5 Tips To Foster Self-Confidence In Sales Training
We’ve all met people we describe as the quintessential salesperson. Someone that can sell air to birds. Part of these are inborn character traits, but some of them can be taught. Also, confidence can express itself in different ways. It’s not always the suave extrovert that breaks sales records. Sometimes, it’s the calm, unflappable salesperson that never gives up on a prospect. Either way, confidence is key. How can you identify individual insecurities and train your sales team to overcome them? Here are some tips to address self-confidence issues in online sales training using real-world simulations.
1. Arm Them With Immense Product Knowledge
Think about your favorite song, book, movie, or videogame. You probably know a lot about it—the singer/songwriter/director/cast, the creation context, and more. And this knowledge makes you an “expert” in your subject. In any discussion regarding it, you can hold your own. From a salesperson’s perspective, there are lots of scary things. The customer may hang up. The salesperson may freeze up and forget what to say. The prospect may be rude and abusive. The boss may punish them for not meeting targets. By offering thorough product knowledge, that’s one less thing to worry about. They’re confident they can answer any product-related question. They can recite features effortlessly, leaving their conscious mind free to focus on the other aspects of their pitch, like tone, pace, and delivery. They are also better positioned to recommend the right product for specific customers’ needs, which increases their chances of buying. Offer product knowledge via infographics, then develop sales simulations where targets ask product-based questions.
2. Prepare Them For Pushback
When you’re dealing with telemarketers, what excuses do you give them? “I’m busy right now.” “I’m not interested.” “I already have one of those.” “I don’t buy things over the phone.” Or sometimes, the caller tells you who they are, and you immediately hang up. Your sales team’s prospects will give many of the same excuses, so prep them in advance. Train them on how to keep targets on the phone longer and give them answers to specific objections. They could start with, “Hi, I’m so-and-so. What can I do to make your day better?” It disarms the prospect and makes them more likely to open up. Then as they talk, your salesperson can build rapport, asking subtle but targeted questions. Their queries help build a customer profile, while the “casual” chat leaves them room to collect themselves. As they both get more and more relaxed, the salesperson can “sell” using information gleaned from the phone call. Build these components into our call scripts and branching scenarios.
3. Use VR Software For Non-Verbal Training
The most common forms of sales training involve cold-call practice. That’s fine because it allows trainees to concentrate on a key aspect. However, there are lots of other elements to sales, and most of them involve soft skills. If you have budgetary flexibility, have a few immersive roleplay scenarios using VR tools. The aim here is to focus on soft skills like active listening, follow-up questions, body language, and tone of voice. Many sales trainees make the mistake of rushing through their script. In simulations, teach them to observe their prospect. If it’s an in-person sale, how are they standing? What’s their facial expression? What are they doing with their hands and feet? On a phone call, what’s their tone like? How fast are they talking? Is there hesitation, pauses, mumbling? Can you tell what’s going on in the background? All these cues can help the salesperson adjust their approach, thereby increasing their chances of conversion.
4. Emergency Preparedness On The Sales Floor
The thing that makes most sales employees anxious is not knowing what they’ll have to deal with on the sales floor. Especially in extreme situations where the customer is unhappy or has a problem they’ve never encountered before. Even the most experienced employees have to handle new issues that require a specific skillset. Real-world simulations give them the opportunity to prepare for every workplace emergency they may have to face. From customers who are dead-set against a purchase, even though they know they need the product, to co-workers who are trying to steal their commissions (which requires a high degree of tactful conflict resolution).
5. Immediate Feedback To Subtly Pinpoint Gaps
Sales employees gain real-world experience through simulations. But you cannot break down their self-confidence and esteem with blunt criticism. The key is to give them personalized feedback more subtly. For example, point out what they did wrong and how they can improve with resource recommendations. This gives them the opportunity to identify pain points without making them feel less-than. You can also host peer-based feedback sessions on social media where they can share their simulation experiences and ask for advice, such as which sales online training tools they can use to gain more confidence and build their interpersonal skills.
Fake it till you make it. Act as if. Treat every customer as a buyer, even when they say they’re not. These are all clichés built around the appearance of confidence. And this form of “pretense” can sometimes build up into habitual self-assurance. You become the sales champion you seem to be. How can training courses help develop healthy, consistent self-belief? Emphasize thorough product knowledge so your salespeople’s “RAM” can be diverted to other tasks. Give them targeted training to gently, respectfully, and definitively deflect customer objections. Use simulations, branching scenarios, and virtual roleplay for non-verbal training and soft skills. Continually remind your sales team of their capabilities. Believe in them, and with time and practice, they’ll believe in themselves too.