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Sales Training as Edu-tainment

Sales Training as Edu-tainment

By this point — especially after more than a year of Zooms — we’re all familiar with the core tenets of a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad business meeting.

The speaker isn’t engaging; the information isn’t relevant to your role or just isn’t all that insightful; it lasts for way, way, way, way, way too long. In short, the meeting’s just plain boring, a recipe for disaster whether you’re a CEO addressing the rest of your team or a salesperson hoping to keep potential clients on the hook.

If your job involves sales training, though, it’s arguably even more important to make sure your audience is interested in what you have to say. After all, salespersons are used to business meetings — why should they listen to you, of all people? Here are a few tips to keep your sales training light, fun and engaging.

Strike the right tone — it’s a balance

Think back and remember the oldest college professor you had: tiny white tuft of hair, glasses askew, ragged collared shirt, moved at a snail’s pace. He probably stumbled into class at the last possible minute, pile of papers in hand, before standing motionless at the front of the room and yammering on about Roman military history until you fell asleep in the front row.

You’ll want to avoid that.

That’s pretty obvious, but it brings up an important point about tone, and how to strike the right one. Nobody’s riveted by the fuddy-duddy professor, but conversely, maybe you don’t have to turn into the world’s biggest cheerleader when you’re giving a presentation on consultative selling. At the end of the day, it’s a business presentation, not a motivational speech or a standup routine. Keep it fun, keep it energetic, but don’t overdo it.

Or then again, maybe you can be the world’s biggest cheerleader if that’s your actual personality. The most important thing is to be genuine; people respect honesty, and if you’re trying to be someone you’re not, they’ll be able to tell. So strike a tone that feels true to both you and the presentation you’re giving.

Make it active and participatory

Maybe the worst part of that old geezer’s lectures was that for the entirety of class time, he always managed to just keep barreling ahead — no breaks, no pauses, no time for questions.

That’s another thing you’ll want to avoid. Instead, try to make your audience feel like they’re a part of the presentation. Don’t just give them time to ask questions; ask questions yourself throughout the process, making sure they understand and are up to speed. (If you’re still holding lots of virtual meetings, this part is doubly important. Check out our blog post on 3 Tips for Returning to the New Normal for more ideas.

Another thing to consider: be adaptable. Maybe, for example, your audience has a lunch break in five minutes, but you still have 15 minutes’ worth of material to get through. Is there a way to condense that information in a way that makes sense? Is what you have to say important and compelling enough to hold everyone’s attention, or will they just be thinking about their turkey sub? Any kind of performance is a two-way street, so make sure you’re flexible and reading your audience for clues on how to proceed with your presentation.

Make it fun

So you’ve laid out all the information you think your audience needs in an active, participation-friendly way. How do you hammer those lessons home?

Games, of course.

Ultimately, sales isn’t something you can just sit in a room and think about. It’s a craft, something you have to work at in real life in order to improve. Sales training games can be a fun and interactive way to have your clients utilize the skills you’ve just taught them, and figure out how to transfer those skills into the actual marketplace.

If you’re not familiar with many fun sales exercises, you might not know where to start. Luckily, there are plenty of great resources for sales training games — just another way to make your sales training a little more fun and effective for all involved.

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