What is a sales workshop? Well, according to Wikipedia: "A sales workshop (or session) is a meeting or presentation by an impartial third party, usually a salesperson, in which ideas for sales improvement are exchanged and strategies for achieving the objectives of a sales activity are presented. The objectivity of such workshops is to enhance sales performance by identifying and overcoming problems that are commonly encountered." Sounds good, right? Well, maybe not, because in order to know what works, you have to know what doesn't work, and there may be some very common objections or misunderstandings that can arise from such workshops. This article discusses the common objections that salespeople usually face during workshops and provides simple solutions for them to overcome these objections and improve their sales performance.
Sales workshops are normally conducted by salespeople who want to share various tips and tricks on the best ways to improve their sales process. Typically, they come together from their own organization, as well as from other departments within the company; they come with the expectation that by sharing their ideas, they will be able to collectively gain insight on how the entire organization can improve its sales performance. However, it is important to remember that sales workshops are not entirely free of cost; some of them require the hiring of experts, and depending on the salesperson conducting the workshop, there may be costs associated with travel, hotel accommodations, meals, etc., that are not reflected in the quoted budget.
Common complaints from sales people about sales workshops are that the organizers tend to put a lot of pressure on them, and that the information provided is usually of very low quality. It is also important to note that sales workshops are not free of cost; there may be certain costs associated with conducting a sales workshop expenses such as hotels, travel, meals, etc., that are not reflected in the quoted budget. Sales people often worry that attending sales workshops will make it hard to get new leads. Nothing could be further from the truth. Salespeople who attend these workshops receive information and training that will help them to acquire new skills and improve on existing skills; the only thing that will prevent them from acquiring new leads is if the new leads have not been generated through these workshops.
Another problem that is faced by sales representatives at sales workshops is that they feel intimidated by others in the field. The sales managers at the workshops will often remind the sales representatives attending them to remain professional, calm, and to avoid feeling as if they are being drawn into a tug-of-war. They will also stress that sales teams need to work as a unit and that by acting like a cohesive unit, sales representatives can increase their sales efficiency and productivity. As mentioned earlier, most sales teams that make use of sales workshops do so because they believe that doing so will help them accomplish their goals more quickly. In order to effectively help their sales teams succeed, sales managers must provide them with comprehensive training sessions that cover all aspects of sales activities from identifying sales opportunities to implementing strategies and tactics.
Another benefit of attending a sales workshop is that it provides the sales managers with an opportunity to build on their strengths. If you feel as though your skills are lagging behind those of your peers or even those of a former colleague, a one-on-one workshop can allow you to hone your skills and work on those areas in which you have struggled. It is also a great opportunity to build rapport with other sales managers. If others find that you are easy to talk with and that you possess a genuine interest in improving your sales performance, you are likely to receive positive feedback from the entire sales organization, which is something that no amount of self-study alone may be able to guarantee.
Another positive benefit of a sales workshop is that it allows you to connect with other sales people. It is not uncommon for sales people to attend a workshop organized by the organization that they work for; conversely, there are also instances when a sales person can receive helpful input from sales people who are not associated with their own organization. Either way, it is possible to develop relationships with individuals who may have previously been difficult to make contact with, regardless of how well-versed they were in their field. By associating with other sales people during a workshop, a manager is afforded the opportunity to better understand sales topics and become more well-versed in these topics so that they can effectively communicate to their peers.
A sales workshop can be used in a number of different ways. One of the most common ways is for a manager to attend and deliver a memoqfest to their team on the topics of yesterday's meeting. While attending, a manager can use their time to further enlighten those listening with a Q&A session. In addition to clarifying sales topics, a memoqfest can also provide a means to build relationships with individuals throughout the sales organization, thereby contributing to the overall success of the company. By regularly attending and hosting a memoqfest, a manager demonstrates their commitment to excellence, leadership, and organizational direction, and by regularly participating in the memoqfest, a manager shows their commitment to learning and improving. A successful manager understands the value of investing in their own growth - by attending and hosting a sales workshop every six months or so, managers not only learn more about the issues facing their teams, but they also create opportunities to share their knowledge with others in the company.
While a sales manager may think they already know everything there is to know about sales, in many cases they are right! Every individual on a team has a different skill set and different areas of expertise. Thus, a sales manager needs to find a way to connect with these individuals on an intuitive level in order to make progress on the organization's behalf. By attending a sales process improvement workshop, a manager can create a personal connection with the rest of his team by simply sharing with them what has been going well and what has been going poorly with their departments. They can also learn valuable lessons about processes that will allow them to build a stronger and more profitable relationship with each other in the future.