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Sales Training Handbook

Video and Film

"Right Way” Versus “Wrong Way” Examples

As part of the video training process, it is critical to show incorrect ways in which things may be handled. Surprisingly, many sales representatives, as well as their managers, do not actually recognize what has been done wrong, despite many training experiences. In several tests, we asked experienced sales personnel to evaluate a deliberately flawed sales call as a program benchmark. Virtually unanimously, they agreed that it had been a “great call” in each experiment and could therefore see no need for the training. “Right way” versus “wrong way” examples can illustrate the specific flows in a sales presentation and show how salespeople may be causing some of their own problems with difficult customers.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Video and Film

Many trainers like to use film or video because they are effective for modeling behavioral skills, and the combinations of sight and sound can accelerate learning. In fact, one study indicated that learning visual identification, concepts, principles, procedures, skilled perceptual motor acts, as well as developing desirable attitudes and opinions, increased significantly with motion pictures. 3 With film or video, you can demonstrate and model individual skills separately or together. In either case, films or tapes can be replayed as often as needed. They can carry part of the instructional load as well as being a vehicle for skill recognition.

Film and video provide the excitement of continuous action, which slides, transparencies, or filmstrips cannot. For example, imagine how much the children’s show “Sesame Street” would lose as a slide show.

Another general advantage of film/video is that it can help to ensure high-quality instruction. Many sales trainers have no formal background in either sales or training and must rely heavily on professionally prepared visual productions.

3 Jack Anzman, and Kenneth J. Dunn, Using Instructional Media Effectively (West Nyack, NY: Parker, 1971), p. 157

Visual productions can also demonstrate models of effective body language and tone of voice, which is important since up to 90 percent of a sales representative’s success depends upon his or her visual image. Video or film can provide a large number of delivery skills that project confidence and believability, illustrate techniques for being aggressive in a strange territory, and demonstrate how to produce results. Specifically, we can demonstrate the right ways to:

· Assume a natural yet authoritative stance..
· Use natural hand gestures, including both what to do and what not to do with the hands.
· Control vocal delivery with pauses or inflection for reinforcement of a point for emphasis..
· Handle discussions with clients.
· Listen for customer cues.
· Maintain eye contact.
· Restate questions.
· Answer questions succinctly without rambling

The possibilities of video or film are as limitless as the needs of the sales staff.

Film: The Preferred Choice for Large Groups and “Top-Quality” Productions

Film is the natural choice when the audience or training group is large. Obviously, 50 to 100 people cannot conveniently view one TV monitor, and having several monitors in one meeting location may be impossible. Even when several monitors are available, the inevitability of chair movement while each participant locates a spot with a clear view is disruptive to the flow of the presentation. The need for a single screen may dictate the use of a film presentation.

Another strength of film over video, though this may not remain true in the future, is quality. Film has a wider “contrast range.” That is, it can capture more detail in dark areas. It has higher resolution, more sharpness, and more color saturation. If, for example, you need depth of field for an outdoor shot in the shade, film gives better results. The technical sophistication of the viewing audience might be consideration when you make a choice between film or video.

A final consideration is standardization of size. Film and film projectors come in relatively few sizes.

The disadvantages of film, however, deserve careful consideration. Film is generally more expensive to produce than video, by as much as four times. It takes separate crews to handle the film and sound. If cost is no concern, filming will produce better quality in the master which can them be converted to video. Special effects can be added at that point; putting words on video is cheaper than on film.

Film, too, is less convenient to stop for stills since it was not designed to “freeze” as a frame. The ability to stop is critical in either role modeling or in replaying an individual sales representative’s role playing. If you want to discuss a part of a film, you have to wait for the mechanical winding down of a machine, which is not as immediate as stopping a video player. If a film breaks during a presentation, it is not as convenient to have an extra reel of film as it is to have an extra video cartridge. It is also more expensive to duplicate film than video. Further, it is almost comical to reverse a film. Replaying a certain segment, over which there may have been confusion or questions, is also somewhat difficult.

After lectures (which we believe still occupy too much of the time in typical training programs), video is the most popular training method. In a study compiled by Training magazine, video surpassed films in actual use by more than 80 percent of the trainers in organizations with more than 50 employees. The amount of use and percentages are shown in Table 1. 4

Table 1 Training Method use in organizations of more than 50 employees
Lectures…………………….81.8
Video Tapes…………………80.5
One-On-One Instruction…….62.2
Role Plays……………………45.1
Case Studies………………….41.5
Films…………………………47.4
Self-assessment instruments…35.8
Noncomputerized self-study…..27.6

While each method has value, we argue for greater use of active methods over passive and, in particular, for greater use of video in role playing, case studies, and self-assessment.

4 Jack Gordon, “Where Training Goes,: Training, Vol.23 (10) (October 1986), p. 60.

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