How To Make Your Own
Sales Training Video In Six Steps - Part 1
Even with the proliferations
of corporate sales training video tapes, you may not
be able to find exactly what you want. One option is to buy or borrow
tapes that can be used in part and simply work them into the program.
This may be acceptable if you are in
control of the training and have time to develop the
rest of the program.
Another option, if budget
allows, is to hire a vendor to custom-make a video tape that exactly
suits your needs. This can either be the most or the least expensive
option. At this writing, a complete customized
program can cost from $100 to $1,000 per course participant,
depending on the number of people to be trained.
The final option is to make
your own sales training video tape. This may be the
most economical option if you have the equipment, can hire professional
talent, and will use the tape enough times for it to pay for
itself. One training manager received bids ranging from $15,000
to $30,000 for am entire training tape. She ended up making
the tape herself for $1,300 after assessing her own resources.
already had all the recording equipment she would need. She had
in-house talent to handle cameras, microphones, lights, sets, and
direction. Through a friend, she located actors at a local community
theater who worked without compensation, except for a personal copy
of the finished tape. She wrote her own script, took a course on
video production on her own time, and spent many hours developing
In the beginning, she had
no idea how much time was involved in planning, in shooting and re-shooting,
or in building and tearing down sets. Further, since a script is never shot
in sequence but rather broken down into segments that will all be shot on a
certain set, she discovered the importance of labeling each tape with the exact
page of the script so that editing would not be a nightmare.
On the whole, the video
tape suited her organization’s
needs exactly. The actual cost, not counting salaries of employees
involved, included only the blank tapes and final editing by a video
production company. She and her boss felt that the time and effort
were well spent.
in a natural gas
industry also made her own video tape using company officers
as actors. Two of the officers took retirement shortly after production
of the tape, which automatically dated it. Although she felt that
her tape was more specific to her needs than anything off the shelf,
she now strongly recommends hiring
While we could
not hope to present an entire
course on video production within these pages, we can share
the techniques and procedures that have worked for us.
Building a sales
video tape has several important sequential steps: developing
the idea, determining the treatment, gaining authorization, developing
the script and story board, production, and postproductions.
Steps 1 - 3
Step 1: Developing the
Need for the Video. Start with long discussions including sales
management, sales personnel, and company officers, and determine
the specific need the video will address. Training becomes
more effective and appealing if it is based both on sales
representatives’ statements of what they need (how to handle
price increases) and what management says it needs (why price increases
are needed). This is much more effective than basing a course solely
on what training personnel thinks the sales
team needs (to improve sales). When the sales
team has a sense of “ownership” in the project, it will
support the training program and help to achieve management
Consider Long-Range Factors.
Equally important at this stage is the future direction the company plans to
take. What are its needs and wants? Is it selling a long-term relationship in
a tight-supply market or selling a commodity product at a higher price in a
competitive market? Assessing these factors is crucial; you must take into account
where your company is going, what the industry and competitors are doing, and
what long-term company goals are. The final training program will only
be as effective as the amount of effort and planning that occurs at this first
stage, and everyone who will be affected by it should have input.
At this point, too, establish
a budget, draw up a time frame for completion, and gain commitment and political
buy-in from everyone who must be involved in the ensuing steps.
Step 2: Determining the
The first step in drawing
up the preliminary plan for your video is to answer these questions:
· Who is your target audience? What are their ages, educational backgrounds,
and socioeconomic levels?
· Is your production service a one-call close, or are you required to
make several sales call to gain the order?
· What is the message? What information and impression do you want your
target audience to have? How much of the video should be narrative and how much
should be examples? What kind of examples will be most useful? Are you attempting
to persuade, educate, or inform your audience?
· What script material is available? Are there articles, brochures, and
press releases that would be helpful? How should material be presented –
“bottom up” or “top down”? Should an overview be presented
· What type of production do you envision? Will you use a studio or customer-simulated
location shots, and what additional problems and expenses are associated with
each location? Will you video tape your “sales” environment
at restaurant locations, customer offices, or in sales in situations
where people are driving in their cars?
· What type of talent do you need? You can use a sales
manager, or members of your marketing organization, actors as
spokespersons, actors in roles, and voice-over narration.
· What types of props and costumes are required? Is typical business
· Do you require special effects, such as animations, computer graphics,
illustration art, and so on?
While you consider these
above questions, keep in mind the following guidelines:
· Create the need
for the training film.
· Use a familiar setting, whether it is a lab, office, conference room,
or an outdoor location.
· Hold the content to no more than five skills in any two-day training
· Don’t oversimplify or overcomplicate the skills; keep the video
tape simple without being condescending.
· Use a minimum of language; let the visual material carry the load.
· At some point, break down each skill into its parts without being overly
· Build in stops for discussion, but make sure they are subtle and natural.
· Limit stops to no more than four or five stops per 10 minutes of video
· Build in some form of test or assessment, but make it non-threatening.
· Plan how to enhance video with words, but keep in mind that words on
film are still rather expensive.
Start by preparing a four-to-six-page
overview of the idea. Include as many varying opinions as possible
from all those who contributed to the project. Does the planned
execution correspond with
their needs? Do they agree with the examples? Do they feel the
content is complete? Here again, make an effort to create a sense
of ownership in the project in everyone who is involved.
Step 3: Gaining Authorization
This is a very critical
stage. The treatment you develop must be kept short, so that each party involved
will read it. And all participants must be available promptly for the project
to stay within the predetermined time frame. To control program development,
it is best to have each person indicate approval by initiating and dating each
page. Suggestions for additions, deletions, and changes in the treatment can
then proceed smoothly. Be sure to keep everyone informed of any changes made.