Project in DHL Sweden

In 2002 DHL was at a crossroads. Traditional training had not affected the sales in a positive way and something dramatic needed to be done to improve the sales turnover. On the recommendation of one of the sales managers we started to investigate and discuss the Sales Call Reluctance program offered by Belbin Sweden AB (later founder company of Confident Approach). Resistance to the program was high as DHL had always followed the path of traditional sales training focussing on what happened when a sales person was in front of the company and blaming the low call rate on the market, the sales program or the lack of marketing. After, much internal discussion it was decided that a test should be conducted with a restricted group to see of the program was worth exploring more. As company training manager I was invited to take part and assess the program. My background is also one of traditional training programs and focus on what happens in front of the customer.
It took until the second half of the first day for me to be convinced that this was something for DHL and for me personally, the answer to why I behaved in a certain way and had failed in certain situations became crystal clear and my own personal journey began. I attended the licence program and quickly became deeply interested in the program and its effect on the results that a sales person could produce and the speed of that effect.
In Sweden we followed the program rigidly applying all the principles in the trainers manual and developing a series of follow up meetings that focussed on goal setting, reinforcement of the methods for controlling and removing the behaviours as well following up delegates results.

In Sweden all sales people were put through the program; telesales, field sales, major accounts and key accounts. Sales managers were given extra coaching to help them understand the behaviours more and to able to recognise them in others. Focus was on measuring the development of call rates and closure rates for all sales people regardless of which level of sales they had, this measurement was critical in the development of DHL sales. The most dramatic improvements were in the telesales and field sales teams where the respective results were as follows:

Telesales: 15 outgoing calls per day, 5 days per week before the program to 22 outgoing calls per day, 5 days per week. Closures improved from 1 in 6 to 1 in 3. This resulted in consistent increase in revenues in a very price sensitive segment of the market,

Field sales: 1,1 visits per day 4 days per week before the program to 4,3 visits per day 4 days a week and an increase in closures from 1 in 12 to 1 in 4. A number of underperforming sales people chose not to follow the program and left the company whilst others followed the program rigidly and increased their sales. On a personal front my responsibilities changed from only having responsibility for 1 person to having 60 people and a salary increase of over 34%.

As part of the program all candidates applying for a sales role within DHL were tested and their test results presented to the recruiting sales manager thus limiting the behaviours in the sales team ensuring that those incoming candidates had the right profile for the role.

Dan Crewe

DHL Training Manager, in 2002

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