How To Make Your Own
Sales Training Video In Six Steps - Part 1
Even with the proliferations
of corporate sales training video tapes, you may not be able to
find exactly what you want. One option is to buy or borrow tapes that can be
used in part and simply work them into the program. This may be acceptable if
you are in control of the training and have time to develop the rest
of the program.
Another option, if budget
allows, is to hire a vendor to custom-make a video tape that exactly suits your
needs. This can either be the most or the least expensive option. At this writing,
a complete customized program can cost from $100 to $1,000 per course participant,
depending on the number of people to be trained.
The final option is to make
your own sales training video tape. This may be the most economical
option if you have the equipment, can hire professional talent, and will use
the tape enough times for it to pay for itself. One training manager
received bids ranging from $15,000 to $30,000 for am entire training
tape. She ended up making the tape herself for $1,300 after assessing her own
Her company already had
all the recording equipment she would need. She had in-house talent to handle
cameras, microphones, lights, sets, and direction. Through a friend, she located
actors at a local community theater who worked without compensation, except
for a personal copy of the finished tape. She wrote her own script, took a course
on video production on her own time, and spent many hours developing the specific
In the beginning, she had
no idea how much time was involved in planning, in shooting and re-shooting,
or in building and tearing down sets. Further, since a script is never shot
in sequence but rather broken down into segments that will all be shot on a
certain set, she discovered the importance of labeling each tape with the exact
page of the script so that editing would not be a nightmare.
On the whole, the video
tape suited her organization’s needs exactly. The actual cost, not counting
salaries of employees involved, included only the blank tapes and final editing
by a video production company. She and her boss felt that the time and effort
were well spent.
Another trainer in a natural
gas industry also made her own video tape using company officers as actors.
Two of the officers took retirement shortly after production of the tape, which
automatically dated it. Although she felt that her tape was more specific to
her needs than anything off the shelf, she now strongly recommends hiring professional
While we could not hope
to present an entire course on video production within these pages, we can share
the techniques and procedures that have worked for us.
Building a sales training
video tape has several important sequential steps: developing the idea,
determining the treatment, gaining authorization, developing the script and
story board, production, and postproductions.
Steps 1 - 3
Step 1: Developing the
Clarify Specific, Immediate
Need for the Video. Start with long discussions including sales management,
sales personnel, and company officers, and determine the specific need
the video will address. Training becomes more effective and appealing
if it is based both on sales representatives’ statements of what
they need (how to handle price increases) and what management says it needs
(why price increases are needed). This is much more effective than basing a
course solely on what training personnel thinks the sales team
needs (to improve sales). When the sales team has a sense of “ownership”
in the project, it will support the training program and help to achieve
Consider Long-Range Factors.
Equally important at this stage is the future direction the company plans to
take. What are its needs and wants? Is it selling a long-term relationship in
a tight-supply market or selling a commodity product at a higher price in a
competitive market? Assessing these factors is crucial; you must take into account
where your company is going, what the industry and competitors are doing, and
what long-term company goals are. The final training program will only
be as effective as the amount of effort and planning that occurs at this first
stage, and everyone who will be affected by it should have input.
At this point, too, establish
a budget, draw up a time frame for completion, and gain commitment and political
buy-in from everyone who must be involved in the ensuing steps.
Step 2: Determining the
The first step in drawing
up the preliminary plan for your video is to answer these questions:
· Who is your target audience? What are their ages, educational backgrounds,
and socioeconomic levels?
· Is your production service a one-call close, or are you required to
make several sales call to gain the order?
· What is the message? What information and impression do you want your
target audience to have? How much of the video should be narrative and how much
should be examples? What kind of examples will be most useful? Are you attempting
to persuade, educate, or inform your audience?
· What script material is available? Are there articles, brochures, and
press releases that would be helpful? How should material be presented –
“bottom up” or “top down”? Should an overview be presented
· What type of production do you envision? Will you use a studio or customer-simulated
location shots, and what additional problems and expenses are associated with
each location? Will you video tape your “sales” environment
at restaurant locations, customer offices, or in sales in situations
where people are driving in their cars?
· What type of talent do you need? You can use a sales manager,
or members of your marketing organization, actors as spokespersons, actors in
roles, and voice-over narration.
· What types of props and costumes are required? Is typical business
· Do you require special effects, such as animations, computer graphics,
illustration art, and so on?
While you consider these
above questions, keep in mind the following guidelines:
· Create the need
for the training film.
· Use a familiar setting, whether it is a lab, office, conference room,
or an outdoor location.
· Hold the content to no more than five skills in any two-day training
· Don’t oversimplify or overcomplicate the skills; keep the video
tape simple without being condescending.
· Use a minimum of language; let the visual material carry the load.
· At some point, break down each skill into its parts without being overly
· Build in stops for discussion, but make sure they are subtle and natural.
· Limit stops to no more than four or five stops per 10 minutes of video
· Build in some form of test or assessment, but make it non-threatening.
· Plan how to enhance video with words, but keep in mind that words on
film are still rather expensive.
Start by preparing a four-to-six-page
overview of the idea. Include as many varying opinions as possible from all
those who contributed to the project. Does the planned execution correspond
with their needs? Do they agree with the examples? Do they feel the content
is complete? Here again, make an effort to create a sense of ownership in the
project in everyone who is involved.
Step 3: Gaining Authorization
This is a very critical
stage. The treatment you develop must be kept short, so that each party involved
will read it. And all participants must be available promptly for the project
to stay within the predetermined time frame. To control program development,
it is best to have each person indicate approval by initiating and dating each
page. Suggestions for additions, deletions, and changes in the treatment can
then proceed smoothly. Be sure to keep everyone informed of any changes made.