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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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Face to Face Selling Tips: #1 Icebreakers Stop Traffic

Face to face selling tips

In an ideal world, a face to face selling rep has all the traffic they can handle and more! The reality is this: Even with great pre-marketing and a solid exhibit location, you probably won’t have a steady flow of potential customers. That’s why you need Icebreakers.
Face to face selling tips

It’s your job to stop traffic
and start conversations that can lead to a sale! Stand at the edge of your exhibit. Look friendly and open. Start conversations with people passing by using open-ended questions as Icebreakers.

Good Icebreaker Examples
Good Icebreakers are questions that start with “Who? What? When? Why?” These questions require more than a yes or no response, creating social pressure for an answer. Questions like these are more likely to get a Passerby to pause and stop long enough to think of a socially acceptable reply.

  • “What brings you to the show today?”
  • “Who did you come to event with?”
  • “When is the last time you tried (product you are selling)?”

Bad Icebreaker Examples
Bad Icebreakers can be easily ignored or can be answered without stopping for conversation. They usually start with ‘Do’ or ‘Have’ or ‘Are.’ They include:

  • “How are you?”
  • “Have you enjoyed the show?”
  • “Are you looking for something specific?”

Once you’ve gotten a potential customer to stop, you need to keep the conversation going! Check out our article on implementing a Direct Sales Strategy Plan to learn how to turn a conversation into a sale!
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For more Face to Face Selling Skills Tips,
take our Video Course!

Face to Face Selling Skills for the Nervous and Confused

“Face to Face Selling Skills for the Nervous and Confused!” will teach you to 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/face-to-face-selling-skills-for-the-nervous-confused/”]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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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]
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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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Trade Show Tips for Exhibitors

Face to face selling skills

Trade Show Tips for Exhibitors

Trade Show Tips for Exhibitors #1:
Always be active

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Trade show exhibiting isn’t a spectator sport.
Being a successful tradeshow exhibitor means always being active.

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Being active should be your first priority when making a direct sales strategy plan for your next trade show. Here are some examples of how and why you should be active in your trade show exhibit.

It’s your job to stop traffic.

In an ideal world, great pre trade show marketing ideas and exhibit location will keep traffic pouring into your booth all day long. But that’s not the experience of most trade show exhibitors. Instead, show attendees often meander past. Few may glance your exhibit’s direction and fewer yet boldly march into the exhibit space.

That’s why an active direct sales strategy plan must start with the Icebreaker. It looks like this:

  • Stand at the edge of your exhibit.
  • Smile often, look open and friendly.
  • Talk first! Don’t wait for a potential customer to initiate.
  • Ask open-ended questions to people passing buy to get them to stop and talk to you!

Check out our article on sales Icebreakers for more on effective Icebreakers!

Trade Show Tips for Exhibitors #2:
Don’t launch into a sales ‘pitch’

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Active listening leads to sales.
Rather than launching into a ‘sales pitch’ after you start a conversation with a potential lead, briefly introduce yourself. Then, start asking THEM short questions to gather sales information.

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Any conversation with a potential customer should include what we call the Quick Intro. Unfortunately, inexperienced trade show exhibitors often take this opportunity to launch into a long sales ‘pitch’ that loses the customer’s interest. Big mistake! After all, no one likes being talked at.

Instead, make your Quick Intro 2-3 sentences and less than 10 seconds long. You are just keeping the conversation going. Include your name and something interesting about your product or company like this:

[quote]“I’m Julia. I’m here sharing samples of [Company]’s new organic cereal.”[/quote]

Then, move into step #3 of your direct sales strategy plan: The Lead Interview.

The Lead Interview is your chance to find out if the person you started a conversation with is a good lead! Ask short, strategic questions to find out if the person is likely to buy from you. Respond with short, relevant information about your solution or company.

Check out our article on Lead Interview to learn how to conduct a lead Interview!

Trade Show Tips for Exhibitors #3:
Know your sales goals.

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All trade show conversations should be focused on meeting one or more sales goals.
Decide on these sales goals before the trade show. Sales goals include making a sale, but also should include other goals that move potential customers closer to a sale.

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Here are examples of specific sales goals:

  • Make the sale (sell off the show floor)
  • Sign a sales contract with your lead
  • Get contact information for a colleague for follow-up after the trade show
  • Complete price quotes
  • Schedule a demo
  • Share a product sample

Consider your customer’s journey to purchase (also called the ‘Sales Funnel’) when creating sales goals for the trade show. 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!

Most importantly, get contact information!

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Want more trade show tips for exhibitors?

Check out guide for beginner’s on executing a Direct Sales Strategy Plan. Or, check out our Direct Sales Training Course!

