Sales training seminars are necessary! For new salespeople who need to learn the basics and veterans who need to freshen up, investing in training is one of the best actions you can take to bolster your sales team’s performance.
According to McKinsey, high performers are as much as eight times more productive than other salespeople. This is astonishing to hear for most people, but it underscores why firms fall over themselves to hire even one or two sales superstars. The good news is that you can create stars using sales training, as long as the raw potential is there (hint: use sales aptitude assessments to identify these individuals) and the training has sufficient breadth and impact.
Here are a few ways to maximize the impact of your sales training seminars whether you hire an outside sales training firm to deliver your training or choose to deliver it yourself.
Sell your top internal influencers first
“Influencer: noun. a person or group that has the ability to influence the behavior or opinions of others.” Cambridge Dictionary.
Influencer marketing is increasingly on marketers’ radar thanks to social media. Instagrammers pose with products and in turn receive thousands of dollars per post. Why do brands pay these fees? Because influencers can change people’s minds and make them buy products or support causes they might not have paid attention to otherwise.
In a similar vein, the most influential sales people and managers in your company can determine the buy-in of the rest of the staff. If they are hesitant about sales training, that will filter through to the majority of the team members, affecting results. If these influencers express excitement and enthusiasm, then most of the salespeople will respond favorably.
Step one in “selling” the importance of sales training seminars to your staff is to sell them to the most influential members, who in turn will carry that message to the rest of the team and ensure an engaged group of trainees.
Incorporate a great keynote speaker
Spend a little more to hire a professional keynote speaker for your sales training seminars. The right one can wake up the brains of trainees so they become more receptive to the information which follows. He or she can also increase buy-in for any other corporate messages you want to deliver, being an authoritative and influential source.
Other benefits of hiring a great keynote speaker for your sales training seminars include:
· Ability to motivate. Great keynote speakers provoke change in an audience. Trainees can be challenged to do better, reinvigorated, and inspired to go after more business. This alone can more than cover the speaker’s fee.
· Entertainment value. Humorous or emotional delivery can increase the impact of a keynote and the messages delivered.
· Focus on business results. When you hire a keynote speaker who is also a sales and marketing expert, you stand a better chance of improving your revenue. This is in contrast to celebrity speakers which don’t often teach new skills applicable to real life.
· Leading edge information. A good keynote speaker will catch your trainees up to speed on the latest and greatest science and technological advances as it relates to your field or sales in general, such as emotional intelligence for sales success.
Address the emotional brain
Speaking of emotional intelligence, great keynote speakers know how to take advantage of emotions to deliver better content. Many do it instinctively through sheer charisma. And including the following elements also help wake up the emotional brain of the trainees. The point is to liven things up while aiding retention:
· Visuals: Graphs, videos, slides
· Stories: humorous anecdotes, case studies, etc.
· Interactivity: Q&A, role play (more below)
Sales training seminars are much more fun when you deliberately engage the old brain, and you can do this even when delivering heady information. Think of what the old brain responds to (excitement, “me” focus, strong contrast, beginning and end bias, imagery, emotion, etc.) and incorporate these for rave reviews and happy trainees.
Role play is hands down the best way for sales training seminars to make a direct impact. It forces trainees to “put up or shut up” and actually apply what they are learning in a realistic way.
Everyone suffers when trainees glibly nod their heads and smile through training but cannot sell their way out of wet paper bags once done. Role playing breaks this glibness by making students really confront and understand the material in order to solve real-life buying situations.
It’s not complicated to set up a role play session. You can simply have trainees partner up with whomever is sitting next to them , and give them an objection handler to try – back and forth.
· Stress that “we are here to learn together,” not to try to pass a test. No one is going to receive a failing grade, and making mistakes is okay. That is the reason for the role play.
· Whoever pretends to be the buyer should be realistic, and not too difficult a prospect.
· Only coach one thing at a time. So if you are practicing recognizing the buyer’s shift, don’t also hold the “seller” accountable for asking a closing question perfectly.
Our last tip is brief but important. Reinforcement after the fact is necessary or else trainees forget 90 percent of what they learn.
Reinforcement can take the form of an on-demand online reference library, video training, conference calls, one-on-one coaching, or advanced courses which build on earlier lessons.
You can also use training manuals and select specific tactics to role play for a few moments as part of weekly sales meetings.
The point is: the greater number of times you go over the material, the greater certainty results.
Sales training seminars, regardless of the source, are invaluable for any business—ensure you derive the greatest benefit by maximizing impact per the above.