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Sales Consulting and Training: Sales Training Handbook

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.

Her company 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 the specific plan.

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.

Another trainer 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 professional actors.

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 training 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 idea

Clarify Specific, Immediate 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 goals.

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 Treatment

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 first?
· 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 dress appropriate?
· 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 session.
· 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 repetitious.
· 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 tape.
· 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.

Purchasing Videotaped Material - Page 6 Make Your Own Training Video, Part II - Page 8
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