Sales Training Topics: Going Virtual

by | Dec 2, 2020 | Communication Skills, Relationship Selling

It was time to deliver a virtual sales course to twenty-four sales managers around the country. The studio was incredibly hi-tech with fantastic lighting, sound, and multiple cameras. I was excited to deliver one of my favorite sales training topics on selling and coaching the four different personality styles.

I believe one of the keys to successful delivery of sales training topics online is having the right mix of exercises and interaction. It’s the discussion that keeps the participants involved. With online training, many participants might be multi-tasking – on their phone or reading and checking email. It happens all the time, and I must admit, I’ve done it myself. Sitting for 60-90 minutes or longer can easily give you “Zoom” fatigue, which I’m sure you’ve experienced yourself.

The problem with delivering sales training topics online is getting your audience to interact when you conduct your exercises. Why? Because each person is in their own room and can be hesitant to be the first one to give their thoughts and opinions. When there is silence on the other end, it’s extremely difficult to get a robust discussion going as you would when you are in person. Why?

Being in person connects you to everyone in the room. You can better read the body language and the eye contact. Plus, you can easily see that everyone is there to participate without the distractions that can be covered up when online.
As you might guess, the session did not go as planned.

Each exercise took less than two minutes because the participants weren’t engaged. The scheduled 90-minutes seemed like three hours. Has this happened to you?

When we are in a synchronous mode, which is one-way communication, me to them, I was not training, I was lecturing. That’s a problem.

And that is today’s great challenge – delivering sales training topics virtually in a productive and meaningful way. Of course, we know that in-person has a better success rate, but we don’t often have that option.

So, the work for sales leaders is figuring out how to make virtual training better.

It starts with setting expectations with the audience and reminding them that their participation is critical to the success of the program. The second is having the technical capability to break out the participants into small chat rooms where they can interact. Involvement by the audience is key to the success. The third point is preparation – what homework could be assigned, requiring them to be prepared before they join the call. These assignments are another way to set expectations because every salesperson will know exactly what they must do to contribute to the overall success of the call, and the team.

Since the session was on my Four Personalities You Need to Know, it’s important to understand how each of these styles views online sales training. Each style has their own preferences on how they get involved and how they communicate. Let me share with you how each personality will respond to online training.

People with high-Blue Personalities are highly relational and will miss the face to face interaction. They enjoy the small group setting and thrive when they can share their insight. To better prepare a high-Blue Personality for the differences on a virtual call, remind them that they will not have the interactivity of in-person, so they shouldn’t be disappointed if they don’t get the type and amount of feedback they want.

High-Gold Personalities, being left brain, like to follow a process. Give them rules and they will abide. Giving feedback online will work for the Gold. They like to be in charge and will get frustrated if the call doesn’t work as planned. To better prepare a high-Gold Personality, remind them that the technology will not be 100% reliable all the time.

High-Green Personalities are introverted and will be okay with virtual since they hesitate to be proactive in a group discussion. They’re fine taking in information online. To better prepare a high-Green Personality for a virtual call, encourage them to stretch themselves by giving everyone more feedback and interaction.

The high-Orange Personalities will get easily distracted on a virtual call. It gives them an opportunity to multi-task and get other things accomplished at the same time. Oranges love the live interaction and if they are not connected in a smaller group setting virtually, they might not get engaged if they don’t see the value in the topic. To better prepare a high-Orange Personality, ask them to help energize the group by sharing their lively approach.

Virtual training can be powerful if done right. The expenses that are saved is huge and the ability to deliver is convenient. The bottom line is to know your audience and their needs, then help them by setting expectations, make sure your technology works properly, and give them specific assignments to help them prepare for each sales training call.

Good luck with your relationship selling!

©2020 Stu Schlackman