7 months ago
February 21, 2017

How to Conduct an Effective Sales Training Class

Here are tips to what makes for an effective sales training class and what doesn’t.

Claire McConnachie

While certainly there may be a ‘knack’ to selling which gives one individual a leg up over another in learning the ins and outs of the trade and executing what they’ve learned, a sales training class can benefit the natural salesman and the…not. It falls on the teacher of a sales training class to provide the right stimulus to give their students, talented and not, a jolt that will push their skills to a new level. We’ll discuss what makes for an effective sales training class and what doesn’t.

Know Your Audience

Few things can better determine your ability to teach a sales training class than your prior understanding of the students. Will you be teaching veterans looking for new tricks or beginners with only the barest grasp of the basics? Is your audience there by choice and thus eager to learn new tricks or because someone ordered them to? How old is the audience-young people are closer to their school days and thus have the ‘learning mindset’ still around, but older students have more life experience to reference.

So step one: learn what you can about your sales training class in advance. The more you know, the better you can tailor your class to achieve the next few goals we’ll lay out.

Keep Their Attention

While an eager student can learn adequately even with a boring delivery, a well-taught class seeks to do more than ‘adequate’ even with the most disinterested of students. To this end, you should apply what you know about the students and aim to draw them in to the lesson. Interaction counts for a lot here, as it’s much easier to zone out and lose track of the lesson if you aren’t involved in the process.

Ask questions. Use examples relevant to your students’ lives-this will not only help with attention; it will help with retention, as the student will immediately associate the information in the lesson with something in their life. As we recall information better the more connections it has to other information, this is a major plus.

Ways to keep a sales training class involved and attentive include exercises, team discussions, and games.

Lesson Content: Mindsets

A single sales training class isn’t going to reforge a dullard into the perfect salesperson, but it’s worth it to give your students an idea of what they should strive to be-personal traits play a big role in sales, such that even a master of every technique in the book might flub deals regularly if his head isn’t in the right place.

Research by Harvard Business School and other sources have found these traits in the top sellers across multiple industries; this might be a good list to go over in a sales training class:

  • Modest
  • Sense of responsibility
  • Achievement-oriented
  • Curious
  • Empathize with customers
  • Tough to discourage
  • Hard to embarrass

If you use this in a sales training class, make sure to phrase and stress the list as a goal to strive for, not an impediment. Some students will see such a list and think, “I’ll never be great” otherwise.

Lesson Content: Techniques

Sales techniques vary from industry to industry, but the method to teaching them in a sales training class remains the same: use strong, relevant examples that will stick with the student. Let them role-play out use of the technique, or discuss times they have used similar techniques in their sales-or in interpersonal relations!

If you can get your students to associate techniques with something they do or have done naturally in the past, not only will they understand and retain the lesson better, they will feel less self-conscious and natural actually using the technique.

In the end, an effective sales training class doesn’t try to grind precise how-to guides and sales scripts into the minds of students. Instead, it aims to plant seeds that grow into organic, natural technique and talent.

Claire McConnachie

Claire is a Western University graduate with a background in recruiting, sales and customer service. As a Recruitment Consultant, her goals are to place the best people in the right roles resulting in satisfaction for both the candidate and client.