How to Build a World-Class Sales Training Program on a Budget

Most sales training is terrible. It doesn’t relate to the salespeople, and it’s outdated… if the company has any training material at all.

Back in the day, we used flip charts. Our training (like most US companies) went like this:

Introduction: Don’t stray from the script. This sales presentation is fail proof. Build some rapport, make sure the key decision maker is present, then use this flip chart.

Page 1: Our company was founded in…

Page 2: We are 20 million in sales!

Page 3: (More company history…)

Sure, company background builds credibility, but it’s no longer an effective tool. Why? You’re only talking about yourself. Today, making a sale means relating to clients — building a relationship so they can see how your product meets their needs.

Closing sales requires out-of-the-box thinking. That means it’s time for new sales training ideas to go with the new approaches it takes to sell.

Film REAL Salespeople Talking About REAL Opportunities

Interview your number-one salesperson via video. Then use their insight to teach others. Ask about recent opportunities and success so everyone learns how they’ve earned their spot as the top seller.

Then replicate this each time another sales person climbs to the top. Not only does it build your library, it also builds competition.

Stage Selling Opportunities

Want to pitch to a real client and end up with great sales training material? Hire prospects to play the part of a potential buyer.

Call a key prospect in your marketplace and say, “We’re creating training material for our reps and need to film a sales presentation. I know you’re with XYZ firm and aren’t interested in switching, but I’d like to offer you a $250 gift card if you’d be our client for the mock presentation.”

Sure, this technique may cost you a little, but think about the value of pitching to that prospect. In this scenario, you get a sales opportunity and training material. Even if you don’t need more sales training techniques, it’s a creative way to make a pitch.

Role Play

If you can’t find actual prospects to participate, hire actors or use salespeople for video role play. This works best stranger to stranger, so make sure you don’t use co-workers who know each other.

Provide the “client” with a persona. Give them a name, business details, and pain points.

Then choose a salesperson to make the presentation without knowing the client’s pain points, just like a real sales scenario.

Film their interaction and point out objections, pain points, and strategies for overcoming obstacles during a training.

Sales Program Essentials

You need more than one filmed scenario to fully train your salespeople. So, as you build your material, make sure to include these essentials.

Objections

Every organization has about 8-10 objections. Make sure your salespeople know how to handle each one. How? Ask your top 10-20 sales reps what objections they hear and how they respond to them. Then, either film these interviews or point out the objections in role play clips.

Video

Is video really necessary? Yes! It builds your library and allows people to study the details. I can train and role-play one on one, but a video is much more effective. It lets people study body language and facial expressions — repeatedly.

If you’re on a budget, use Google Hangouts to make the recording simple. All you need is a webcam.

Alternatively, you can make the video on your phone. No need to go hi-tech. Just record on your phone or in Google Hangouts, then put the footage to work.

Create for 2 Hours/Week

Sales managers, if you want to know how to develop a training program for your new hires too, start collecting these videos. It doesn’t have to take up much time. If you set aside two or three hours a week to build sales material, you’ll soon end up with an extensive resource for new hires.

You can use these videos in your hiring process. Require candidates to watch three hours of training material. Then have them “audition” for the sales role. If they don’t put in the work ahead of time, no need to waste your time.

Building a top-notch training program doesn’t require endless funds or time. With this plan, you’ll soon have the training resources you needed to equip your team with skills they’ve been missing!

How to Create Your Own Sales Training Portal With Podcasts

podcast sales training portal

A growing company creates problems. In sales, your team plays a central role in that growth – and in creating problems. As the business expands, no longer can you, the owner, spend time mentoring each employee. So how do you continue to provide quality training to all employees?  The answer is simple: a custom built sales training portal using podcasts.

I ran into this problem when I started expanding my wireless stores. I wanted to maintain the culture I had worked so hard to create, but couldn’t possibly meet with each sales rep. Enter my solution: A sales training portal. By creating a library of training podcasts, I gave each employee access to the information they needed to be successful in our company. Consequently, this also boosted our success as a whole.

Why Podcasts?

Podcasts are simple. All you need is a phone or computer that records audio, which comes standard on nearly every device. There’s no need for high-end video equipment, backdrops, and editing professionals. You don’t need “fancy” visuals that, in reality, never end up looking as good as you expected. Podcasts get to the point by allowing you to have a “conversation” of sorts with your salespeople.  

