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Ideating and Innovating: Could You Have This Conversation With Your Business Partner?

Imagine this conversation…

The “Business Partner” (BP): I have this sales team. A clear differentiator between good and great sales consultants is their ability to handle questions and objections around the competition. We need to build those skills so that we can close more business.  I need training.

You: I’d love to hear more about what those skills are.  However, if I had to give you some ideas, we can design and build a really immersive class with realistic scenarios.

BP: Nope. No travel budget. Global audience. Back to the drawing board…

You: What if we did a virtual cohort, using breakout sessions that allow people to practice?

BP: We could…but it’s never really like the real thing, and half the time conversations during the breakout sessions derail and we end up never really practicing the skills we truly need to develop.

You: We could design and create a structured manager guide, complete with role-play scenarios and meeting agenda topics, and the two individuals can practice together during their 1:1 conversations.

BP: I like how it’s getting into the workflow, but it’s still rather subjective. What if the manager doesn’t even have the right skills to coach on how to perfect those competitive objections?

You: Good point. What about a video coaching platform where we can create immersive challenges that sales consultants respond via video?

BP: Tell me more…

You: We can create those rich sales scenarios and even produce videos of what the customer would say to a sales consultant. Then, we would challenge the sales consultants to respond to the customer as if they were talking to the customer using their webcam or phone. Once a consultant uploads the video, she can assess herself against a rubric of how to overcome a competitive objection. We can have the consultants assess each other, which then even drives some competition with a leaderboard. We can even film one of our best sales consultant to show “what good looks like.” We can have a series of challenges that we launch every couple of weeks.

BP: Yes, that. Do that. Is it expensive?

You: How about we pilot it with one small team? See how it works at minimal cost. We can benchmark their sales and then track them over the next month or two to see if it moved the needle and is worth investment.

BP: Count me in.

Notice that the Learning Professional was able to ideate several options and help the business partner really think through what he was trying to achieve.  It’s all about expanding your thinking and going beyond what you are comfortable writing, designing and deploying.  Go from order-taker to innovator and ideator.  Start by growing your learning activity toolbox today!

About the Authors

Britney Cole
Britney is a learning leader with experience in organization development, human performance, and corporate learning and has worked remotely, managing virtual teams for more than a decade. Britney lives in Minnesota with her husband and three small children (ages 5, 7 and 8) where she keeps warm with plenty of blankets and cozy hats. She likes to talk, so you might see her at learning conferences as a speaker. Britney has provided consulting for clients in the financial services, pharmaceutical, steel, chemical, media, technology, retail, manufacturing, and aerospace industries. She forms lasting partnerships with her clients helping them with learning design and architecture, content development, leadership and professional development, performance consulting, technology implementation, and change management. Most recently, she is helping pioneer new experiential learning methods and defining learning 3.0 taxonomy.

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