A Sales Course: The Professional’s Point of View and Their Learning Ritual
One of the most intriguing aspects of learning is the process of rites of passage, where each solution has its own characteristics and stages, but all share the idea that the individual undergoes a significant change during the learning process. To explore this idea, we will follow the story of two characters who are about to participate in a training on sales techniques from a large retail chain.
The young Carlos, who is preparing for his first training, and Paulo, an experienced and skeptical salesman about training, who will undergo the same training with Carlos.
Learn more about Learning Arc
The Separation Phase
The first phase of learning is separation. Carlos is taken out of his previous state (his professional responsibilities) and placed in a state of transition (the training itself). He leaves his colleagues and workplace and is taken to a different location where he will undergo a series of tests and challenges.
Paulo, on the other hand, is skeptical. He doesn’t know if the training will be just a motivational event that will leave his colleagues enthusiastic for a few weeks but won’t bring results in the long term.
To ensure that the training is effective, it is important for the instructional designer and experts to use Design for Thinking in the development of the course. This will ensure that the questions, doubts, and restrictions of experienced professionals like Paulo are addressed and answered accordingly.
The first phase of the training is dedicated to creating a welcoming and trusting environment for the students. This may include an introduction activity where students introduce themselves and share their learning objectives.
The theoretical content is presented clearly and concisely, using visual resources, examples, and practical demonstrations to make it accessible and interesting for the students.
Professionals with little experience, like Carlos, tend to simply absorb the information with curiosity and enthusiasm. While veteran professionals, like Paulo, with significant experience, tend to analyze the training material and compare it with their own real-world experiences.
The Liminality Phase
The second phase of learning is liminality. Carlos is in a state of transition, where he is no longer in his previous state but has not yet acquired the new identity, knowledge, or skill. He finds himself in a group with other salespeople who are undergoing the same training.
Paulo analyzed the first phase of training. Although he does not believe in the real effectiveness of the training, he liked the beginning and decided to dedicate himself to this next phase.
During this phase, Carlos and Paulo will be subjected to tests and challenges to prove their ability to handle everything they “need to learn” in the training. Practice is essential, and classes include practical activities so that professionals can put into practice the concepts learned:
- Group discussions: Carlos finds it very useful to share his ideas and opinions with his training colleagues. Group discussions help clarify his doubts and obtain different viewpoints on the same subject. Paulo, on the other hand, as a veteran salesperson, has a more critical approach and carefully analyzes the contributions of his colleagues to determine the effectiveness of the sales techniques discussed.
- Role-playing exercises: For Carlos, role-playing exercises are an opportunity to practice and apply the skills learned in fictional situations before facing real situations. He feels more confident and prepared to deal with sales challenges after performing these exercises. Paulo, as an experienced salesman, has a more realistic approach and sees the exercises as an opportunity to adjust his technique and enhance his persuasion skills.
- Team-building dynamics: Carlos believes that team-building dynamics help create a more collaborative and harmonious work environment. He feels more comfortable working with his training colleagues after participating in these group activities. Paulo considers team-building dynamics an opportunity to lead and influence the sales team, developing his leadership skills.
- Presentations: Carlos enjoys presenting his solutions to problems or improvement ideas, as he believes this helps develop his communication and critical thinking skills. He feels confident expressing his ideas in front of his training colleagues. Paulo, as an experienced salesman, considers presentations an opportunity to enhance his persuasion skills and improve how he presents sales solutions to clients. He also pays attention to his colleagues’ presentations to help them improve their communication skills.
Feedback is crucial for students to evaluate their performance and identify areas for improvement. The trainer provides constructive feedback and clear guidance to enhance students’ skills.
It is important to respect professional experience.
During the training process, it is essential to consider the level of experience of the professionals involved. Each of them has their unique skills and strengths, and their individuality should be valued to make the training effective. Leveling all professionals to the same standard can be a severe mistake, as more experienced professionals may find the content repetitive and dull, while less experienced ones may feel overwhelmed. This can lead to a lack of engagement and commitment, ultimately undermining the effectiveness of the process.
