Selling is not only an art but also a science. Let’s examine if selling can be effectively taught in a class room. Well, traditionally selling was taught on the job. A new sales executive followed a senior sales person on a few calls and then went on to be on his own. In his book “Life Insurance Company Sales Training Programs” H P Gravengaard says that scientific selling methods were perhaps first started by subscription book companies and that they are the pioneers in terms of organizing training for their sales staff. Subsequently, modern organizations started giving importance to the training of sales personnel reinforcing specific skills that are important for their domain.
Selling is best learnt through experiential learning which involves ‘learning by doing’. In learning on the job, a senior sales person is assigned to juniors to provide guidance or feedback. Training is effective in a classroom environment, when sales situations are simulated and learners get to enact the role of a sales person and that of a buyer while the instructor provides the feedback about the best method to be adopted in a given situation. Training is not likely to be effective if the participants are given a lecture through PowerPoint slides for 2-3 days. Role plays, situation analysis and case studies have to be part of the program. However, it is not always possible to incorporate all of the above in an ILT program.
This is where online training and resources prove to be handy. Animations, video enactments or simulations are components of an online training program that can be effectively used in sales training. Consider the following situation. A sales person is about to make a sales pitch. He has forgotten his reference material which gives key data about his product and his competitor’s product. Would it not be handy if he had access to a resource where he could simply download the same to his iPad or smartphone? In another situation, imagine a sales person who is disillusioned with himself and needs a mentor to pep him up and instill confidence or provide guidance. Would it not be ideal to have an online mentor available, say through the company intranet, who provides guidelines?. Imagine how much more it would add value to the sales person, if he is provided with bite-sized modules giving sales tips or selling ideas to sales personnel.
I think technology can play an important role in providing training to sales personnel. It can be innovatively and creatively used for the benefit of sales staff who are typically action-oriented and detest being confined to a typical classroom type setting.
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As instructional designers, we always aim to design courses that reach the target audience effectively. We would never want to hear our learners say that the course was boring. We put all our efforts to make the course interesting and engaging.
But, it is essential that these efforts are put in a right way. Engaging the learner doesn’t mean just including interactivities. It is much more than having a few clicks of interactivities.
In my last blog, 20 Must Know Acronyms of E-learning – Part 1, we have seen some acronyms that are used in the world of e-learning. In this blog, we will look at some more acronyms.
11. JIT (Just-in-Time): Just-in-time learning systems enable learners to access online learning resources at the point of need. Today, what will you do to find directions to a place or find out the movie that is playing in the theatre close to your home? You just go online for information. To employees, m-learning provides a similar facility to access information pertaining to their jobs at the click of a button.
Training enhances skills and abilities of employees to be aligned to changing business needs. It is well understood that assessments are vital components of e-learning courses. They are a medium to measure training outcomes. Assessments not only strengthen learning but also help evaluate the learner’s comprehension of a course.
It is well-known that assessments are a vital component of an e-learning course. Good assessments play an important role in enhancing the efficacy of the online course by helping evaluate the knowledge gained by the learner and reinforce the learning.
According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 48 million people (1 in 6 Americans) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die each year from foodborne diseases. In order to adhere to food safety regulations, one of our clients came up with a requirement for an e-learning course.
E-learning and m-learning are powerful learning methods; both are dynamic and effective ways to teach people. So then, what are the differences between and e-learning and m-learning methods?
E-learning involves a series of modules with in-depth subject-matter while m-learning involves smaller chunks of information which can be accessed anywhere, anytime. Modules are designed differently, depending on the kind of format used to learn. M-learning breaks the barriers of time and place and provides easy access to courses. E-learning also enables learners to access information anytime, anywhere through a laptop, and a stable environment is needed for the learner to take training.
As a college student, I had an opportunity to read Wings of Fire, the autobiography of the former Indian president, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. The story of the “missile man” who rose to great heights from humble beginnings is truly inspiring.
The sudden demise of this eminent scientist is a great loss to the country and has saddened millions. The life of Dr. Kalam is a testimony to the fact that determination and hard work can overcome the shackles of financial and other constraints.
There were a few letters marked “Never sent. Never signed” that were discovered in Abraham Lincoln’s desk after his death. When he was upset with someone he would write a letter expressing his anger but would refrain from sending it to the intended person. This practice allowed him to vent his anger, yet not allow needless or unpleasant consequences. One of the famous unsent letters was to Gen. George G Meade, who was blamed for letting Robert E Lee escape after Gettysburg. Unfortunately, in today’s age of social media, people have “lost the art of the unsent angry letter” – an expression used in a NY times article by Maria Konnikova.
It is common knowledge that good assessments play a key role in the making of an effective online course. They not only help evaluate the learner’s comprehension of the subject-matter, but also reinforce the learning effectively.