K. Hovnanian Homes employs over 300 salespeople across the United States, and as National Training Coordinator for Sales, Courtney Carter manages training logistics for all of them.
K. Hovnanian’s Sales Training team, also including Director of Training Cory Charles and Sales Coach Trainers Eric Dudley, Matt Siracusa, and Mary Sims, designs and supports K Hovnanian’s sales training programs, which range from in-person sales rallies in each geographic division to monthly continuous learning programs conducted over Zoom.
It’s expensive to take reps out of the field. Every minute spent training is a minute they can’t be out selling. As a result, Courtney constantly asks her sales teammates how they can use that valuable time more effectively.
No surprise: Sales reps have strong opinions! “Some of that feedback stung a bit,” Courtney admitted, “but we improve from hearing it.”
K. Hovnanian Enterprises is one of the largest homebuilding companies in the United States, with 124 residential communities in 14 states and total revenues of $2.3 billion.
HQ: Matawan, NJ
Reps complained that training sessions were too long, and that it was hard to engage with the material. “The content was going in one ear and out the other,” Courtney said. “We realized that no one is going to sit and watch a 10- or 15-minute video. Salespeople have a 10-second attention span, and you need to get to the point quickly.”
Energized by this feedback, Courtney and her teammates set out to reimagine sales training so that it could be more focused, engaging, and hands-on for sales reps, and so that K. Hovnanian could realize more value from live training.
Pre-Training: Data to Pinpoint Live Training
Before Learn to Win, salespeople would arrive at live training sessions completely cold. They would have no idea what the session was going to cover until they sat down and flipped through the printed handout that the training team had created.
Courtney now uses Learn to Win to warm reps up just before a live training with a quick microlearning module. “It’s often just a short video explaining what we’re going to talk about during the sales rally,” she explained. “That way, they show up prepared to engage – we can dive right into the content and get the most out of the time we have with them.”
Learn to Win’s pre-training assignments also help K. Hovnanian’s trainers fine-tune each live session. “We might ask reps to share the biggest objections they’re facing, or what they most want to work on during the sales rally,” Courtney explained. “Every division is different, and we want to fine-tune each training based on what they’re experiencing in the market. For instance, some divisions have a lot of out-of-town prospects, and some might be having trouble bringing prospects into her mortgage branch.” Learn to Win helps K. Hovnanian’s trainers know exactly where to focus.
Post-Training: Reinforcement & Role Play
Studies have shown that we forget 90% of new information within 7 days of learning it. So Courtney used Learn to Win to lock new concepts into sales reps’ long-term memory with post-training reinforcement.
After every live session, Courtney sent out a short follow-up quiz that reps could complete in less than 10 minutes. Sales managers could use this data to spot and quickly fix any lingering knowledge gaps on their team.
Even better, teams used Learn to Win to role play real-world sales scenarios – exactly what reps had requested in their initial feedback. For instance, a Learn to Win post-training lesson might include a video of a hypothetical customer objection and ask reps to record how they would respond.
“We don’t just want them to tell us how they would approach the scenario,” Courtney explained. “Instead, we want them to practice what they’re actually going to say. That way, when it happens in the real world, they know what to do – because they’ve already done it!”
“We were looking for very interactive, hands-on training. That’s what we were missing - we were sending our salespeople materials over email, but they weren’t reading it. Learn to Win makes the entire training experience interactive, which is exactly what we need and what reps were asking for. As a result, we’ve seen engagement increase because of Learn to Win.”
National Training Coordinator @ K. Hovnanian® Homes