Repetition is Good, but Varied Repetition is Better in Sales Training
Do you ever find yourself needing to repeat yourself because people aren’t grasping what you’re trying to teach them? You’ve said the same thing multiple times and they still aren’t getting it. Here’s the thing about repetition in learning:
Repetition helps people learn new material, but the key is to do so without coming across as repetitive. Virtual and online sales training offers an opportunity to get creative in teaching new sales concepts and skills, including repeating information to ensure sales reps retain what they’ve learned. We take advantage of this technique through varied repetition in our Modern Sales Foundations (MSF) training program. If storytelling keeps sellers engaged in sales training programs, infusing varied repetition takes learning a step further.
One of the fears people have when they buy something is determining whether it will work or not. If you’re investing in sales training programs for your team, then the concern is if you and your colleagues can’t remember a concept, there’s no way you’ll be able to utilize it. Though repetition is the main way to remember and learn a concept, you have to use it in an interesting way. One of the fastest ways to get someone to zone out is to simply repeat the same information in the same way over and over. So, the good ole “tell ‘em what you’re going to tell ‘em, tell ‘em, and tell ‘em what you told ‘em” strategy isn’t good enough when it comes to complex ideas.
How Varied Repetition is Incorporated in a Sales Training Program
In our sales training program, we stacked the deck in our learner’s favor by using this kind of secret, unnoticeable way to repeat yourself. Here’s how we use varied repetition in Modern Sales Foundations: We bake four “touches” into each module to ensure learners see, hear, and absorb key concepts.
Touch #1: Viewers watch our energetic hosts, Marc and Milly, introduce, define, and briefly discuss the new concept. This is like the textbook definition coming to life. Then…
Touch #2: Learners watch a fictional TV show featuring a character who needs to utilize the concept. The character (and viewer) receives a deeper explanation of the specific situation the sales rep is dealing with, along with help preparing to utilize the concept. After that…
Touch #3: Learners observe the rep put what they’ve learned into practice. This touch is especially useful from an instructional design standpoint because we show the rep navigating typical curveballs a customer may throw their way or pitfalls a rep must be aware of. And finally…
Touch #4: To finish the module, learners watch an after show discussion where the authors of the course talk about the concept. We can cover the subject from different angles this way and provide additional context, which can be very helpful.
These four touches present a lot of seeing and hearing the same idea but notice how it’s conveyed in various manners. It’s not the exact same thing presented over and over again in the same way. We start by (1) simply defining the concept. Then, we (2) journey into a fictional universe where a relatable character struggling with a common situation must utilize the concept. To do so, they require an expanded, contextualized definition of the concept. From there, learners get a “how to” lesson as the rep prepares. Then, (3) learners actually see the fruits of the rep’s efforts as they engage with a customer and put the idea into practice. And finally, (4) learners hear the authors of the program discuss the lesson.
Modern Sales Foundations Weaves Together Storytelling and Varied Repetition
In the learning module that covers “Resolving Concerns” (the concept formerly known as “Overcoming Objections”), learners first hear Marc and Milly introduce and define the step-by-step strategy for resolving concerns. With this first touch it’s less about context and more about providing the basic nuts and bolts. The fictional AirCo team demonstrates a deeper explanation of our process for resolving buyer concerns in the context of a situation one of the sales reps, Kevin, faces. Kevin’s manager, George, helps him prepare to use the method to resolve a prospect’s concerns. Kevin then takes the suggested steps to resolve concerns during a sales discovery meeting with the prospect.
Just like our viewers, Kevin is learning a new sales method for the first time. Kevin wants to understand what’s he learning and asks questions until he has the confidence he needs to utilize the strategy in the situation at hand. And, of course, his manager helps him understand and prepare for the upcoming meeting.
Varied Repetition is an Effective Learning Technique
We present concepts through an intentional method of varied repetition to ensure learners have a working knowledge of the methodology. This prepares them for effective sales coaching and guidance from their company’s sales leadership, which in turn sets them up to quickly begin utilizing the MSF “buyer-centric” selling methodology with live customers and prospects.
While sales isn’t brain surgery, it’s still a pretty hard job. And while making a sale is not a life-or-death situation, you still want to hit the nail right on the head (wrong metaphor?). In their journey to performing specific brain surgery, a would-be surgeon must read about the procedure (Touch #1), watch the procedure (Touch #2), practice the procedure on a cadaver (Touch #3), and assist during a live procedure (Touch #4) before they are even allowed to consider tackling the procedure on their own in real life. By the time they’re ready to slice that head open and start hacking away, they’ve experienced that procedure so many times they can probably do it with their eyes closed – not recommended.
If varied repetition works for would-be brain surgeons, chances are it’ll work for your sales reps. Try this technique the next time you’re trying to convey a complex idea in sales training. You’ll give your reps a better shot at remember the concept and in turn utilizing it.
A Modern Training Approach for Your Sales Team
Varied repetition is one aspect that separates sales training programs like MSF from others that tend to be less effective. Reps learn what to do by hearing how to do it, seeing a fictional team prepare to do it and doing it, and then it’s reinforced through an after-show discussion with the program creators. Modern sales training requires a modern approach, including varied repetition, to reach and engage today’s sales reps.
Provide your team with an enjoyable, Netflix-style experience for sales skill development. Learn more about the multiple touches and various forms of repetition presented in Modern Sales Foundations. Explore our virtual sales training program here.