5 unusual sales training techniques that actually work

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Your sales reps execute the deals that fuel your company’s profit line. In a very real sense, this makes your sales team the quarterback of your company, making the plays that put points on the board. And like any good quarterback, your sales reps need continual training to sharpen their skills and turn them into superstars.

New sales reps require onboarding and training, of course, but don’t overlook your existing team. Every sales rep has weaknesses that can be polished, and it never hurts to re-educate and re-energize your team. The biggest challenge, however, is that sales training can sometimes feel… a bit boring. Too often, sales managers try to cram their team full of new information and new strategies, but too much data can quickly become overwhelming.

Consider these five fresh and unique sales training tips that can help your team retain information, shift their perspective on the sales process, and improve their sales game.

1. Make your sales team use your company’s product or service

This first one seems obvious, but you might be surprised by how many salespeople talk a big game but haven’t actually incorporated your company’s products or service into their lives. “Your team won’t truly understand the pain points the customer is experiencing, how your product solves those problems and how to discuss the product on a deep level without being a daily active user,” notes Colin McIntosh, a member of the Forbes Business Development Council. McIntosh adds, “It’ll improve client conversations and result in good feedback for the product team, too.”

The very first day a new salesperson joins your team, send them home with your product or sign them up for your service and encourage them to spend time using it in their everyday lives.

2. Let your sales team lead the training

Your sales reps are out in the field every day. They know what their weaknesses are and what major challenges they face. So why not ask them what things they’d like to see addressed during training? Poll Everywhere allows you to create real-time surveys that your team members can answer directly from their phones or laptops. Give them a list of possible training topics to choose from or ask for freestyle feedback (which can be anonymous).

Soliciting feedback will allow you to customize your training to the specific needs of your team and show your reps that they have a voice in their own success.

3. Play some mind games

If closing sales was just about sticking to a magical script, anyone could be a wildly successful sales rep. There’s something different and special about your biggest closers, and it has nothing to do with a great script or presentation. In many cases, it comes down to belief.

When a sales rep really believes in themselves and goes into every call or meeting convinced that they can close the deal, more often than not, they can. According to the National Association of Sales Professionals, “What you believe is one of the biggest predictors of what you will accomplish.”

Help your sales team believe in themselves by walking them through powerful visualization techniques, offering up your favorite positive self-talk lines, and having each rep write an empowering motto for themselves. Here are four additional ways to think like an optimist from VeryWellMind.com.

4. Assign reps to interview coworkers

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It’s all about the sale, right? Wrong! A salesperson’s job isn’t to close a sale, it’s to solve the client’s problem. “Always focus on what your buyer wants to have happen,” writes The Brooks Group, a company specializing in sales training. “By overcomplicating the sales process or getting too focused on what you want to have happen instead of what the prospect wants to have happen, your chances of success drop to virtually zero.”

Instead of selling, the best salespeople listen. How can you help train your team to develop their active listening skills? How about assigning each sales rep to take a coworker from another department out to lunch? This training trick offers a double reward. Your sales rep can focus on active listening and learn more about how other departments in the company work, creating a much better understanding and working relationship between multiple departments.

5. Product/service lightning round quiz

It’s imperative that your sales reps have a deep working knowledge of all your products and services but handing them a tech manual isn’t going to get it done. Instead, make things interesting by turning knowledge acquisition into a competition.

With Poll Everywhere Competitions, it’s easy to do. Create a list of questions and then choose your competitors. Show a product/service/company question on the screen and see who chooses the correct answer. At the end of the game, offer a valuable prize to the winner. (Here’s a great guide to getting the most out of your Poll Everywhere Competitions.)

Trivia competitions are an excellent way to test new sales members and to incentivize existing sales reps to get up to speed on new product launches or upgraded service packages.

With these five unique sales training techniques in your back pocket, you can make your sales training fun, rewarding, and effective. Your sales reps will retain more information and finish training feeling like they can run every sales prospect into the end zone.

Learn more about how Poll Everywhere can enhance your next sales training.