As we are wishing for the cool weather of Pumpkin Spice Season (formerly called “fall” and “fourth quarter”), many of you are pushing hard to close out the year’s sales and have one eye on planning for next year too.
For Sales Directors and Business Owners, this is that time when you start thinking of how to finish this year strong and kick off the next year with your Sales Kickoff Meeting (SKO) or annual training sessions. As a seller, I’ve had the opportunity to experience some fantastic sales training and SKOs and I’ve also experienced some really terrible ones. The terrible ones stick with me as I think about the tremendous cost per hour to have your sellers all in one room for days and after it’s over, there’s no return on investment. No real change. No lasting impact.
What made the bad ones terrible? Here are a few examples:
- The meeting was in an uninspiring venue – 2 days in outdated hotel conference rooms with bland food, long days, and no “fun” or uplifting events built into the agenda.
- Meeting after meeting about new processes, new forms, new technology, new products, and new product training. Death by details – it’s a thing.
- Here’s one that wasn’t obviously bad – it revealed itself later: 3 days of Training on new sales methodology – only never to be discussed, mentioned, supported, or reinforced ever again. Why were we there!?!
What made some of the best Sales Kickoff Meetings?
- That time we met at Texas Motor Speedway and were given the opportunity to ride in Pace Cars and then do 4 laps in a NASCAR with a professional driver (Speeding around a track at 146 miles an hour is a THRILL I’ll never forget).
- Or when we were able to hear from a VP of Procurement for a Global company about WHY he consolidated purchasing, why he chose our company, and what the results meant for his organization.
- And then there was the time we had a guest sales trainer prep us before we arrived for Phone Cold Calling and did it live at the session – complete with feedback and celebrating results.
- And that time I brought a big canvas with a local icon sketched out and each participant took turns painting and leaving their mark. That painting hangs on their office walls today.
You don’t have to hire magicians or throw lavish parties to create powerful learning and training events for your teams.
Here’s what sellers really want to improve their results:
- Inspiration vs. Fluff
- Skills Development vs. Product Training
- Reinforcement and Practice vs. Information Dumps
- Personal and Moving Stories vs. Brochure Reviews
- Insights and Communication vs. Tactics or Manipulation
- Tools to Use Immediately vs. More Spreadsheets and Forms
- Well thought out, comprehensive experiences that allow them to learn, have fun, be acknowledged, included, feel appreciated, feel supported, and encouraged.
This does NOT happen when you lock people up in a conference room for 2 or 3 days where they sit for hours on end listening to department heads drone on about changes in policy, procedures, or products.
And if you’re a sales pro, speak up now, or forever quit complaining – make sure you have a hand in letting your leaders know what fires YOU up and fuels your growth! What kind of training opportunities do you want? What kind of obstacles are you facing with your customers? Which skills would quickly impact your results?
Don’t waste this opportunity – or ANY opportunity to create exciting and impactful sales training sessions. Which – by the way, should ideally be more than once a year – training is not an EVENT, but a continuous improvement process.
What are YOU planning for your major learning initiatives this year or next year? Is it enough to engage your team and get them invested in their skill improvement and personal growth?
Get creative. Be resourceful. Listen to what your SELLERS want to learn and need to improve.
Until next time, stop hoping, start SELLING!
PS – Need some ideas on sessions to WOW your sales program and fuel REAL CHANGE? Contact us and/or download this Sales Conference and Training Planning Worksheet (The last page of The SellOut Show Live Event Sheet).