Great sales training means reaching as many people as possible in ways they understand.
This is far easier said than done.
Some people tune out to a lecture, but can get fully engaged in a roleplay scenario. Other people need to get involved as players in acting things out or exchange thoughts out loud. Still others need all of the above and a beefy take-home to read more.
In any given sales training situation, the trainer will be standing in front of a crowd (or a screen) of people who come from different backgrounds, use different lingo, learn in different ways, and are paying attention at different levels.
Prep before sales training is an important component, and one I talked about here.
Today, I want to cover “what works & what doesn’t’” in sales training delivery.
This is too big an investment (time and money) to swing and miss. There are ways to maximize your return on that investment by appealing to every person.
Sales Training Delivery – Who, How, and What
There are three things that make sales training work (or not):
- The who
- The how
- The what
Who: The Presenter
The presenter is a big make or break it for sales training.
What makes sales training work is the credibility of the presenter.
Not everyone who’s great at sales will be great at teaching sales. But someone with 0 real-world sales experience is probably too out of touch to capture an audience. You want a trainer who can go off-script, grabbing from a variety of real life field situations and facilitating relatable problem-solving.
The stories are what’s going to stick. You want people with a sales leader background who have done it: they’ve won, they’ve lost, they can tell the stories. They’ve got the scars.
Ideally, you work with a sales training company that provides trainers who have it all: engaging presenter skills and street cred. That’s the magic combination.
There are some soft skills to delivering sales training: vulnerability and humor.
Presenters shouldn’t be bland and they shouldn’t appear as know-it-alls. Yes, they need more knowledge than the people they are presenting to.
But they also need to engender empathy: yes, sales can be hard. Yes, rejection sucks. Yes, we’ve all experienced X, Y, and Z. The presenter doesn’t have to have all of the answers. They can admit that. Vulnerability will go light years in building a connection.
Second, humor. Your reps don’t have the time or tolerance for bland and boring. They need some entertainment. Laughter unlocks endorphins. It puts people at ease and opens their minds to receiving new ideas. It simply makes learning easier.
Some people are witty. Other people can act humorously, doing impressions or earning laughs in a scenario replay. Use hilarious bad examples and fails. It doesn’t matter how you get there: make people loosen up and laugh multiple times during training.
How: Appealing to All Types of Learners
Next let’s look at the instructional design components of a sales training program.
Presenters have to remember that not everyone learns like you.
Think back to school. What teachers did you love? What teachers did you hate? Chase that thread. Start to get to the heart of how people learn.
Learning styles may align with VARK (Visual, Aural, Read/write, and Kinesthetic) and loosely fall into the typical three or four categories.
Appealing to Visual & Read/Write Learners — Visual learners don’t just learn by reading. If they did, you could send them the book and skip training altogether. Think about a variety of visual experiences: diagrams, images, videos, and, yes, worksheets/reading. Reinforce these in a bunch of ways, providing different visual representations that will become clues for visual memory.
Appealing to Auditory Learners — Auditory learners need to hear ideas, out loud, probably more than once. Do read alouds. Listen to recorded calls. Have them repeat back to you what you’re saying. Give them podcasts to listen to later. Help them process in a way they best retain information.
Kinesthetic — Kinesthetic learners aren’t the “impossible to reach” crowd. In fact, there are plenty of ways to use movement in sales training, and “movement” is a good way to think of it. Draw diagrams together, role play and act things out, line things up or rearrange items/chairs/printed collateral, have them raise/lower hands, move them around in the room. Be active.
Before you start your next session, look at what you’re going to do: are you taking care of every type of learner? Add, cut, do what you have to do to ensure you’re going to reach everyone.
What: Keep Things Flowing
What doesn’t work is a lecture-style, single-format sales training experience. There is almost no learner who has the attention span to listen to something for three hours and walk away with actionable insights. Knowledge itself isn’t going to change anyone.
Knowledge is a springboard for skill-building, and that’s where real transformation occurs.
Sales training needs to break out of the box. It needs to be unpredictable and allow for attendee-led pursuit of important ideas. We use polls, chats, gamification, breakout rooms, play movies, and keep things moving the whole time.
The mix of elements will ensure that no type of learner is left out. It will also provide as many possible “sticky points” for the brain to recall important concepts.
Those concepts must then be applied, tested out, and like a muscle in the gym, the skills will get stronger and stronger through practice.
The deal sealer in all of this, as you can guess, is ongoing reinforcement.
Ongoing effort is vital to ensuring that all of the sales training gets put to use in the real world.
The outcome in the real world is proof of whether or not sales training worked.
Sales Training That Works
If your company has tried the seminars, online courses, webinars, and other sales training resources with lackluster results, it’s time for a change.
Don’t just keep trying the same thing and expecting a different result.
Do check out the time-tested, research-backed, real-world proven sales training from ASLAN.
Connect with us anytime to learn all about it.