Recent events have made online sales training more important than ever. Until the coronavirus pandemic is over, it remains the only form of meaningful personal sales training for many salespeople and executives across the country.
I recently recorded an episode for our Asher Sales Podcast called “Seven Elements of Crazy Good Online Sales Training” where I cover the keys to success as taught by the top “train the trainer” courses. It will give you a peek into the perspective of sales trainers and the tools we use to ensure students receive the most benefit possible from courses, whether online sales training or in face-to-face workshops.
For those who prefer reading, I have spelled out the major points below.
The keys to success for online sales training
1. Knowledgeable instructors. Trainers should be experts in the subjects and have sufficient real-world experience to be able to tie the data to actual application. They should be enthusiastic about the subject at hand, almost to the point of being fanatical about it!
2. Impart new knowledge. Good courses provide new information and skills. Or, they teach new and better ways of using existing skills and technology. For example, while social media has been around for a while, creative ways to use social media for sales is a welcome topic for most salespeople. Information which isn’t common knowledge but aid in production are the hallmarks of great training content.
3. Personal stories. Good trainers leverage stories masterfully. This includes stories of personal experience which illustrate the points being made and are very relatable to students. Even better is to have other students relate their own stories and form discussions around how to apply training content to these scenarios.
4. Interactive. When you make training interactive, you increase retention dramatically. This becomes challenging in online sales training as opposed to face to face training, but it can be accomplished using liberal Q&A periods, group discussions, virtual role-playing, quizzes, games, etc.
5. Repetition. Another factor in retention is repetition. A good rule of thumb is that each new important concept should be illustrated six times in six different ways. For example: 1) the principle is presented on screen or in the manual 2) the instructor mentions or describes the principle 3) the instructor gives examples 4) students watch a video on the concept in use 5) students discuss the principle 6) they role-play the skill. I am sure you can see how a sequence like this could really help data stick in the mind of a student.
6. Entertaining. Boring training programs cost companies a lot of money because students simply don’t retain the information as well. Trainers have to be engaging in order to capture attention and increase buy-in. This includes sharing appropriate jokes, quips, using visuals. The aforementioned interactivity is part of the entertainment factor as well – people prefer to be included in the learning process rather than be mere spectators.
7. Action items. 20% of the results of training come from just being there and taking the course. However, an estimated 80% come from developing action items and establishing new habits once the training is over. It’s important for each student to leave with a plan on how they will apply the training concepts in their jobs. Students should develop these action items and share these with the group because this greatly increases the probability of implementation.
The ASHER method
The biggest challenge with online training is maintaining interactivity. As mentioned previously, simply presenting the data alone is not enough, because retention will be poor. In order to address this, at ASHER we have structured our online sales training to tick off all seven of the keys to success delineated above, including interaction.
The first thing we do for our enrollees is host a two-hour sales training webinar via GoTo Meeting or similar platform. During this time we provide an overview of their upcoming training modules, cover the 5 Factors for Sales Success, review their APQs (personality assessments), and provide time for the first Q&A.
Students then proceed to the modules for instruction over the next two weeks. We maintain interactivity by allowing students to ask questions while they study the modules, and also interact with fellow students. Halfway through (after one week), we do another webinar where everyone comes together for a midway discussion and provide a chat box so students can interact together live. At the end of the two weeks, we do a final Q&A and a group discussion where everyone creates their action items.
For more information, please visit our online sales training page. We offer both public seminars on an ongoing basis, as well as private seminars for students from the same company, with volume discounts available.