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Growth happens outside of your comfort zone

In the world of sales, one thing remains unequivocally true: growth comes through stretching our comfort zones. There are numerous sales training techniques, all offering distinct benefits. However, two particularly effective, albeit uncomfortable, methods stand out for me – taking sales calls on the floor and participating in in-person roleplays.

Sales Calls on the Floor

The first method, taking sales calls on the floor, involves having a sales rep take real calls from customers or potential clients in an open setting, where other team members and managers can listen in. It's an authentic, practical learning experience that no mock session can perfectly replicate.

Why is it uncomfortable? For many, the very idea of having their performance scrutinised by peers and superiors in real-time can be unnerving. But this is exactly why it's so effective. This form of training pushes sales reps to apply their skills under pressure, helping them build resilience and adaptability. It's an incredible opportunity to improve communication skills, handle objections, and refine sales pitch delivery.

Furthermore, the immediate feedback loop present in this method allows managers or other reps to promptly identify and rectify any potential mistakes, incorrect assumptions, or missed opportunities that the sales rep might have.

However, what I find is the best sales reps are the first to start taking calls on the floor and the rest of the team then learn how to improve their pitch or ask better discovery questions by osmosis. It leads to a culture of peer to peer training and support for everyone on the team.

In-person Roleplays

The second method, in-person roleplays, provides a safe environment for sales reps to practice, make mistakes, and receive constructive feedback. Roleplays simulate real sales situations, requiring reps to think on their feet, adapt their selling strategies, and hone their persuasive skills.

Roleplays are challenging because they demand vulnerability. To be effective, roleplays must mimic real-life sales scenarios as closely as possible. This can include dealing with difficult clients, handling rejection, or navigating complicated sales negotiations. It’s natural to feel discomfort when practicing these high-stakes situations, but it’s in the act of confronting these scenarios head-on that real growth occurs.

Roleplays not only test product knowledge but also challenge reps to use their interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence, and strategic thinking. Additionally, they provide an opportunity to get instant feedback and coaching from both managers and peers, leading to significant improvement in a safe, controlled environment.

Roleplays with your managers or peers or worse with your manager in front of all your peers can be a very scary thought. Oftentimes these roleplays are more difficult than any call you will actually ever experience and therefore real calls feel like a walk in the park afterwards.

Sales training can be challenging, often pushing us outside of our comfort zones. It's in this space of discomfort where true learning and growth occur. By embracing uncomfortable yet effective techniques like taking sales calls on the floor and participating in in-person roleplays, sales reps can rapidly improve their skills, adaptability, and most notably their confidence.