What Kind of Learner is Your New Recruit?

My poor dad.  It can’t be easy having a daughter who’s a third party observer to his launch of a network marketing business (he’s brand new to this industry.)  Because you see, I find object lessons in a lot of what he’s doing that will benefit all of you.  And so I share them with you here.  Fortunately he’s a good sport.

He recently recruited his first new team member.  And since my dad got a bit overwhelmed at first himself with all the information, he tried to be ultra-careful about giving him just enough information, but not too much.  He also relied on the information that the company sent, trusting that his new recruit would read it before doing things like setting up his website.

The only problem?  His new recruit is a very busy guy who likes quick hit “tell me just what I need to know right now and no more” training.  And so there were a few misunderstandings by the new recruit about how things worked, and what he was supposed to do.  It’s all resolved now.  But it got me to thinking about how we train new people, and communicate with them on an ongoing basis.

How do you learn best?  Do you know?  Most likely. You know the way you prefer to receive important information.  For example, I know that I much prefer a bulleted list of the details and visual support materials, rather than a long, drawn-out video with fluff or an audio recording that wastes my time.  I like training that gets straight to the point, and I like to do things while learning them.  That’s why a bulleted list works great for me.  I can do each bullet as I read it, helping me retain the information.

Do you ask your new recruits how they prefer to receive information?  Or are you taking a one-size fits all approach?

Some of the ways people may prefer to learn include:

  • Visual learners – learn best with graphs, charts, visual demonstrations.  This learner enjoys training videos and pictures, and loves those live meetings where he/she gets to actually see everything.
  • Text-based learners (this is really a subset of visual, but actually a visual learner may do better with pictures or video, while a text-based learner prefers to read) – prefer to read the information in detail.  They have saved that “welcome to the company” email and refer to it often, and the company training manual is their best friend.
  • Auditory learners – learn best by hearing something.  This type of learner loves audio CDs and conference calls.
  • Kinesthetic learners – learn best by doing something physical.  This is someone who learns by doing, so sit next to them and actually walk them through the process.

If you want every new recruit to be successful, you have to be willing to take into consideration how they learn best, and put in the time to get every recruit off to the best possible start.  Because there’s a lot to learn.  We can’t just, for example, set up audio conference calls and expect everyone to get it.  Nor can we rely on a series of videos, or written training manuals.  People are not one size fits all.  And your training can’t be either.

One of the first questions you must ask every new recruit is how they learn best.  And if you’re new to a direct selling business, let your upline know how you best process information.  You may not always get information in your preferred way.  But it may encourage your upline to craft the same message in different ways, so that all team members have the greatest chance of success.

Your company may have the information in only one style.  But this is where the leader comes in.  It’s hard for the company to meet every learning style in the company because there are so many people.  But as a leader it’s your job to customize that information for each recruit.  You are the personal touch that makes training work in a direct selling company.

Some ways you may want to craft your messages and training include:

  • Share the information at a live meeting with a visual presentation (and perhaps video your presentation with a flipcam, for future reference by new recruits).  Have your team members write down the important points.
  • Live audio or live-streaming video calls.  Ask your team members to discuss the point, or share commonly asked questions and ask team members to answer them.
  • Share the information in a brief, pre-recorded video.
  • Bulleted handout or email with the most important details highlighted, and links to learn more.
  • For web- or computer-based topics, a recorded webcast that walks people through the steps visually (I use screenr.com which is free…you can see an example of a Screenr webcast here.)

So when you get a new recruit started, there are 2 things you need to do.  First, you need to understand how they learn.  But then you also need to be sure the training that you’ve sequenced with the most important things they need to know to get started addresses the various learning styles your new recruit might have.

By taking into account how your new recruit learns, you can avoid miscommunications and misunderstandings that can lead to someone quitting before they really have the chance to get started.

How do you learn best?  Have you structured your new recruit communication in such a way that it addresses different learning styles?  How?  And if you haven’t, what will you do now?  Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below.

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image credit: LindaH

2 Responses to What Kind of Learner is Your New Recruit?
  1. Europe
    January 13, 2011 | 2:13 am

    As a Director this is great information to have. You assume that everyone would process information the same way you do, so this is good advice to step back and consider the different styles of learning. Thank you for the reminder.

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