It was the cosmetic sales queen Mary Kay Ash who said “Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, “Make me feel important.” Not only will you succeed in sales; you will succeed in life.” At first glance, sales training may not always seem like a natural fit for eLearning; how can you effectively teach natural sales instincts using Powerpoint?

The real answer: You can’t. While you might be able to use presentation software to teach sales protocol or compliancy, true salesmanship comes from knowing how to act and react in sales situations. What happens if a client asks about a product? How do you make a less-interested party into a lifelong customer?

By swapping out traditional training for simulation-based learning scenarios, you offer sales training that gives employees a chance to sharpen their skills and hone their natural sales instincts to create a sales team that is seriously a force to be reckoned with.

Simulating Sales

Sure, some of the best salesmen were born that way, but it doesn’t mean it can’t be taught. By creating eLearning modules that allow your sales team to practice pitches and answer questions in a low-stress environment, you prep them for the real world of sales.

Take a typical sales cycle: First, it starts with learning more about the potential customer. The would-be salesperson can do some research on the customer or organization, gather general intel or check out the latest news. When ready to move onto the customer outreach or meeting, a simulation allows trainees to practice common questions and even learn to read verbal and physical cues, all while receiving real-time feedback from trainers and instructors.

Simulations offer the best of both worlds for those hoping to learn to be one of the greats: The ability to practice in realistic situations without the high stakes of actually working with a customer. Once that confidence is gained, your newly minted sales force is ready and willing – but most importantly, able – to work in actual sales situations.

High to Low

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that elearning simulation automatically require a huge eLearning budget. You can choose practice scenarios that are as high or low tech as your budget allows. Working with a shoestring budget? Call-outs for various role-playing scenarios can help get your sales team’s feet wet. And, with a larger budget, you can actually use 3D simulation tools that read body and verbal language while issuing feedback for a more confident and informed sales force.

The best salespeople might be born, but with the right training, they can be forged in the conference room, too. By harnessing the power of simulations, you can ditch the boring training and give your sales team something they can really sink their teeth into.