Sales Training Tip: How to understand How people learn so you can help people buy

When I  develop sales training courses I spend a lot of time considering and planing content based on the way that we learn. Recently I  have had an increase in conversations with Sales Managers and Sales Directors who are looking to increase their own ‘bitesized’ in house sales training as a way of keeping on track with sales performance.

To help I have set out a few things for you to consider if you are designing your own mini sales training sessions.

If you don’t think this applies to you remember that everyone that buys from us is human and processes information in the same way!  Therefore —-   Think –

“How can I use this Information to make  my sales presentations better?”


Information V Learning:


  • Reading for themselves is Information and is passive.
  • Finding out for themselves is Learning.
  • Drawing from their own experience is Learning.
  • Research and feed back to you and the team/group is Learning.

Your natural tendency may be to present information passively i.e by providing handouts or reading out to the group. See if you can find ways to make this a learning experience as this will aid memory and recall. By turning the learning into a ‘whole’ brain experience, connections will be made in the brain that will ensure recall.

Critical information should be repeated by the ‘learners’ so that it is remembered and that it can create an association in the brain or a ‘hook to hang itself on’. This is why good training (and selling) will draw out associations that are meaningful to the participants i.e how it will relate to their jobs/life. What would be even better is get the participants to actively work this out and vocalise for themselves what the learning will mean for them. This is so powerful because they will form more powerful associations than you will ever be able to create.


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Honey and Mumfords Four Learning Styles:

Honey and Mumford developed a model of 4 main styles of learning.

The Activist: They like to learn through doing. They are proactive and often have short attention spans and will get frustrated by long periods of ‘passive’ learning. To engage the activist consider exercises that involve action.

The Pragmatist: They like to know the ‘why’ of learning. Learning has to be immediately apparent or interest is quickly lost. If you cant spell that out at the beginning for any reason then let then know that it will be coming and then debrief by getting them to draw direct relevancy to themselves.

The Reflector: As the name implies they like to evaluate what they are learning. This can be just a few minutes down time or may even be a day or two.  Their opinion is rarely given instant as they need to think it through, so if you want to encourage their participation give sufficient advance warning.

The theorist: Generally the analysts of the audience who want to know – who, why, what, when – and love the option of checking out the facts for themselves. They thrive on further references, reading lists, and facts and figures. Rarely can you give too much information. Without bogging down your session with way too much information make sure you provide the theorists with handouts and the certainty that they can go away with enough supporting material.

A very similar model developed by Bernice McCarthy is a great way of structuring your verbal communications to appeal to different learning styles. It is called the 4Mat system and breaks down learning styles into people who need to know predominantly 1 of ‘What’, ‘Why’, ‘How’ and ‘If’.

For example:

What:

The next session will look at why prospective clients say No to our initial responses on the telephone and will develop 5 key areas that will increase our ability to make connections with our target clients.

Why:

The reason we are holding this session is that, based on our trials of this these approaches, we have been able to prove that each one of you will be able to increase your appointment making rate by 25% by following these principles.

How:

We will achieve this by using the three target clients you have brought with you and a series of role plays. This will allow group learning and the sharing of your experiences directly relevant to your company.

If:

Once you have acquired this knowledge and skills for the initial first contact we are sure there are many ways it will make your job easier and increase your sales such as – face to face meetings and dealing with difficult situations.

One of the most significant factors in the success of any sales training or refreshers you do is the design. Design for impact, retention and use and your sales success is guaranteed.If we can help in any way just give us a call on 0845 6434165.

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