More from the archives. This originally was posted in November 2009 on The Total Learner Experience.
This post is a “conversation” held in Google Wave between Dolly Joseph and Brandon Carson (two of our bloggers). Until we can embed actual waves in this blog platform, we will copy-and-paste interesting back-and-forth dialog.
BRANDON: Typical sales training provides principles, criteria, and process for making the sale. In many instances a a video demonstrating the optimum application of those factors is what is used to try and achieve behavior change. These videos are primarily from the viewpoint of the expert, however. Why not try using social media applications to provide two more perspectives: that of the salesperson being trained, and that of the customer receiving the sales pitch?
DOLLY: Why not use a game? I have some recollection of some game (perhaps from The Sims) as you did different actions you got rapid feedback– so as your avatar smiled or said the other character’s name you earned points, but as you gave negative feedback you would lose those points. How about if as a sales person you didn’t know what the other customer wanted exactly. It’s part of the salesperson/player to figure it out– what their trigger points are. In a sense it’s a sophisticated 20 questions.
BRANDON: Good point. I like the idea of making it more game-like.
DOLLY: What would be motivating game rewards for sales people? Would they need to IRL rewards, or could they be contained with a larger game framework?
BRANDON: Sales people have a small window of patience for “games”. However, they do thrive on competition and “winning”. I think reward can be as simple as executive/leadership recognition all the way to financial compensation. A competitive game arcade was used at Intuit as a sales education tool, and the primary reward mechanism was simply the leaderboard and a “weekly top scorer” notification that was sent out to everyone in the sales organization.
DOLLY: Maybe they could earn vacation time. That would be motivating for me. ;). I could see this being a great tool for new hires who don’t have a great deal of sales experience.
BRANDON: Exactly. The first video can serve as the model. Modeling behavior from the perspective of an expert is a great way to demonstrate to the learner the expected outcomes. New hires need scaffolding to help them practice and understand the complex skills needed for mastery.
DOLLY: Well if we are trying to promote peer to peer learning, then the salespeople should upload their own suggestions or trials. Is there a way for them to do this?
BRANDON: Sure! Successful salespeople could record their own responses. Have the learner use a webcam or Flipcam to provide their response. Have them upload the response to a video community (YouTube, or an internal “video-on-demand” platform if you have it). Using social media utilities such as ratings and comments, the cohort of learners can view each other’s responses and provide feedback. The experts can also view and rate the practice videos and provide their input as well.
DOLLY: Salespeople who upload videos can receive points. More experienced salespeople could mentor new hires and receive points. If it’s modeled like YouTube, then the more views or comments you get, the more points you get. Of course what we are describing is a closed circuit. You’re not getting any input from the actual customer base.
BRANDON: Another video can provide perspectives from the client receiving the sales pitch. You can consider using actual customers who have viewed the first and second videos, or you can assemble “actors” and use case studies from the field. I would think it’s key to use real-life experiences whenever possible. Authenticity is a key factor in this type of activity. This unlimited back-and-forth between learners, experts, and even customers provides practice opportunities not possible in a classroom.
DOLLY: What if the best videos became part of the companies marketing plan? Spotlight on top performers. The game makes a genuine leap to real life.
BRANDON: Great idea! I like that.