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Direct Sales Team Training Ideas

What are my organization’s sales goals?

Give your team a clear direct sales strategy plan. Break down direct sales training into 5 easy steps.

When brainstorming direct sales team training ideas, start with this question:

What are my organization’s sales goals?

As you will learn from our article on creating a direct sales strategy plan, everything in your sales training– everything — must be guided by your specific sales goals.

If you need help defining sales goals, check out our article on using the ‘sales funnel‘ to assist you in creating more than one sales goal.

Direct Sales Team Training Idea #1:
Introduce a Direct Sales Strategy Plan

Are you in charge of sales team training for beginners? Most sales beginners fall into one of two camps: Talkers and Thinkers. For talkers, the idea of having sales conversations might seem easy. Afterall, isn’t it just a conversation with some sales information sprinkled in? Thinkers have the opposite problem. They might see sales conversations as hard and complicated. Thinkers can imagine all kinds of ways they might lose control of a sales conversation, or that a sales conversation might go wrong.

Check out our article on “Direct Sales Training Topics” for help creating an outline for your sales team training event!

Both Talkers and Thinkers are likely to waste your money at direct sales events. To avoid this, you need to show your direct sales team that sales conversations can be easy, fun and repeatable!

Show your team that typical sales conversations have a structure: a beginning, middle and end:

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

Direct Sales Team Training Idea #2:
Create or Review Sound Bytes

In reviewing the basics of a direct sales strategy plan, you’ll see there are many instances when it helps to create sound bytes in advance.

For instance, Icebreakers should be open-ended questions to maximize your sales team’s chance to stop traffic and start conversations that could lead to sales! Provide your sales team with great Icebreakers or create the Icebreakers as a part of your direct sales team training.

Here are more sound bytes you’ll want to create with your team:

  • Quick Intros – Craft a handful of short intros to introduce your product or company
  • Lead Interview Questions – Based on the A-C-T-I-O-N criteria, create questions your sales team can use to qualify leads.Tip: Reference these questions on your Lead Card or App to assist your sales team in recalling the best lead qualification questions.

As we explain in our article on lead qualification, the Lead Interview is about asking strategic questions but also actively listening to the answers your potential customer gives. Based on these answers, your team needs to respond with short, relevant information about your solution or company.

Create short (2-3 sentence) soundbytes about your product solution, features or company to be used during the Lead Interview.

During your direct sales team training, brainstorm the following:

  • What objections or doubts are customers likely to have to purchasing your product?
  • What problems are your customers likely to have that your product can solve?

Then, brainstorm soundbytes to address these possible objections/ problems.

Create a list of ‘Question/ Answer’ soundbytes that your sales team can memorize and reference during their sales conversations.

Why sound bytes and not ‘pitches’?
Despite sales ‘pitches’ being a common industry term, we have found it provides the wrong approach for a sales team. Pitches tend to be too long to facilitate a conversation. Nervous sales beginners are likely to spout off a pitch covering all the product features instead of using the Lead Interview to discover what problems or needs the customer actually has.

By preparing sound bytes instead, your sales team is better prepared to practice active listening and to provide product information in ways that persuade the potential customer.

Direct Sales Team Training Idea #3:
Role Play

Direct Sales Team Training Ideas - Role Playing w/Pretzel Guy
Role-playing is critical to making sure your sales team is prepared!

Finally, direct sales team training ideas should never exclude the most critical part of the learning process: putting the training into practice. The best way to do this? Role playing.

Divide your sales team into pairs.
One person is the sales rep and the other a potential customer. Give the potential customer a character to play, based on a real-life example. The sales rep goal? To use the 5 easy steps to stop the customer, start a conversation and determine as quickly as possible if that potential customer is a ‘good lead.’ Then? Propose an appropriate Next Step and Disengage!

For direct sales team training ideas related to role-playing, check out our direct sales strategy examples!

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Direct Sales Tips and Techniques

Face to face selling skills

Looking for direct sales tips and techniques that actually result in quality leads and sales? Here’s our list!

Direct Sales Tips and Techniques That Work!

Direct Sales Tips and Techniques That Work

Stop Traffic with Open-Ended Icebreakers
Got a stand, exhibit or booth at a direct sales event? It is YOUR job to stop traffic and start conversations that might lead to a sale!

“Hey there” or a “How’s it going?” isn’t going to cut it. Passerbys hear these comments as greetings and walk right on by. Instead craft Icebreakers that use open-ended questions.

