaching and mentoring role of new salespeople?  There is a lot of talent and knowledge sitting on the sidelines at most sales organizations.  Create a teaching and learning environment at your company.    

Panda Express, the biggest Chinese fast food chain in the United States,  is also another fast food company that pays attention to professional development.  Did you know that every employee is required to read Stephen Covey’s book, “The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People?” 

How many sales teams are REQUIRED to read anything?

Andrew Cherng, the founder and co-CEO holds forums every few weeks, on Saturdays, at the corporate headquarters.  His employees dance through Zumba routines and participate in motivational self-help sessions.  Hmmm…. could this focus on personal and professional development have anything to do with their corporate success? 

So what gets in the way of sales organizations offering training and education to their teams?  The excuse we hear most often is, “I hired salespeople with experience.”  The gaping hole in this excuse is that most salespeople have never been exposed to formal sales training and education.   Sales organizations often hire salespeople that might be practicing and executing skills that produce average results, not exceptional results.  To use a golf analogy, they are practicing the wrong swing every day because they have not been taught a better way to become a professional salesperson.   

Take a lesson on training and education from the fast food industry to improve your sales results and culture. 

Good Selling!

Colleen Stanley