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Pre Trade Show Marketing Ideas on a Budget!

Pre Trade Show Marketing Ideas

Pre trade show marketing ideas don’t need to break the bank to be effective. Here’s a rundown of several that have worked for our clients:

Pre Trade Show Marketing Tip #1:
Become an ‘Official’ Presenter

[box type=”note”]Book yourself to give an educational presentation at the trade show. This gives your company free publicity, and a chance to briefly promote your company’s exhibit location, events and offers. [/box]

Just like you, trade shows themselves need to market their show to their attendees. One great way for them to attract interest in their trade show? Book a great line-up of educational presentations for guests to attend during the show.

Trade shows usually start accepting applications for presentation ideas 6 months to 1 year before the show. You can usually find a link on the trade show website explaining how to apply. To play safe, you should contact the trade show’s own marketing coordinator or programming coordinator as soon as you know you’ll be attending. Some things to keep in mind:

  • Educational Presentations are expected to be just that. You’ll drastically increase your chances of getting a presentation accepted if you focus on educating rather than selling.
  • Bring promotional material to the presentation! If you are accepted to give an official trade show presentation, there are still opportunities to mention how your company or service fits into the educational topic you’ve presented on. Invite attendees who’d like to know more to talk with you after the presentation or to stop by your booth. And, make sure to bring business cards and promo with your exhibit # and location to your presentation! Otherwise you’ll miss a great opportunity to drive traffic to your booth.

Pre Trade Show Marketing Tip #2
Get Your Free Program Listing!

[box type=”note”]Don’t miss the deadline! All trade shows create some kind of program listing for attendees. Make sure to mark this on your calendar, and submit your company description on time.[/box]

Programs are attendees ‘map’ to the trade show. They typically include a description of every vendor at the trade show, a description of that company and the booth (or exhibit) number.

You’d be surprised how many companies miss out on this free publicity by missing the deadline for submitting a company description. Don’t let it be you!

Pre Trade Show Marketing Tip #3:
Send an Email to Attendee List

[box type=”note”]Rent or Request Attendee Email List Sending a carefully crafted email to trade show attendees is a highly effective way to drive traffic to your exhibit.[/box]

Ask your trade show marketing contact the following:

  • Does the trade show have an email list of attendees?
  • If so, is this list free to vendors for pre trade show marketing?
  • If the list isn’t free, how much does it cost to ‘rent’ this list for pre trade show marketing?

Sometimes a show will give exhibiting vendors a ‘complimentary’ email list of show attendees. More often, they will rent this list to exhibitors for pre show marketing. Renting the email list usually gives you the right to contact attendees using that list for ‘x’ amount of times. It reflects badly on the show if vendors are spamming their attendees.

Once you’ve rented the email list, what do you do with it?

Send at least 2 emails if possible: One 3-4 weeks before the show, and another 3-4 days before the show.

Include the name of the trade show in your subject heading. Let’s be honest, most email marketing ends up ignored as spam. But attendees are on the look out for emails mentioning the trade show they have paid to attend. By including that name in your pre trade-show marketing, you’ve made your email seem like official news. It is more likely to be opened. If the name of the trade show was LOL, you could try something like this:

Going to LOL? Learn how XYZ can help you. 

Of course don’t forget to list your company booth #, and to include a call to action. Invite attendees to sign up for a one-on-one demo, or include a list of presentations they can attend at the show.

Use an email marketing service like MailChimp. It’s best to send emails using a professional email service. Services like MailChimp will help you comply with spam laws. Also, they include critical reporting tools like email ‘open’ and ‘click’ rate. This helps you determine the effectiveness of your email marketing.

[box]We’ve achieved 20-50% open rates for the carefully-crafted pre trade show marketing emails we’ve sent. [/box]

Pre Trade Show Marketing Tip #4:
Plan in-booth demos or presentations

[box type=”note”]Key to pre trade show marketing is having something to promote. Demos and presentations require advanced planning, so start a few months before the show. [/box]

If you have a big enough space, plan to host group demos and presentations in your exhibit space. This also saves money. Renting a conference room or even a hotel room for presentations at the show can be expensive. Better to drive traffic to your exhibit. There’s nothing that drives even more traffic to an exhibit than seeing a big crowd there!

Make sure to promote your schedule of your presentations and demos in all of your pre trade show marketing channels. Invite attendees to sign up in advance!

  • Company website: Banner or sidebar
  • Social Media: Twitter, Facebook
  • Email Marketing to Attendees

As you can see, planning in advance is critical to pre trade show marketing on a budget. So, do your research and get your calendar ready!
[box]Are you new to trade show sales? Want your trade shows to be more profitable?

Check out our Direct Sales Training Course!


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