When you hear “sales training,” you probably think of an offsite retreat. You and your team are sitting in a conference room somewhere for one or two days learning new processes, techniques, and methods for selling. You’re also hearing from product managers, the marketing team, and sales leadership.
This type of sales training is important! It provides an opportunity for breakthroughs, and the shared experience helps foster a healthy team culture. Sales training shouldn’t be limited to these infrequent events, however – it should be ongoing.
Without ongoing sales training, the team’s skills can stagnate. Experienced team members may go into a rut, sticking to a few tried and true methods. Newer or more junior members of the team may have a limited set of information and techniques, resulting in a slower ramp period.
One of the best ways to provide sales training on an ongoing basis is in your regularly scheduled sales team meetings.
Below, we’ve identified six sales training ideas to include in your sales team meetings, as well as some exercises you can do with your team in the meetings.
1. Practice 30-Second Commercials
Years ago, a client of ours did an exercise. They had each of their client-facing team members (about 20 people) record an introduction of the company. When they played the video back to the team, they were shocked to realize every single person introduced the company differently. While some variation was simply due to personal language choices, other introductions were quite off base – talking about old strategies and using outdated messaging.
Having a consistent 30-second commercial allows you to ensure that prospects are hearing the same message, which is aligned with your company’s strategy.
This exercise can be covered in one sales meeting or split into two. First, work with your team to develop a series of 30-second commercials targeted to your key categories of prospects. Click here to learn about how to develop these 30-second commercials and what to include.
Now…practice, practice, practice! You should role practice your 30-second commercials until they sound comfortable and conversational. Remember, nothing ever sounds the same in conversation as it reads on the page.
2. Share Success Stories
Stories are an incredibly powerful tool in selling, and when you are part of a team, you can leverage each other’s stories in conversations with prospects and clients.
Ensure that you are consistently sharing success stories in your sales team meetings. Solicit stories from the team, and assign each team member a date to share a success story of their own.
Remember, a strong sales success story will include the following three elements:
- The problem your client faced
- The solution you provided
- The business impact attributable to your solution – both direct and indirect
Provide constructive feedback to the team as they share their stories.
A second way to include success stories in sales training is to ask team members to share key success stories that are not their own – this ensures that the team is learning the important stories that demonstrate your value. Clients of ours have the “jam jar story” and the “Christmas party story,” which everyone on the team can tell.
One final approach for including success stories in your sales meetings is to put your team on the spot. Introduce a scenario with a prospective customer and ask the team to identify a success story that would help this prospect discover that you can provide a solution to their problems.
3. Share and Practice Common Objections & Pushbacks
As your team is talking to prospects and customers, they’re probably hearing the same objections over and over again. One of your team members probably knows exactly what to say if a prospect says your price is too high, while another can expertly communicate your value when prospects are concerned you are too small.
A solid response to a challenging objection can establish credibility and authority on behalf of your company, increasing the chance of a successful close. Sharing these best-practice pushbacks to common objections helps everyone on the team improve.
Work with your team to brainstorm the most common objections you hear; then develop a list of best-practice pushbacks. You may want to identify more than one pushback for each objection. Practice handling objections within the team so each team member is comfortable when speaking to prospects.
4. Practice Leaving Compelling Voicemails
Be honest – do you check your voicemail? How often do you listen to a message and follow up?
Leaving compelling voicemails is one of the most difficult basic selling skills. It’s a challenge to be intriguing, clear, and concise. This is a great skill to practice in your sales team meetings!
Have the team take turns sharing their voicemail scripts. Record the best scripts in the Sales PlayBook for the team to use on an ongoing basis, and consider rewarding the team member who comes up with the best script.
5. Share a Current Article or Video
Valuable new content is produced on a daily basis, and your team may not be reading it. While you don’t want them spending all of their time reading blogs and brushing up on their selling skills, it is important to stay on top of new methods and trends.
Your sales team meetings are a great time to review the best new thoughts in selling in your industry. Instead of taking full responsibility for identifying and sharing topics, assign members of your team to present each week. This gives them the opportunity to share with their peers, and you’ll discover more diverse topics than you’d find on your own.
6. Learn from Other Departments
One of the most valuable parts of a sales training retreat is often the interaction with other departments. Sales get a chance to hear from marketing, the product team, and finance. All too often, this is a rare opportunity.
On a regular basis, invite team members from other departments to participate in your sales team meetings, either by providing training or to answer questions from sales. Ask your team what they’d most like to learn and find the best resource within your organization to share it.
One of the most constant complaints we hear from both salespeople and sales managers is that they hate their sales team meetings. They’re boring, going into detail about everyone’s opportunities, or they’re tedious, with only the manager talking.
Instead of a traditional sales team meeting, focus on incorporating opportunities for growth and teambuilding. Sales training is something you should include in every meeting!
Remember, you don’t have to cover all of these ideas in one meeting. Alternate according to your team’s needs, or develop a consistent rotating schedule. Remember that reinforcing training concepts is the most important thing you can do to make sure you get the ROI on your training investment.
Try these sales training ideas out and let us know what’s working for you!