Variety in effective training - Sales Management

The experienced trainer recognizes the need to provide training information using a variety of means of communication (see Figure) in order to retain the attention and interest of participating trainees. Sales managers involved in presenting formal training courses are encouraged to use a multi-media approach.

Lectures

These are often an excellent method of involving an audience, if it is not too large. Asian audience’s attention span is limited it is usually advisable to change speakers every couple of hours, unless practical sessions can break the routine.

Demonstrations

The sales trainer should always be willing to demonstrate selling techniques and skills for his or her products in typical selling situations encountered during direct customer contact.

Role playing

Discussion, lectures, demonstrations, film sand so on are no substitute in sales training for role playing, where each trainee is involved in simulated sales situations. Multiple role plays of any situation or any uses of a technique are usually necessary to develop skill and confidence, and those trainees watching the role plays of their colleagues are also learning.

Closed circuit television in role playing

This is a most useful tool in sales training, as each trainee can see himself or herself in simulated selling situations, and learn the skill of self-evaluation as well as developing specific sales-related skills and confidence. Closed circuit videoing of role playing scenarios provides one of the most powerful training tools,providing feedback, illustrating behavior,and developing skill often at a much faster pace than could be accomplished without its use.

Films or videos

Many good sales training films are available for purchase or rent. Trainees are often more willing, initially, to comment on, or criticize, film or video role plays than live roles plays with colleagues. This medium can usefully communicate the development of sales objectives,use of sales presentation aids, presentation techniques, communicating features and benefits, questioning techniques, handling objections, closing techniques, body language and so on.

The disadvantage is that they are usually fairly short, and have to focus on few key messages designed for a multiplicity of selling situations. The skilled trainer can build on the film or video training message sin specific company-oriented role plays.

Variety-in-effective-sales-training

Feedback reviews and discussions

Feedback and discussion at each stage of training are essential tools in skill development and performance evaluation. If a positive attitude is to be developed feedback should not just be critical, but include a good proportion of praise and compliments.

Printed handouts

Participants in training programmers should have some materials to take from training sessions that provide a post-training reference point. Typical sales training manuals include coverage of essential information salespersons need on:

  • the company
  • the products
  • job descriptions and responsibilities
  • company personnel practices relating to the sales team operations
  • practical and comprehensive guide to all the sales administrative and related procedures
  • a summary of the sales skills and techniques covered in practical training.

The traditional training methods and media are now being supported by multi-media programmed texts suited to computer use. While these have a most useful role in training,they cannot substitute for role playing and practical experience.

Specialist training

Some product categories are very technical,and prolonged periods of product-oriented training may be necessary. Alternatively, it may be considered best to select persons withal high level of technical knowledge to become salespersons, and then to train the min professional selling. Whatever the scenario facing a company and sales manager, time devoted to training will reap dividends through increased sales and improved job performance and job satisfaction.

Use of training consultants

While larger companies may have internal resources to develop and run sales training to high standards, many smaller to mediums lack these human and financial resources. Such companies can, and should, still have a formal disciplined approach to sales training, but can do so making use of external consultants and training courses.

As ales manager should carefully evaluate the available courses or consultants to ensure the proposed approach to selling suits company products and markets. If particular training organization is favored that organization can usually develop to be run internally with a client team, ensuring that all the case situations and role plays do apply to the products, and giving participants more confidence that the training is relevant to their customers and markets.

Length of training courses

The length of training courses is clearly very flexible. They need to be long enough to impart knowledge and give time to practice and consolidate skills, but not so long that participants become bored with material and repetition. Many companies favor an approach of conducting training through several shorter modules of two to three days in length, with interim ‘on-the-job’ training where sales trainers accompany salesperson sin their field selling activities.

A typical induction training programmer

New recruits should experience a professional approach to their induction to the company. This demonstrates both the company care and interest in staff and the professionalism of the sales organization. Basic induction should cover:

  • company orientation
  • product knowledge
  • basic customer care, professional selling skills and administrative procedures.

Where a sales manager does not have the facilities or resources to place new recruits Mona formal induction and selling skills programmers soon as they join the company, atypical sales force induction programmed consist of the following.


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