As the one responsible for your company's training, you are continually looking for more efficient and effective ways to training your sales reps. You are familiar with spaced learning and have looked at results from spaced learning to know it is an excellent method for sales training.
You even psyched yourself up enough to consider updating the way sales training is conducted in your company.
The big question left in your mind?
How to apply spaced learning when training sales reps. There are three simple tips to help incorporate spaced learning to your arsenal of training techniques.
The Importance Of Employee Training
Thankfully, training and development is on the rise within companies. Inside and outside the sales world, corporations are beginning to realize the importance of employee training and are continuing to invest in this field.
Formal and informal training increases employee confidence, retention, and allows employees to experience career growth. Spaced learning is one of the most effective tools to implement in training.
Begin With The End In Mind
What separates good instruction from poor instruction?
Well, many things do, but one key element is in the planning. Quality instructors intentionally think about the desired results of training and plan accordingly.
Anyone who travels knows the importance of planning ahead to find the best route to the destination.
To paraphrase author Lewis Carroll, "If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there." It is imperative that sales training is more purposeful than haphazard wandering.
Without knowing where you are going, you will waste company time and money searching for the destination, hoping to get to the right place. By knowing your destination, you can effectively plan for the journey.
Training Is A Long-Term Investment
Investors dabbling in stocks know it takes time to get a good ROI.
Just like investing on Wall Street, it is important for L&D executives to plan long-term goals. Thinking about the next hot topic or sales trend to pass down to the team via training is not the best use of company resources.
Bill Zipp gives great insight into applying spaced learning into training.
It takes time and intentional planning to execute spaced learning but in the end, it will maximize the learning potential of your sales reps. If you are looking for successful long-term training that is cost-effective, use the tools you already have at your disposal.
The Resources Area Already There
Bill Zipp goes on to explain that there are seasoned sales reps and sales managers within your company that can be utilized for in-house training.
Instead of bringing in a motivational speaker to tell you sales reps how selling is done, take advantage of the resources your company already has. This, my friend, is a good financial decision that will please upper management.
Training is a lifestyle to be lived, not an event waiting to happen.
Veteran sales reps and managers are able to teach short training sessions weekly or monthly. Remember, these are short sessions that reinforce previous teachings while sharing new information.
Using current employees to implement spaced learning gives training departments the opportunity to deliver small doses of training throughout the year with limited costs. In addition, it fosters a community of sharing and camaraderie within the sales force.
Times have changed and CLOs need to be creative in how they run their training department efficiently and effectively.
Technology: A Great Tool For Spaced Learning
In addition to using human resources to incorporate spaced learning into your L&D department, technology is a powerful tool that must be utilized when training sales reps. Videos are one way to reinforce spaced learning in training.
We are not talking about the old-school VHS tapes here.
Today's videos are online and available for the sales reps to quickly view at their convenience. Short training sessions give succinct information that can be implemented and repeated as necessary.
When writing in forbes.com about L&D spending, Josh Bersin shares that technology is revolutionizing the market.
The research shows an explosive growth in technology tools to train people today. Self-authored video, online communication channels, virtual learning, and MOOCs (Coursera, Udacity, Udemy, edX,...) are all growing rapidly as training tools. People still need formal classroom education, but this is now less than half the total "hours" people consume in training around the world. And among the highly advanced companies, as much as 18% of all training is now delivered through mobile devices.
Technology allows CLOs to deliver training through video games and apps.
With a high number of Millennials saturating the workforce, it is important to realize that technology is a tool that they have grown up with and is the language they speak. It is only natural to capitalize on the familiarity of technology and use it during training.
The gamification of learning is a shift in corporate training that is sure to be around for a long time.
Now That You Know, It Is Time For Action
If training managers are serious about making a positive impact on the long-term effectiveness of their training, spaced learning is a proven method.
Here is your three-step action plan:
Enjoy the journey as you train your sales reps.
And below is a webinar transcript showing the best practices in training sales reps.
Spaced Learning and Sales Behaviors
Male: First in today's lineup is Tom Hopkins. Tom has earned the reputation of being America's number one how-to sales trainer. Over five million salespeople, entrepreneurs and sales managers on five continents have benefitted from his live training events. He's perfected his selling skills during his eight-year real estate career in which he received numerous awards. In his last year selling real estate, he sold 365 homes. That's an average of one every day, folks, something that was unheard of at the time and has rarely been matched even today. Since that time, he's developed and customized his proven effective selling skills for over 250 industries. He's authored 18 books on the subjects of selling and success and over 2.9 million copies of those books have been read by sales pros the world over. He's also the 2013 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Best-Selling Authors. Tom has dedicated his life to helping sales and marketing professionals improve their communication skills and increase sales revenues. So let's give an enthusiastic welcome to Mr. Tom Hopkins.