RelatedHow To Effectively Train Millennial Salespeople

Podcasts are also consistent. When you’re taking on new hires, you want to make sure they get access to all the information they need. When you train someone face-to-face, you may give a different spiel from one person to the next, or you may leave out an example that would have resonated with the trainee. Worse, you may delegate the training to someone else and they may change the content itself.

Instead, try this: Make a list of everything it takes for a person to be successful. Paint the story of a day in the life of a top salesperson in your company. Organize your topics, jotting down notes of stories you want to tell and examples you want to give. Then, record yourself explaining this “day in the life” piece on your computer. That recording then becomes your first training podcast for employees.

How Can You Use Podcasts in Your Sales Training Portal?

Podcasts give new hires access to your strategies while also giving current salespeople the chance to learn. You may want to make a podcast that talks about objections to the sale. I learned from Jack Daly that most products only have 10 objections. Successful salespeople handle those objections the same with every client.

For your second podcast, sit down with the top 2 sales reps in your company and ask them how they handle the top 10 objections. For example, when a client says the price is too high, how do they reply? Once you capture their responses on an audio file, your sales team can learn how to navigate those obstacles from the best.

As you record, use stories to your advantage. Podcasts aren’t the medium for technical information, but they work well for relationship selling advice. Stories allow you to show how sales theories work in the real world. Once people hear how you applied a strategy, they can better conceptualize how they might use it in their own sales.

Related: How To Hire Salespeople Within Your Budget

For example, your top salespeople recounting their “Top 10 Deals and How They Found Them” could make a great piece. Maybe they share stories of talking to someone at the gym or grocery that ended up in a sale, or maybe a spouse’s friend referred them a client. These examples connect the dots so green employees can see where prospects fit in their world.

When to Listen

The beauty of podcasts is that they live forever. They also can live just about anywhere. Once you save your audio recording like a podcast, your team can listen to it in the car, at the gym, and wherever else they end up in their daily lives. In fact, an ambitious new hire may listen to everything you have before their first day.

To encourage use of the sales training portal, create an email drip for new hires. Gradually feed them these files over their first few weeks to get them in the routine of listening. For general salesperson training, consider giving them a one-hour recording each week. Then, have sales managers give a quiz at the end of the week to hold them accountable.

We all value a “lifelong learner” in the workplace. Why not make that learning so much more accessible? We’re not talking about PowerPoints and conference rooms anymore. We’re dealing with presentations that keep your attention in the middle of rush hour.

Imagine a brand new employee coming into the office with 20 hours of audio training. Think about the culture of a place where people are striving to get better at their jobs even when they’re on the treadmill. That’s what a sales training portal can do for you.

FreeEbook

4 Great Podcast Episodes to Include in Your Onboarding Process

Of course, we won’t leave you without some solid recommendations on podcast episodes you can include in your onboarding. These episodes will teach your new hire a few tricks to set her on the path to success.

The Startup Chat #14: Cold Email

This amazingly actionable podcast hosted by Steli Efti (Founder of Close.io) and Hiten Shah (Founder of KISSmetrics and Crazy Egg) focuses mostly on startup topics, but that doesn’t mean you can’t glean useful insights from the very experienced hosts. In this episode of the podcast they talk about cold emailing leads and few people are as successful at this as Steli Efti.

Advanced Selling Podcast #321: Networking Tips For Salespeople

The Advanced Selling Podcast hosted by Bryan Neale and Bill Caskey has been going on for over 300 episodes without losing steam. Here’s one great episode on networking and we all could do with more of that – right?

Salesman.red Podcast: When is The Best Time to Close The Sale? With Tibor Shanto

Another excellent podcast stock-full of interviews with interesting guests. Listen to this episode on getting the timing right for closing the sale.

The Sales Evangelist #231: Learn to Use LinkedIn & Sell More

Leveraging your social media presence – and especially LinkedIn – can send your sales soaring. In this episode of the brilliant podcast “The Sales Evangelist” you’ll learn how.

 

How to Get Consistent Results From Your Sales Team with a Mastermind Group

sales mastermind group

Mastermind: a board game, a Marvel villain, and a business group. The business option may sound like the least interesting definition of the three, but a Mastermind group can change your sales game drastically. By gathering people with similar goals but different experiences, salespeople learn from each other. 

