Sales Training Ideas That Work

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Now more than ever it is important to have some sales training ideas to engage the remote or home based salesperson.  The acquisition of new customers and developing deeper relationships with existing customers has become more difficult. Salespeople now have to figure out how they can adapt to rapidly changing selling conditions, and sales training must match those challenges.

The onus is on sales leadership, sales enablement and coaching to meet this challenge. So, they need training that develops not only a salespersons hard selling skills, but their soft selling skills, digital engagement, and the more emotional skills. There is no time to waste, the world is moving faster and faster, more disruption is likely and the sales environment we all once knew is probably never going to return.

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Planning out and implementing sales training ideas that resonate with the sales team to boost employee engagement is going to be critical. Every company will need to provide training to help them improve their return on sales effort (ROSE) and become more effective salespeople. Selling is a profession where skills can be learned and improved all the time. It is important to develop a sales training program that helps every salesperson to deliver on their potential. Salespeople need constant access to sales training especially when they are new, remote, or just to get to the next level. In this article, we will introduce you to some sales training ideas to help improve the salespersons effort and help them meet their goals.

The Importance of Sales Training.

A motivated, engaged, and well-trained sales team will be committed to bringing the company’s message to a wider base of customers. They will be better able to identify real opportunities that convert into profitable sales. Sales training not only improves the daily activity of a salesperson, but the provision of ongoing training tells the salesperson the company cares and wants them to do well. The delivery of sales training will help to:

  • Develop a wide range of hard and soft sales skills.
  • Create more real and viable sales opportunities.
  • Build credibility with prospects and customers.
  • Have deeper sales conversations
  • Make the salesperson feel valued.
  • Boost employee retention rates.
  • Deliver more profitable revenue.

Sales Training Ideas to Try

Match Training to the Buyer Why’s

We need to teach salespeople to see the sales process from the buyer’s perspective. When the sales team think in terms of what their customers want and why a sales conversation will be successful, they can engage with customers and spark their interest more easily.

The buyer why’s are the series of questions any customer will ask themselves if they consider opening up a sales conversation and as they go through the sales process. Research has proven that the Buyer Why’s are the steps the brain goes through in making decisions. If, as we go through them, we fail to get commitment to any of them the sale will break down.

Can the salesperson answer “Why Listen”, the first question a prospect or customer will ask? Why listen means the value proposition is matched to the research which provides real credibility as to why the salesperson is contacting them. Then they need to be able to answer, “Why Care”, what information or positioning are they using to get the customer to yield and open up to a two way dialog.

Next the customer moves to the “Why Change”, meaning the salesperson must be able to trigger or motivate the customer into taking action. The final why’s of “Why You” and “Why Now” are the sales elements covering your product or service, company, ROI, etc.

This sales training idea can be simply implemented by having a coach or colleague roleplay and asking the salesperson the 5 why’s.

Use Micro-Learning

The use of video based micro-learning is growing rapidly because as humans we absorb information more efficiently when it is broken into small pieces. Video based learning works great for developing a broad range of sales skills whether that is the hard selling skills or the softer skills such as communication or empathy.  Micro learning works because it shows the salesperson in easily digestible lessons what they are supposed to do in any given situation. The salesperson can then replicate what is shown in the video to quickly learn or relearn a sales skill.

This method of sales training ideas gives the sales team 24/7 access to lessons and content. This allows them to watch a video before using the skill, re-watch the video after actually using it in a sales conversation or even apply the sales skill on the fly as the video plays on their screen.

This makes video-based sales skills learning perfect for “Always On Learning”.

Micro-learning is the future of remote sales training. Selling today is already complicated enough. Learning new sales skills should be simple.

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Teach Delivering Value and Presentation Skills

Every salesperson needs the skill to deliver personalized value to the customer and presenting this in a commanding way. They need to know how to keep the buyer engaged in the process as they go through each phase of the selling activity. They need to be able to spot signs of interest or disinterest in the buyer and adjust how they present value accordingly.

Then, formal, or informal presentations should be personalized to that customers’ specific needs, challenges, and pain points. The key to successful presentations is this:  Make the presentations conversations. Present solutions but engage others throughout with questions and interactions.

Effective communication depends on controlling verbal, vocal, and visual messages—the three V’s of communication.

For communication to be credible, the three V’s need to be aligned — all saying the same message. When messages are mixed, the audience can become confused, irritated, and disbelieving.

Provide the salesperson with real stories. Give them customer stories that they can share with buyers. That way, if a buyer mentions a specific goal, you can tell them how a client of yours achieved that goal. Storytelling makes any presentation more engaging.

Hold mock value proposition competitions.  Create a customer profile or buyer persona with certain characteristics. Have them create a three to five line value proposition and then deliver it to an internal peer group. After each pitch, you can give feedback.

Have them craft their own value presentations. Get them to imagine they are presenting to a three person buying group, each with different titles and interests. Now the salesperson needs to craft what is the purpose of the presentation, the outcome they are expecting, prepare the details of the presentation, create, and design supporting points, prepare transitions, overviews, summaries, compelling openers, and a recommend a closing call to action.

Encourage them to be Curious and Adaptive.

Sales training ideas should try to ignite excitement for the sales team. Rote sales pitches and means of selling are dead. Salespeople need to be curious about business, how the world works, what triggers buying, the psychology of selling, and how to spark curiosity in their customers.

Adaptive selling is driven through curiosity.

Help them form a mindset similar to that of a psychologist, who is excited about how the human mind works. The ability to ask deep discovery questions to help the customer to uncover their own pain. Then to adapt their sales conversation so it matches any uncovered needs. Salespeople need to be fascinated by how any business works and really curious to know their industry.

Have a sense of curiosity will drive the salesperson to ask genuine questions, ones that get the customer to care which in turn will help develop a mutually beneficial conversation. Genuine curiosity is a soft skill and is a building block to forming relationships.

A curious mind is fertile ground for learning. We are what we repeatedly do. On that point, make sure the sales training program covers more than just hard selling insights.

Teach them Soft Sales Skills.

So, your sales training ideas need something else for salespeople to succeed in selling. No matter how advanced their technical and hard selling skills are, you’ll need soft skills, too.

Because what the modern buyer expects from salespeople is largely linked to emotional intelligence, communication, and critical thinking. Salespeople need to have empathy, confidence, problem solving and critical thinking skills etc.

Unfortunately, many salespeople often fail to recognize that buyers are mentally questioning them with back of the mind questions. Or, if they do realize that buyers have these doubts, many salespeople try (too hard) to compensate with smooth-talking, charm offensives. They think they can replace those doubts with features or benefits or with a case study.

It is often said that hard sales skills will get you in front of a customer, but you need soft sales skills to win over and keep the customer.

In fact, research shows that salespeople tend to exaggerate most customers’ needs and misjudge the importance of other important selection criteria. This can lead to tone-deaf sales messages and missed new business opportunities.

Soft selling skills is about staying in contact with clients more frequently, educating them, not selling to them. Listening to them, not telling them. Do what it takes to be perceived as a Visible Expert—a respected subject matter expert and trusted advisor.

Delivering sales training shouldn’t be a chore

There are now many options on how to deliver sales training, from instructor lead training, online sales training, blended learning etc. There are many tools to create a sales training program to mention in this article.  You can buy in ready made training materials you can customized, develop your own from scratch, create videos for free sales training, hire in experts or even get someone to write a program for you.

Whichever method you opt for, the most important thing is to ensure that salespeople receive regular, updated, relevant and fun training. Maybe that’s the best sales training idea.

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