During this phase, Carlos sees the opportunity to make new friends and learn new things, but he is also a little disoriented. He knows he needs to prepare for the responsibilities that will come after the training, but he is not entirely sure what to expect.
Meanwhile, Paulo knows that young salespeople need guidance, and he is there to help. He knows most of what was presented in the training but found some parts particularly interesting, especially mentoring young salespeople. He believes they are ready to take on new challenges, just like him.
The instructional designer needs to take measures to ensure the safety of information and practices, but also recognize the limits of their tools in the real world. The applicability of the solution in professional life should be clear and objective, emphasizing its strengths and, more importantly, its weaknesses. Analyzing the participants’ abilities to apply these concepts in their professional lives will be the differentiator in the training’s results. Therefore, accentuating critical thinking in all phases is essential for effective solutions. Only by thinking can professionals translate the training solution into applicable actions for their realities.
The Incorporation Phase
The third and final phase of the training is the incorporation, where the professional is reintegrated into their professional life in their new state. During this phase, the professional acquires a new identity and assumes new responsibilities and privileges because they have completed the training.
For Carlos, this phase is like winning an award for the best player in a championship. He feels confident and prepared to take on his new role in the company, knowing that he has the support and acceptance of his colleagues. He is grateful for the training that provided him with new knowledge and skills and is motivated to apply them to his work routine.
Paulo, on the other hand, highlights the skills and talents of each young salesperson who participated in the training. He encourages them to get involved in the profession and take an active role from now on. Paulo also emphasizes the importance of continuous monitoring and feedback to ensure that the acquired skills are put into practice and improved over time. For him, the training was an opportunity to recall already known techniques and improve his performance as a mentor for young salespeople.
During this phase, it is essential for the trainer to reflect on everything learned during the course and summarize the key points to consolidate the acquired knowledge and reinforce the applicability of the learned skills and techniques in the real world. It is also an opportunity for students to share their reflections and clarify doubts.
After completing the training, professionals feel celebrated and recognized by their colleagues and superiors. This celebration can take various forms, such as a certificate award ceremony or a team celebration. Regardless of the chosen form, it is crucial for professionals to feel proud of themselves and all the things they have learned during the training.
In summary, the incorporation phase is a crucial moment to consolidate learning and motivate professionals to continue improving their sales skills and techniques. It is a time for celebration and recognition but also preparation for the challenges to come. Carlos and Paulo understand the importance of this phase and feel ready to apply their knowledge in their professional activities.
Rites of passage are significant events that mark the transition from one phase of life to another. In the case of sales training, professionals go through a learning arc that prepares them to face the challenges of the sales world.
The learning process consists of three phases: separation, liminality, and incorporation. Each phase has its own characteristics and stages, but they all share the idea that the individual goes through a significant change during the learning process.
Thinking operations and instructional design are essential elements for the success of sales training. This is because through these tools, it is possible to create an effective learning solution that helps professionals develop their skills and become more efficient in their roles.
Thinking operations, such as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation, are fundamental for professionals to understand and apply the concepts presented in the training to their professional lives. Through these operations, it is possible to reflect on the reality of the profession and, thus, evaluate the applicability of the concepts learned. In this way, professionals can apply the training solutions to their professional lives more effectively, increasing productivity and improving results.
Instructional design is also crucial for the success of training. Through it, it is possible to create a learning solution that meets the specific needs of professionals and the company. This means that training is planned strategically and customized to meet the specific needs of the students. Instructional design can also include interactive, dynamic, and challenging activities to help retain students’ attention, thus improving the effectiveness of training.
Therefore, the application of thinking operations and instructional design in sales technique training is extremely important to ensure the effectiveness and applicability of the learning solution. With these tools, professionals can develop and improve their skills, thus improving their ability to deal with everyday situations and achieve good results for themselves and the company.
At the end of the training, professionals should be ready to take on new challenges and face sales situations with more confidence and skill. Celebration and recognition of the achievement are important to reinforce the value of the training and motivate professionals to continue seeking constant improvement.
In summary, good sales training is an important rite of passage in the professional life of salespeople and can be a powerful tool for success in career and business.