Direct Sales Training Topics

March 28, 2017 | Direct Sales

Tina Nicola, M.A.

Tina is the founder of and has been creating profitable marketing and exhibit strategies for startups, small businesses and nonprofits for over nineteen years. Her main goal is to broaden access to the techniques she has developed so anyone can benefit and improve exhibiting strategy, sales conversations and follow up.

Need to train staff or clients to sell at a direct sales event? We’ve been there. Here’s our list of the most important direct sales training topics you’ll need to cover to turn beginners into direct sales pros.

This outline of direct sales training topics is based on our personal experience training our own staff and those of clients as marketing consultants. In fact, it’s the exact direct sales strategy we used at trade shows to grow our tech business from startup to acquisition in just five years.

Let’s get started!

Direct Sales Strategy Plan: Five Easy Steps

Sales can be very intimidating for beginners. Even those with experience with direct sales can develop bad habits that reduce their chances to sell. Unfortunately, this can spell ruin for a small business or startup paying big bucks for a direct sales event that doesn’t end up producing revenue.

Start with strategy

We’ve found that the easiest way to approach direct sales training topics is to start with strategy.

Here are the five easy steps to having a successful direct sales conversation:

  1. Icebreaker
  2. Quick Intro
  3. Lead Interview
  4. Next Steps
  5. Disengagement

Check out our in-depth article for ideas on how to introduce the five easy steps involved in a Direct Sales Strategy

After introducing the five easy steps, create a role-playing scenario to illustrate them.

Check out our Direct Sales Strategy Example. Read the script or watch us role-play this conversation! In our example, a tech startup ‘Newbie’ has a successful conversation with a trade show lead using the Five Easy Steps.

Want to train yourself or staff quickly?

Learn more about our Direct Sales Training Courses

Direct Sales Training Topics: Decide Sales Goals

Time is money

Explain to your team that every conversation at a direct sales event should be driven by their organization’s specific sales goals. At a direct sales event, time is money. Every minute spent on a conversation that will never lead to a sale is a conversation you are not having with someone who might actually buy.

Sales Goals include things like…

  • Signing up leads to watch a product demo
  • Giving out a product sample
  • Creating a ‘price quote’
  • Collecting contact information
  • and of course, Making a sale!

Have goals? Great! Make a list and prioritize

Sometimes the team you are training already have sales goals created by the company’s executive team or marketing department. If so, great! Your job is easier. Still, you’ll want to make sure that those general sales goals are appropriate for the specific direct sales event you are preparing for.

Need sales goals? Use a sales funnel

Explain the concept of a ‘Sales Funnel’– a customer’s journey from being aware of your product or company to actually making a purchase from your company.

Do most customers need to see a demo before making a purchase? Make signing up for a demo a sales goal! Do customers look for unbiased reviews of your product before buying? Make sharing these customer reviews via a website link or handout one of your sales goals!

Direct Sales Training Topics: Icebreaker

Now, it’s time to take a closer look at each of the five easy steps involved in direct sales conversations.

In our direct sales training course, we break down the ‘Icebreaker’ into these direct sales training topics:

  • Active Sales Starts with the Icebreaker – Use active rather than passive sales strategies!
  • Be Active, Not Pushy – Don’t confuse being active with being pushy
  • Great Icebreakers – How to create killer Icebreakers that actually stop traffic and start direct sales conversations

Direct Sales Training Topics: Quick Intro

Work with your team to create Quick Intros for your company or organization. Make sure the team understands that quick intros should be short – just 2-3 sentences. This is not a time to launch into a ‘sales pitch.’

Explain how to transition from the Quick Intro to the Lead Interview using a short, strategic question.

Direct Sales Training Topics: Lead Interview

Now the meat of the conversation… the Lead Interview (Step #3)!

Teach your team to use the Lead Interview to decide as quickly as possible if the person they are speaking with is a good lead. Use Information gathered to better sell your product to good leads. Or, identify effective Next Steps.

In our direct sales training course, we break down the ‘Lead Interview’ into these direct sales training topics:

  • Who is a good lead? Teach how to identify a good lead using six proven criteria: Authority, Compatibility, Timeline, Identity, Obstacles and Need.
  • Active Listening – Use active listening strategies to conduct an effective Lead Interview. Question/answer, soundbites not pitches!
  • Four People You Will Meet – Learn how to identity these four characters at a direct sales event: Ms. Right, Mr. Maybe, Mr. Bridges, and Dracula! Tailor your Next Steps according to the character.

Direct Sales Training Topics: Next Steps

Next Steps are the next steps you can take (or the customer will commit to) to get you closer to a sales goal or an actual sale. Discuss with your team what Next Steps might look like for each of the Four People You Will Meet during direct sales conversations.

In our direct sales training course, we break down the Next Steps into these direct sales training topics:

  • Decide Next Steps – Decide on the best Next Steps to take with a potential customer that meet sales goals—including making the sale!
  • When No is a Maybe – What to do if you encounter a No during a sales conversation. How to switch sales goals based on a No by suggesting a sales goal that requires less commitment.
  • You Are In Control – Discuss common sales fears and how to overcome them. Example? “I need to have all the answers.”

Direct Sales Training Topics: Disengagement

Decide when and how to disengage—end the conversation—with potential customers. Explain to your team how failing to disengage with a poor lead is a major cause of wasted time and money at direct sales events!

Recording Lead Information – Paper or Apps?

Failing to take notes during conversations with good leads is a major cause of missed opportunities. Since quick follow-up after a direct sales event is often critical to making the final sale, notes are critical. Nothing makes a worse impression on a potential customer than having to repeat everything they already told your company with a new sales rep.

Create lead fields that guide your sales team!

Review what kinds of information direct sales reps should collect during their conversations.

Talk about the importance of structuring lead cards or apps to prompt sales reps to ask the right questions and record the right information during their sales conversations.

Pros and Cons: Lead Cards vs Lead Apps

Help your team choose what kind of tool to use to record lead information during direct sales events.

In our direct sales training course, we make the following considerations:

  • Is this team tech savvy enough to manage a lead app? Best to practice direct sales role playing to find out.
  • Does the company have a CMS or other software that a lead app needs to integrate with? Does it?
  • What will be the team’s follow-up plan? What lead recording solution will best result in quick follow-up with leads after the direct sales event?

A Direct Sales Beginner?
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  1. […] out our article on direct sales training topics for help creating an outline for your sales team training […]

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