Tom: Hello, I'm Tom Hopkins. Welcome to my home here in Scottsdale, Arizona and I'm thrilled on the opportunity to share some ideas with you on my very favorite subject. In fact, people often ask me as I travel teaching and training and motivating people in the field of sales, "You know, Tom, what makes your company different than all the other companies that do sales training, motivation and so forth?" and I would have to say that the real difference is we teach the true nitty-gritty of the most important art form, in my opinion, in selling which is the art of closing the sale and that's what I want to cover with you today. Now, you might already know plenty of techniques for prospecting, handling objections but if you can't close, you're like a football team that can't sustain a drive long enough to score and if you don't love the closing process now, please, start falling in love with it because this is where the real money is. Now, let's start off by talking about what I call the ABCs of closing and ABC stands for Always Be Closing. In fact, many people, I think, have a misunderstanding. They feel that the closing of the sale starts at the end of whatever the process it be, presenting, giving information, demonstration and I totally believe that in essence, the closing of the sale begins the moment you meet someone, the moment that you start verbally speaking and talking, the things you do visually and please realize this. This is so important that you, in the beginning, are the product meaning they must accept you. And if you were to stop me right now on an elevator and you said, "Tom, I've been reading your books. I recognize you from your DVDs," and you said to me, "Tom, hey, I got you alone in an elevator. What is the real secret of being great at closing lots of sales?" I would say, "Quit thinking about selling and work harder on yourself than you do on your job to become a person that they like and trust and want to listen to you." See that is the beginning of it.
They have to like you. They have to trust you and most people in the world start off with a lack of trust of the salesperson. So we must do things, say things that create the like, the trust and then they have to move to want to hear more. See in other words, most people have to listen to you if you go into their home, you go into their office, you got an appointment, got the decision-maker in front of you. Yes, they have to listen to you but when you're really good at this art form, it moves from a have-to-listen to want-to-listen to where in other words, you're coming across as an educator not only educating but motivating. You're having fun with it. You see, I think all these things make up what you need to do to be great at closing. So I'm going to give you first of all, seven little steps that we start with and the very first is always have your closing materials ready meaning, many people feel that they have to literally have the presentation at desk or an office. In my career, I have made sales out I was in Hawaii. I was laying on the beach for a week and I met this couple and they became friends with my wife and I and sure enough, I ended up finding an investment property for them and it would have never happened had I not had my closing materials ready or I could, in essence, show them how they could invest in the property. We had such a nice relationship and I closed the transaction on the beach in Hawaii while I had my closing materials ready.
Also, make sure that any forms that you do use are sharp and clean and I call this working clean. It's the second thing you must do. If you pull out a form that's dog-eared, has food on it, believe me. They will feel like you must not be doing real well. Number three, get your closing materials out early. Now I've had a philosophy all my life, that one of the things that scares people is called a jerky transition and that means you do a physical or a verbal move that's not smooth. Now opening up a briefcase scares people and I know most of you have all of your closing materials in some type of case. Get the materials out early. Also, number four, find your figures and your math easily by using a calculator. People believe what's in a calculator. Most of you based on some of the closest I'll be teaching you should maybe consider getting the big numbers calculator that prints out a beautiful digital about that big so people across the desk or table can easily see it. Now number five, close with casual confidence. You cannot be different when you start to close the sale. It's got to be flowing. Then of course, number six, use the planned pause. You will have people mentally drift away from you at the presentation table. They may mentally go out into the other room for something that they're thinking about. Whenever you feel they're mentally leaving you, that's what I want you to do. Do nice planned pause and they will come right back in to your presentation and you also, step number seven, want to use test or trial closes.
