No sales director would argue that improving on a constant basis the qualification level of sales staff is a must.
However, very often training sessions do not go that smoothly as planned: employees just sit them through waiting for the right moment to get away back to work.
The result: a complete waste of time, money and efforts and, moreover, an awfully negative impact on department productivity. Sales reps make mistake after mistake on meetings of vital importance without even realizing that.
So, how should the training sessions be organized in order to unlock the potential of your sales reps instead of burying down their talent?
Break Down Long Courses into 10-Minute Training Sessions
Microlearning remains a powerful trend which hugely impacts all corporate training. According to psychologists, a typical attention span lasts from 10 to 15 minutes. This is especially true for the sales staff who constantly thinks about the meetings to conduct, the clients to talk to, the documents to draft and the deals to close.
If they devote 10 minutes to a consistent exercise destined to train a certain skill, they will not worry about precious time being lost. On the contrary, a short thoroughly thought-out training session will leave them with the sense of productively spent 10-minutes break of their duties that resulted in enhanced skillset.
Replace Video Lectures with Dialogue Simulations
Talking heads. Boring talking heads. That’s how employees tend to describe video lectures assigned to them to watch as a business training course. Sales people need practice, not dull theory. Replacing video lectures with online sales simulations will put the sales reps into the lifelike circumstances as close to real as possible. They try, make mistakes and get instant feedback from a “naughty customer”. They learn essential phrases to reframe clients’ objections and feel much more confident when hearing them in a store or on the phone.
Record Your Sales Reps’ Pitches
When your sales managers train their skills, set a rule of recording their pitches. After that, a group head or a mentor can rewatch the pitches to give an individual feedback to each of the sales reps. Basing on these recommendations, the employees will clearly see their knowledge gaps and will fill them with every other recorded pitch. Self-assessment works great here as well. Sales people always experience an “aha” moment when seeing themselves through their customers’ eyes.
Apply Mentorship Approach
Mentoring your sales reps is not about controlling them or watching their every move. Once they make a mistake or need an advice there should be a person who will be experienced enough to figure out the roots of the mistakes and who will share the experience with them and guide them. The head of sales department, several senior sales managers or even co-peers can mentor each other in certain situations when skills of one of them complement the others’.
Add Gamification Elements into Training Sessions
The lack of attention is not always due to the fact that sales reps are overloaded with tasks and just do not have time for stuff like that. Very often the reason is the content and the way of presenting information. Add some game elements like scores, badges, and leaderboards to engage and motivate them. Competition attributes increase the level of personnel engagement without much effort from the side of mentors and group heads. Training will move from a must to a “want”.
When you decide to train your staff, ask yourself a question: Why you do that. If it’s just to tick the box and spend the education budget then you may just proceed with long notorious lectures on the sales theory. But if it’s the result that you need, then try to implement the above alterations to the training program and see for yourself how small changes can lead to great achievements.
You can make the first step to better sales training today. Get 5 online dialogue simulations for free! These short interactive courses will teach you and your colleagues how to reframe the most popular objections (“call me later”, “not interested”) and how to use “dirty tricks” to close a deal.