Benefits of a Mastermind Group

Learn From the Best

At its core, Mastermind groups allow you to hear the best experiences that netted the best results from your peers. You’ll spend part of your time each week sharing wins, losses, and challenges. In doing so, you can take note of what worked for others and apply that information to your own strategy.

Maybe someone shares how they sold 100 widgets to ABC Supply this week. Someone else asks, “How did you get ABC Supply as a customer?” As the salesman tells the story of how he captured the sale, you learn his pitch and how he acquires customers. For a salesperson, that’s your main goal: learning how to get more clients.

Overcome Objections

You also hear how the best salespeople answer objections. Jack Daly, a well-known sales coach, claims that most organizations have 10 objections to a sale. The top one or two salespeople usually have their answers to those objections down to a science.

In a Mastermind group, you can take the time to discuss the 10 objections and then pay attention to the answers of the top salespeople. They’ve learned to navigate those obstacles and can pass their tactics along in this type of setting.

Receive Encouragement

You’ll also gain encouragement from your peers in a Mastermind group. A sales schedule is tough. Even when losses start to weigh heavy, you have to keep your game face on. This type of group gives you an outlet for frustrations and disappointments. Meanwhile, it can also help you find workable solutions to the issues that are holding you back.

Related: 4 Tasks Your Salespeople Hate (And How to Automate Them)

As you share with your group, they start to identify the places where you need to improve. As you get to know each other better, they can point those areas out. Recognizing that someone else knows your shortcomings makes you want to change them. It holds you accountable to a higher performance standard.

Running a Mastermind Group

1. Meet Regularly, Schedule Consistently

The first step to organizing a worthwhile group is to schedule it regularly. Meet every week for eight weeks, then switch to monthly or bi-monthly meetings. These first eight weeks are essentially a crash course in getting to know everyone. Only once you build those relationships can you begin to help each other grow.

As you schedule these meetings, make the time, day, and location consistent. You have enough transition as a salesperson; There’s no need to overcomplicate the group by unnecessarily changing the when and where.

2. Study a Book

Choose a book to study. Jack Daly’s Hyper Sales Growth is a great place to start. In eight weeks, you can talk through it chapter by chapter. Books act as conversation starters for sharing stories about the real work of sales. You’ve shared the experience of reading the book, now you can share the experiences of your sales week.

FreeEbook

3. Limit Time and Number of Members

You’ll want to keep each meeting around an hour long. If it gets much longer, scheduling becomes an obstacle. In order to keep the meeting brief, there should only be 5-8 people in a group. The smaller size also allows more depth in the relationships.

Related: Time is Money: 4 Ways to Reduce Costs for Your Salespeople

4. Don’t Include Sales Managers

When management gets involved, salespeople feel less freedom to share. If they meet only with their peers, they have a safe platform for their gripes. The attendance of a manager stifles this.

We want salespeople to talk about these issues because group members can call out their peers. The longer they stay in the group, the more chance they have to learn and improve. If you’re a sales manager who wants to be involved, limit your involvement to scheduling the meetings. You can help make the groups happen, but you shouldn’t be in the group.

5. Have an Agenda

Each time you meet, make time for updates from each group member. Have each person share wins, losses, and challenges since the last time you met. What deals have they closed or successes have they had in their lives? What sales fell through? What updates do they have from previous challenges they’ve faced or deals they were working on?

These conversations open the door for learning and accountability. Members can see what worked for others and avoid the pitfalls. They can share what they’re going through and get honest feedback that will eventually help even if it hurts to hear.

How To Effectively Train Millennial Salespeople

Train Millennial Salespeople

Millennials have been the subject of limitless research over the past decade. Are they too entitled or tough to manage? How do we engage them without providing too much structure? Even though they’ll soon become a majority of the work place, the Millennial generation is still a mystery to many managers.

But don’t let this discourage you. Confident Millennials are ready to take on the world, and their assertive attitudes can certainly benefit your company. They require a new type of leadership, but with the right training they’ll quickly become a valuable asset to any sales team.

FreeEbook

Do You Really Have to Train Millennials Differently?

The short answer? Yes.

The traditional training methods don’t work as well with Millennials and the classroom setting doesn’t engage them. Millennials are used to multitasking. Presentations won’t hold their attention for long and when they’re bored a smartphone is the perfect distraction.