Now, a test or trial close is a little question you ask that's not blatant but tests how they feel about going further. I can't tell you the number of times that I've just smiled after I've given the facts, the figures and said, "How are you feeling about all this so far? See I didn't ask you to purchase. I want to know how you feel about what we're discussing," and that will open them up. "Well, we feel pretty good about it. We still have some questions," or you may want to use what we call an alternate advance test close. I've got a couple here that I just love. Listen to this one. "Helen, would you prefer to have your electronic bank transfers made on the tenth or the fifteenth?" See that's an alternate. She can't yes or no. Pick ten. Pick fifteen. Either one, I'm closing transaction or you might even try this. "Should we set a delivery date on the first or the fifteenth?" They can't say yes or no. Pick one of the alternates, first or fifteenth or you might try this test close. We call this the porcupine test close. What that basically means is when they ask this type of question, pretend they threw a porcupine. Ooh! An awful, ugly porcupine. I'm here in the desert. We have lots of them. You wouldn't want a porcupine in your lap but if they throw you this question, throw it back. They might say, "Tom, does this system come with the speakers pictured on the brochure?" Well, it's tempting to give them a yes but you didn't close. Answer it with a question, "Are the speakers pictured the ones you'd like to have?" When they say yes, they in essence bought the speakers but the entire system must come with them. Ain't that fun? Or you might try test close number three. We call this the erroneous conclusion test close.
It's really a built-in air, a mistake you say but when they correct you in essence, they've bought. For example, you might say, "Now, you said your mother's coming on the fifteenth, right?" And of course, they say, "Oh no, no, no, Tom. It's on the tenth." "Oh, thank you. Let me make a note of that." Well, that is called the erroneous conclusion, a built-in mistake. When they correct you, hotdog! They've bought. Here's test close number four as I mentioned to you earlier. I want you to hear it again. "Does all this make sense and how are you feeling about it?" or as simple as "How are you feeling about all this so far?" Oh, I love that little question. I've asked it thousands and thousands of times during my eight years of helping people say yes to investing in a home which was the background I had. Now, we start off in what we call power closing with what we call the basic oral close and of course, it can be as simple as "Would you like to take care of this with a check or with a credit card?" That is an oral close. They make a decision and you close. Or, "By the way John, what purchase order number would be assigned to this requisition?" Now they give you the purchase order number. You make a note of it and close the transaction. Well, many of you will be using what we call the basic written close also known as seven words, "let me make a note of that" and this is something that you would say when they respond favorably to any of your final or test closing questions. Of course, I used to just love it when suddenly the buyer would say, "Well listen, will they leave that swing set?" Well see right away I know they wouldn't ask that on a property or a home they disliked and I'd smile and just say, "Would the swing set be something the children would enjoy?" When they say, "Yes, they should leave that," they have just purchased a swing set.
So try these wonderful little techniques. I love the sharp angle close. This carries the porcupine technique to a higher level of effectiveness. In other words, watch how this works. They say to you, "Hey, Tom. If we decide to go with your product, we'd like to take delivery on June 13th. Could you handle that?" Don't say yes or no. Just warmly say, "If I can guarantee delivery by the 13th, are you ready to proceed?" When they say yes, you have closed the transaction. Oh, closing a sale is such a fun art form and you know we have an approximate 11 million salespeople in the United Sates. Only a handful know what to say when they want to think it over. Oh, master this little presentation. When they say they want to think it over, just learn these words. Smile and say, "Oh, that's fine, Bob. Obviously, you wouldn't take your time thinking this over unless you were seriously interested, would you? I mean I'm sure you're not telling me that to get rid of me so may I assume you'll give it very careful consideration?" "Oh yes, we will, Tom. We'll just clarify my thinking." "What phase of this opportunity isn't that you'd like to think over? Is it the quality of service I'll render?" "No, we're impressed with you, Tom." "Is it something I might have forgotten to cover?" "No, I think that's been very thorough." "Hey, level with me. Could your hesitation be the money?" Most of the time, it is the money. I'm hoping right now they'll just say, "Tom, I feel it might cost too much," so I will then say, "You know, John, today most things do. Can you tell me about how much too much you feel it is?"
Now what they must do is elaborate on how much too much it is and by the way, if people negotiate on the money, there is sincere interest. They would not do that unless there was interest. Many people are afraid to hear them say it's more than they want to spend, it costs too much. A pro isn't. A pro is sitting there going, "Come on. If it's too much, let's get the money on the table. Let's negotiate." People want a bargain today and you have to make them in a way believe they're getting a really good opportunity. And also when you're closing the sale and you're asking all the right questions, make sure that there are questions, number one, they can answer but also, number two, that all the answers confirm the fact they're going ahead. I hope you review this quick little session. I hope you'll watch it many times and more than you know, I hope one or two ideas help you make a greater income and if that happens, then I've done the right thing today. Haven't I?