5 Creative Sales Training Topics to Use with Your Team

Ongoing sales training is key to developing your team, but it can be hard to think of topics to cover. You don’t want to be too repetitive, even though covering the basics is important.

Here are 5 creative sales training topics to use when you’re training your team.

1. Practice Building Rapport

Building rapport is obviously a key sales skill, but many people think it’s something that can’t be trained. That’s not true! While some people might find it easier than others, everyone can learn rapport-building skills and improve their interactions with prospects and clients.

Here are three ways you can integrate this into sales team training.

1One easy way is to role practice a networking event – have two people pretend to meet each other for the first time and see how they ask questions and get to know each other. Provide feedback and coaching to help them improve.

2Another way to practice building rapport is to find pictures of offices and have the team brainstorm what clues they might find in each office to ask rapport-building questions. Sports memorabilia, trophies, family pictures, and diplomas are opportunities to engage.

3You can apply a similar exercise using LinkedIn and website bios. Pull up a profile or bio and have the team brainstorm rapport-building questions. Did you attend the same school? Grow up in the same area? Work with a common client or vendor? Share the same volunteer opportunities and causes?

2. Create Recordings to Practice Follow-Up Emails

Follow-up emails are one of the most basic selling tools, but they’re not the easiest sales training topic. One way we’ve found to practice this skill is to record a role practice of a discovery meeting or phone call. We then ask each salesperson to draft a follow-up email as if it were their meeting, and we meet as a group to debrief the exercise. It’s always interesting to see the different approaches people take!

Alternately, you can have the team submit examples of real follow-up emails they’ve sent and work as a team to find ways to improve them.

3. Mix & Match Success Stories

One of the most powerful benefits of a sales team is the ability to leverage a variety of success stories to find one that works best with your prospect’s situation. But too often, salespeople default to sharing their own stories again and again.

One reason we hear that people don’t use the team’s success stories is that they’re not comfortable sharing them. They might not be confident that they know the details or feel that talking about “us” or “we” is less powerful than taking about “I” or “me.” That couldn’t be further from the truth! The team’s success stories are just that – the team’s stories.

To help your team improve their ability to tell a variety of success stories, provide them with scenarios and have them identify which success story fits the situation best. The story could come from anyone on the team. Then have other team members practice telling the story until they’re confident they know it well.

For the best success stories that you use often, it can be a good idea to set up a Q&A with the salesperson who originally won the deal and anyone else who was involved in the sale. Other members of the team can ask questions about it so they have a better understanding of the details in case prospects ask for more information.

4. Record & Review Introductions

You’d probably be surprised at how your team introduces your company. They might use outdated messaging, inaccurate descriptions, or an incomplete picture of what you do.

This can be a fun (and valuable) exercise for your team. Set up a video camera and have each member of the team record a generic introduction/elevator pitch. Then meet as a team to review them – beyond any entertainment they’ll get from seeing themselves and their colleagues being awkward on camera, you’ll also identify areas for improvement.

Don’t limit this exercise to just the sales team! Everyone should know how to introduce your company, and non-sales members of the team might struggle the most.

Work with your team to develop a standard best-practice introduction they can use in any situation, then practice it until it sounds natural.

5. Build Presentations for Scenarios

If your organization has a standard presentation deck that salespeople customize for specific opportunities, it’s important to make sure they know how to do that well. You don’t want them removing key slides or presenting unnecessary information that’s not related to their targets.

Just like the follow-up email exercise above, you can provide your team with a scenario, then ask them to develop a presentation to address it. The scenario could be a recording or a written example. Have them deliver their presentations in front of a group, then debrief and identify areas for improvement.

You can also have the team review real presentations that have been developed and work together to identify ways to strengthen them.

We know sales team training can get repetitive sometimes, and we hope these creative sales training topics are useful for you. We’d love to see your feedback, and any suggested topics you might have for us, in the comments!

For one more quick exercise you can do with your sales team, download our Active Listening checklist.

By | 2016-10-17T16:33:14+00:00 April 21st, 2015|Sales Leaders|2 Comments

About the Author:

Elizabeth is CFS's Operations Officer and Senior Advisor and is the Product Manager for the Criteria for Success Sales PlayBook. She writes about sales leadership, management, teamwork, motivation, and process based on her work with CFS's clients. Elizabeth also hosts the CFS roundtable discussion episodes of the Let's Talk Sales podcast.

2 Comments

  1. C Daley August 4, 2015 at 12:47 pm - Reply

    I have been on the Leadership and Sales Management Training field for years and it is good to see well written articles that ultimately benefit the reader. Thank You

    • Rebecca Smith August 4, 2015 at 2:26 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much!

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