Top sales training programs come in various guises. Some are 3-day affairs which you must travel to, while others come in DVD format with workbooks which allow you to train in your own conference room. Subject matters run the gamut from basic presentation skills to advanced neuro-linguistic programming theories.
Regardless of which program you eventually end up working with, it can be a challenge to keep business sales training relevant and fun.
So I decided to put together some tips which will help you do that. Some of them are from my own experience, and from my staff, while others were collected from a few other top sales training programs and sources around the web.
Tip #1: Group trainees based on skill level
Top salespeople would be best served by training with fellow experienced salespeople, as they have different concerns than the beginners.
And by keeping beginners together during your business sales training, you can spend time on their numerous questions, as the entire group is likely to get a benefit from the answers. If veterans are included, they will simply get bored and feel the session is a waste of time.
Tip #2: Role play and demonstrate
Having the attendees role play, either by partnering up with each other or by bringing a few up “on stage” to enact common scenarios, you have changed a potential snore-fest into a theatrical performance.
Role play is not only fun, but you also increase retention dramatically when you include some in your training sessions. Try it next time you do any training, or even at a sales meeting: the top sales training programs do.
Tip #3: Make learning continual
As stressed in a white paper by Sales Performance International called “The Future of Sales Training: Part III, The Sales Training Program of the Future,” top sales training programs focus on continual learning, rather than consider training a one-off affair.
The foundations of this are to first understand the sales process for buyers in your specific company, to determine the competencies needed for success. Then, build a long term, realistic training program with a comprehensive curriculum and periodic performance assessments.
By making learning a long-term affair, salespeople should understand that they are being prepared for the long haul, which should spur more buy-in.
Tip #4: Share recent “war stories”
It’s fun to dissect deals forensically. In other words, to pick apart where things went right and where things went wrong. Veteran salespeople love to share their sales war stories, and these can be used as training tools where the class gets involved in figuring out how things could have been done better, or tying in success to tools being taught on course.
Tip #5: Use videos
Videos can provide a welcome relief from a presenter’s voice and PowerPoint presentation. They can tell stories, introduce humor, or – in sophisticated operations with the budget to produce their own videos – be used as course material itself.
But you don’t have to spend money on a full-fledged production. Many sales topics are covered on YouTube by sales experts, so just dive right in and use what’s freely available. Here is one which we produced:
Tip #6: Invest in some personal coaching
Another way to increase the buy-in and relevance of top sales training programs is to utilize personal coaches to reinforce the training after it is over. Many salespeople find these coaching sessions to benot only productive, but also a great deal of fun.
I find that external coaches work better than internal ones. It’s kind of like an adolescent taking advice from a parent versus getting the same advice from a trusted peer – the latter is likely to be accepted more easily because there is less pressure from the “authority figures.”
Tip #7: Establish a library
One of the complaints I hear from salespeople is that they feel great right after attending top sales training programs, but they forget most of what was taught after just a few weeks.
Apart from using coaches, an excellent solution is to establish a library of learning with textbooks from past seminars, leading sales books, motivational books, and DVD training systems your salespeople can check out and borrow.
Another option is to place that library online using pdfs and streaming video. In this way, salespeople can restudy parts they are having issues with at their own leisure and using any mobile device they like.
Tip #8: Make the students teach
It is true that the best way to learn a subject thoroughly is to teach it. So, make some of your sales training students teach some of the material! This could be as simple as calling up volunteers to read aloud the next section, or could be as extensive as asking each student to prepare some kind of presentation on topics such as: overcoming sales objections, presentation tips, grooming tips – the sky’s the limit.
If they are reluctant to present, you might have a problem – especially if they are outside sales hunters who are expected to be outgoing and make frequents presentations. Maybe they should be in a different role.
In any case, many students enjoy presenting and getting the spotlight thrown on them for a few minutes, and this definitely makes their classmates pay more attention!
Top sales training programs use a variety of media and methods to keep attendees focused and engaged. Whether you are designing your own, in-house program, or prefer to outsource your training needs to experts, please consider using my company for some advice. Just write a quick note or call our toll-free number, and we will provide the answers you need to create a world-class training experience for your salesforce.