Questions that start with ‘Do’ or ‘Have’ or ‘Are’ require a response. Potential customers are more likely to feel the social pressure, and pause long enough to answer you. Then, you’ve got a hook! Keep the conversation going to determine if they might be a good lead.

Qualify Leads with the A-C-T-I-O-N Criteria
Once you’ve started a conversation, your goal is to find out as quickly as possible if this person is a person likely to buy from you– ie, a ‘good lead.’

The acronym ‘A-C-T-I-O-N’ can help you remember the criteria of a ‘good lead.’ A good lead…

  • Authority: Has authority to purchase your product
  • Compatibility: Has a budget and purchase process compatible with yours
  • Timeline: Can purchase in your ideal timeline
  • Identity: Whose identity you know
  • Obstacles: Has no obstacles to doing business with you
  • Needs or wants your product

[box]Find out more about the lead qualification on our site.[/box]

Immediately Disengage from Poor Leads
At a direct sales event, time is money. That means you can’t continue a conversation with someone who is not likely to buy from you now or anytime in the near future.

If you find out the person you are speaking with fails to meet the good lead A-C-T-I-O-N criteria, disengage! A simple “Well it was so nice to meet you. Have a great show!” will usually do the trick. Or: “I don’t want to take up too much of your time. Thanks for stopping by!”

[box]Find out more about the Disengagement step of any direct sales strategy plan on our site.[/box]

Define Several Sales Goals in Advance
Come to any direct sales event prepared with several specific ‘sales goals’ in mind. Of course, making the sale should be one of them. However, a great sales goal is also any action that you can take or get the customer to commit to that gets you closer to a sale.

This might include things like giving out a product sample or signing the lead up to see a product demo! Remember: ‘Awareness’ isn’t a sales goal!

[box]Find out more about Defining Sales Goals for a direct sales strategy plan on our site.[/box]

Get a ‘No’? Switch Sales Goals
In sales, sometimes a ‘no’ from a customer can be a maybe. The potential customer just says ‘no thanks’ as a way to buy time to think or browse. So, what do you do if you get a ‘no thanks’ but you think the person might still be a good lead?

Switch to a sales goal that requires less commitment. For instance, if the potential customer doesn’t want to talk to you, offer them a free product sample or give them an FYI about any sales the store may be having.

Direct Sales Tips and Techniques That Sink Sales

We’ve noticed there are some really, really bad direct sales tips and techniques floating out there in internet land. Many bad direct sales techniques are wielded because inexperienced sales reps think they ‘make sense’ or because they were popular in a bygone era. Don’t let it be you!

Here’s our top list of ‘techniques’ to avoid.

“If I build it, they will come”
We call this technique ‘passive exhibiting’ and it is never, ever better than being active! Passive direct sales reps think that being active = being pushy. They often think it is someone or something else’s job to drive great leads to their doorstep– the marketing team, a snazzy booth, etc.

[box]Find out more about passive direct sales and why to avoid it in our article on Sales Icebreakers.[/box]

“Come on, you know you wanna try a pretzel!”
On the flip side, other direct sales reps think that being active requires being pushy. We’ve all encountered a pushy sales rep- think the stereotypical used car salesman.

If you get a ‘no thanks’– even to trying a pretzel sample– don’t continue persisting with the exact same sales goal. Instead, try switching to a new sales goal requiring less commitment. Active sales should always be done in a friendly and non-intimidating way.

“The long pitch”
In the world of sales and business, you’ll often hear talk about ‘pitches.’ While pitches have their place (think a venture capital meeting), that place is not direct sales.

Why? Pitches create the feeling of being ‘talked at’ not ‘with.’ Direct sales success depends on solving problems. Pitches share too much generic product information without knowing enough about a potential customer’s specific needs.

Instead, think of ways to turn ‘pitches’ into ‘soundbites’– short 2-3 sentence bites of information that can be used in direct response to a need or problem the customer actually has.

[box]Find out better ways to share product information with leads in our article on Qualifying Leads.[/box]
[box type=”note”]

Direct Sales Training Courses for Beginners

Video Course • Sell like a pro at..

  • trade shows and trade fairs
  • direct sales exhibits
  • direct sales events
  • festivals, fairs, home shows, farmer’s markets
  • booths, stands, pop-up stores and shops and more

[button size=”medium” link=”https://tradeshow-planning.com/exhibition-marketing/direct-sales-training-course-five-easy-steps/”]Learn More[/button][button size=”medium” color=”red” link=”https://www.udemy.com/5-easy-steps-to-a-successful-sales-conversation/?couponCode=TRADESHOWPLANNING”]Preview on Udemy[/button]
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