Both new and experienced employees benefit from ongoing telesales skills training, but keeping them engaged can be challenging. Try out some of these training ideas to keep meetings productive and fun.
One of the most enjoyable things about the telesales business is that it is ever-changing, and there’s always something more for people to learn. Incorporating regular telesales skills training in your team meetings is essential for constant employee education to occur, but the same old approaches can quickly grow stale.
We’ve found that the trick is to find new and inventive ways to conduct telesales skills training so that even your most experienced employees become invested in the activity, no matter what it is. Get creative with your training and you’ll open a wider window of opportunity to pass necessary skills on to your teams, while also expanding their minds and setting them up to make the transition from being good to great phone sales reps.
If your educational sessions aren’t exactly popping with your employees, try some of these ideas to jump-start telesales skills training sessions that your teams will both remember and enjoy.
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9 Telesales skills training ideas to keep your team engaged
People tend to learn best from experience, but you can’t always anticipate the kinds of interactions they’ll have with their customers. To help ensure that your employees are prepared to handle a wide variety of situations:
- Set up some role-playing exercises wherein you, as the manager or leader, create a few different tricky hypotheticals.
- Split your teams into partners, with one acting as the sales rep and the other acting as the customers.
- Evaluate the salesperson on their resourcefulness, understanding of the customer’s needs and objections, and ability to solve for any given situation. You may get a groan or two before starting, but if you keep it lighthearted, we’re sure that your teams will have fun with this approach.
2. Virtual workshops
Hosting an industry expert or other third-party trainer is another way to make telesales skills training more engaging and exciting. You can do this in-person when we get back to that lifestyle, but in the meantime, virtual trainings are a great substitute, especially if employees seem to be struggling with the isolation that comes with remote working. A quick note on this: If you offer virtual trainings, you may want to require all employees to have their cameras turned on to ensure they’re paying attention. Interactive trainings are also much better for productivity and engagement than simple lectures.
3. Show and tell
Sharing their own experiences with one another is an effective way for employees to improve their telesales skills. Training sessions can sometimes feel too contrived or unlikely, so having employees compare notes on their greatest successes, challenging failures, and most unusual interactions helps bring an element of reality that will keep them focused.
4. Handling objections
Another fun workshop you might conduct is one centered around handling customer objections. Split your team into pairs or small groups, give one of them something to sell, then have the others think of (reasonable) objections that might come up. See how the first employee reacts, then switch it up, giving new products to sell, so the objections stay fresh and unpredictable. Give each employee notes on what they did well and how they could improve. Asking the whole group for ways to improve can also help get them thinking and getting creative.
5. Evaluate actual recordings
If you have telesales software like Call Logic that allows you to record real sales calls, use some of those to conduct telesales skills trainings that are directly relevant to what you sell as opposed to something hypothetical. Choose recordings with both strong and weak points, then get everyone brainstorming what worked and what didn’t. Remember to be sensitive to employee feelings, though. We recommend asking an employee if they’d mind being a real-life example for the group, and mitigate the discussion, so the team doesn’t unintentionally start getting too critical.
6. Practice perfect pitch(es)
Another interactive exercise to keep telesales skills training productive is mock pitch presentations. Give each employee something to sell and a customer to sell it to. Then give them 10-15 minutes to write a pitch that they’ll then deliver to either the whole group or perhaps just the facilitator, who will then respond with questions and objections. Running a post-mortem after each participant will allow you to talk about the pitch aspects that are effective and the ones that might need a different approach.
7. Active listening exercise
Pair your employees off again. This time, the sales rep will be tasked with learning from the customer. This is most effective if your “customers” have scripts they can use to respond to questions. The scripts should include lots of details that you’ll want your sales rep to pick up on. See what the sales reps take away from the conversations and provide guidance from there.
8. The “keep them talking” exercise
You might be able to use this telesales skills training exercise in conjunction with the active listening activity. The goal here is for your sales reps to keep the customers talking to learn more about their pain points and look for windows of opportunities. This activity is best done without a script. See how your sales reps approach sustaining conversations, then get feedback from the group about the most effective techniques.
9. Make it a contest!
No matter which telesales skills training activities are most appealing to you for your group, gamifying the process is likely to make each activity go a lot further. Come up with a grading or evaluation system for any given exercise and explain to the group how a winner will be determined. With most salespeople, you probably don’t even need a reward for the winner since sales professionals tend to enjoy winning. Still, if you have the budget for it, a little prize could be an additional incentive.
This is an ideal time to work with your team and learn new ways to approach the common challenges that come with telesales.
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