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Not All Sales Training Is Created Equal

by Johnny Bravo · 6 comments

Not All Sales Training Is Created Equal

It’s one thing to decide what to train your sales team on, it’s another thing to decide how you’ll approach that training.

Do you remember your time in school? At almost every level there were teachers that you loved. That you thought you learned best with.

Or perhaps there were subjects that your friends soaked up like a sponge while you struggled to get even the most basic concepts down.

One of the reasons for the discrepancy likely has to do with how the information was delivered.

There are many ways to train new sales techniques and the below will cover the broad types out there and give you a better idea of what you should include in your sales training.

Lecture / Webinars

These are one of the more common types of outside sales training.

Have you ever sent your sales team to, or been to yourself, a lecture, presentation, or online webinar where your time is spent simply listening to a presenter?

This is often the least engaging type of sales training however if you look hard enough you’ll find someone who is a great presenter and who is very active in engaging the attendees throughout the presentation.

For the most part though you’ll find that your job is to simply sit, watch, and try to absorb as much as you can.

The learning achieved through this type of training is limited. And it is not very “sticky”. Meaning that information is not retained for very long.

As I mentioned in a previous post Consistency Is Key In Sales Training, when the only training  involved is lectures, there will only be a strong push of using that training for a week or maybe two. But after that the memory of that training quickly fades.

There is a place for this kind of training, but not for advanced sales techniques that aren’t used on a consistent basis.

This type of training often works for technology or machinery that will be used immediately and often such as how to use Salesforce.com or Microsoft Word.

Self Help Books

I am a big proponent of books and reading. Leaders are readers!

I love to read and try to read at least one book a month. Lately, while I was traveling a lot and in training I was reading a lot more. Trying to get 2 books a month in.

Sales Training From Self Help Books

I’m also an enthusiastic note-taker when I get into a book I feel is valuable.

I take my time, write down notes, and reference different parts of the book as I go through it. Trying to build a solid understanding of what the book is trying to teach me.

There are some classic sales books which I believe should be part of any training course. How To Win Friends And Influence People (affiliate link) is an amazing book which I have read multiple times.

And like the instructions in the beginning I read each chapter once, taking light notes, and then immediately read it again diving deeper into the notes I took.

This is how you really retain information from a book. But like lectures and webinars the amount of information that will stick can be limited.

Shadowing / Field Training

Shadowing a more senior sales person is a great way to get sales training.

Every person has their own way of doing things, presenting information, and closing deals.

And with a more experienced sales team, the newest sales person has an opportunity to learn techniques they could never get in a training environment.

Questions they’re likely to come across as well a tactical answers to them. Appropriate interactions with clients. Do’s and don’ts in the field. As well as a number of other valuable insights to the sales person-client relationship.

Workshops

Workshops are where you take known objections, or really any item you want to work on, and you develop a process to handing them.

As a sales team or individually you work out the best possible way to handle a situation.

This doesn’t always have to be in regards to client facing issues though. Internal process can be worked out this way as well. For example what is the internal process for when there is someone out sick. Who takes over their responsibilities, etc.

Once those processes has been decided on then you move to the last training option for implementing them with your sales team.

Role Playing

Role playing is where the learning really starts to make an impression.

Once a new technique is learned, or an already established skill needs more development, role playing is where the difference is made.

By actually using the skill or technique with another rep or sales trainer, a sales person is able to work out the kinks of giving an elevator pitch or simple objection handling.

Role playing allows them to practice not only the words to use but the facial and body expressions that go  along with those words.

Practicing the delivery of the words you use is just as important, and sometimes more so, then the actual words used.

Role playing such situations is where the impression of self confidence can be honed and developed.

Not to say that a sales rep doesn’t have self confidence but when tough questions are asked small mistakes can be made. Hesitation, spotty speech, and embolalias can be taken as a lack of confidence and seriously damage a sales situation.

However, if you were able to fire back with confidence and direct language, you will portray yourself as an expert in your field and industry.

I hope that helps you to decide what type(s) of training to use for your sales team. Be sure to let me know of any other types of training you can think of by commenting below.

~ Johnny Bravo

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Image courtesy of pakorn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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