Many successful schools seem to have found a solution for this problem: online education. Students learn their own way and at their own pace (which is usually much faster than an hour-long lecture.) The studying and traditional learning is done at home, and the practice and “homework” is now completed at school.

But what does that education model look like for sales teams? Very similar, actually. Millennial salespeople learn on their own at home and perfect their skills when they come to work.

The possibilities are endless for online training materials. Give your salespeople recorded presentations to watch or successful cold calls to listen to. If you have a product-based business, let them study your products on their own.

Then, when they come to work, training consists of practicing their skills and receiving feedback from a sales coach. New salespeople get to use the techniques they’ve seen or heard, and perfect their sales presentation before their first meeting.

Bellhops is a great, and somewhat unique, example of putting this training model to work. After completing an online form, applicants gain access to online training videos before they’ve even spoken with a Bellhops team member.

Use Their Strengths to Your Advantage

According to this Visual.ly infographic, 78% of Millenials are using social media to outsell their peers. And they’re not just using new technologies, they’re twice as fast to adopt them than the rest of the world. So while those smartphones might be distracting during a lengthy presentation, digital tools like Google Drive, Evernote, and of course, Callproof, can help streamline the entire sales process.

You’re also missing a huge opportunity if your sales team isn’t selling on social media — but don’t leave it up to your team to utilize social networks. If your product can be sold via Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin, educate your salespeople on how to do it.

A good training platform is critical for every new hire, but especially multitasking, data-driven Millennials. They’re accustomed to digital materials and videos, so incorporate those into your training materials. It might not be traditional, but it’s engaging and effective.

And don’t overlook an important statistic from that Visual.ly infographic: the amount of commitment a Millennial will show to your company. They’ll live and breathe your product, so take advantage of that dedication and train them to sell.

Hiring Tips For The Salesperson Interview Process

callproof hiring tips salesperson interview

Finding good salespeople is a difficult task. Finding good salespeople without a specific goal in mind is almost impossible.

Before you can hire the right salesperson, you have to know what you’re looking for. Don’t waste time hiring the wrong person because of a lack of direction. You need a target. Then, when you do hire someone, you can confidently spend resources on training and ensure a return on investment.

Which kind of salesperson do you need?

You know you need a target, but what should you aim for? To get the right salesperson in place, you must first know if you want a farmer or a hunter.

  • Hunters are constantly pounding the pavement, looking for new “game.” If your salespeople need to knock on doors and gather prospects, day in and day out,  you want a hunter.
  • Farmers have less of an attacking nature and more of a nurturing spirit. They often care for a few select, high-end clients. They spend their time dealing with large corporate clients and maintain a close relationship with those organizations.

Once you’ve determined the type of salesperson you’re looking for, use that information to direct your selection process and evaluate the applicants.

FreeEbook

Transaction Volume

Transaction volume is a useful item to check when vetting a new salesperson. Not only does it give you an idea of the type of salesperson they are, it also lets you know what they’re capable of. If a person has had success with larger volumes of transactions, there’s a good chance he’ll duplicate that success within your company. It’s hard to prove a high transactional value so this factor doesn’t always hold entirely true, but there’s a way to prove whether they have already cut their teeth, and if they’re resume is true or not — through this innovative interview process.

The Interview

To get the right candidate in place you need to successfully navigate the salesperson interview process. I highly recommend an extended interview program. Ditch the one-hour sit-down meeting. Instead, talk to potential candidates and select a team that will move forward to the next step: a two-week trial run.

During the extended interview, or trial run, put these candidates through the paces. Give them a list of businesses to visit. Watch them do prospecting in action. Don’t invest much in showing them the ropes or training. What you’re looking for is their ability to “hunt” and endurance for a high volume of transactions.

How do you know who’s successful and worth hiring? The good ones will be able to snag a meeting with the sales manager.

Another tip: Don’t waste good prospects on this group. Send them on assignment to low-quality prospects from which you don’t expect to generate business. Once you’ve identified who has the drive and motivation to ensure, you can start investing in training.

Don’t waste your valuable resources training subpar salespeople. Save yourself time, money, and lots of headaches with a carefully vetted hiring and interview process, and you can be sure that your salespeople have what it takes to succeed.

CallProof-free-trial2

FreeEbook