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Sales Consulting and Training:

Sales Training Handbook
by Prentice Hall


How Video and Film Can Improve Your Sales Training Presentations

James A. Baker is President of Baker Communications, Inc, a leading training and career development firm. Established in 1979, Baker’s ongoing client list includes over 75 Fortune 500 companies and numerous medium and small organizations. Baker is a co-founder of the National Center for Dispute Settlement of the American Arbitrations Association, and instructor in business communications at the Jesse H Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University, a member of the National Speakers Bureau, on the board of directors of Cenikor Foundation, The Governor’s Business Council, and an executive member of Houston’s Drug Free Business Initiative.

This chapter deals with subjects that relate to the visual aspects of selling. While both film and video are covered, technological advances, ease of use, and decreasing costs make video the method of choice for the presentation of visual materials. Much useful training material is still available on film, but increasingly, these films are being transferred to video. This chapter covers:

· The purpose of training materials
· The advantages and disadvantages of video and film
· Developing a training program with video
· Buying video materials
· Making video training materials
· Marketing your own training program

Scientific research has proven that 90 percent of a sales representative’s success is a result of both the visual and vocal image imparted. Persuasive selling depends largely on the face-to-face interchange and “chemistry” of the sales message. Studies have shown that only 10 percent of buying decisions are based on the words that the sales representative uses, and most decisions are made in the first three minutes of the sales call. The decision is based on three elements: nonverbal communication (60 percent); tone, pace, and pitch of voice (30 percent); and words (10percent). 1

One informal study conducted at the Harvard Negotiations Institute in 1986 compared response to training sessions in which lecture comprised more than 80 percent of class time with response to similar sessions where videotaped exercises and role plays comprised 80 percent of class time. Measured learning nearly doubled in the “video-enhanced” group, which helps explain why training often fails to achieve long-term results when teaching is dominated by lecture.

Video modeling and practicing on video can improve the sales representative’s ability to use to their advantage all the psychological and situational reasons that clients buy, as well as their ability to improve the “chemistry” between themselves and prospective buyers. Words in a lecture cannot show salespeople how they appear to buyers. Nor can words show how to recognize body language and other signals from buyers who are evaluating the sales message and analyzing options.

When we train sales representatives to accommodate their style to match the customer’s behavioral cues and to control their own body language and tone of voice, it increases their ability to recognize nonverbal positive and negative signs from the buyer. Everything we know about the visual nature of the art of selling supports the need for greater use of visual materials in training and far less use of the “lecture” method.

1 Albert Mehrabian, Silent Messages (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 1971), p.43.

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