I was excited when we first released the practice-reinforcement-roleplay feature for the Viddler Training Suite (VTS) platform. Webcam or mobile video is a great way to learn—especially if the video is used interactively. However, it turns out I missed the real reason to get excited about interactive video training. Let me explain:
The best sales training instructors and sales coaches are increasingly frustrated by the fragmentation of today’s sales force. It’s hard to overcome schedule and time zone conflicts. It’s really hard to conduct quality, one-on-one or team training sessions. Properly used, online video is a powerful way to fix that problem.
With interactive video training, team members can view and respond to lessons at any time—on any device. Instructors can create assignments, and team members can do them, without forcing everyone to a single time of day.
Here’s where I missed the main point. I imagined that sales training instructors would create generic, theoretical assignments—such as “Record a standard, 1-minute elevator pitch” or “Record your best sales pitch”
These are all well and good. Any good classroom instructor could create such assignments. They add value to training. But they’re missing one thing: the real world.
Preparing for Battle
A friend of mine is a leader in a team-based engineering firm. Whenever he plans a pitch for a multi-million-dollar project, every member of the presentation team does multiple practice runs. Sometimes they practice their part individually. Sometimes they practice together. Sometimes my friend plays devil’s advocate and tries to disrupt things. The point is: they practice something real. It’s not theoretical. They’re not aiming for a good presentation score. They’re aiming to win the deal.
Sales training should follow the same routine. Taking online video training courses is awesome, but putting that knowledge into practice—using actual sales events—is the whole point.
So, I need to recalibrate my thinking. There are so many ways to use VTS for real world practice, not just theoretical skills. As a professional sales coach or a team leader, you can:
- Require your team to watch—and discuss—the “game film” of previous encounters with the prospect in question. This usually means recorded sales calls or presentations (to be used only with permission, of course).
- Hold practice sessions via Skype or a similar service. Be sure to record those video sessions for ongoing review and discussion.
- Don’t limit your practice sessions to video. VTS is great for recorded audio as well.
- Assign each team member with the task of creating and delivering a presentation for the client. (In PowerPoint, record the narrative for each slide, export the results as a WMV file, and upload it to VTS for rating and discussion.) Add a competitive element: use the best presentation on the day of the big pitch.
- Repeat, repeat, repeat.
If you’re a sales training professional, like many who are offering courses in the Viddler Sales Academy, consider becoming more of a coach, and engage your clients in practice sessions for real, upcoming sales pitches.
If you’re a sales team leader, consider using interactive video training with the VTS platform—to get your players in shape for the big game.