But Selling Learning Doesn’t Have to be This Way

You can sell your ideas without pushing them down learners’ throats.

Here are some sales techniques that top sales companies use very successfully.  I have converted them to learning situations.

Sales Technique #1Make learners feel special.

This weekend I leafed through the early Christmas offers but I started to find examples of how companies made their Customers feel special

                “So, we’re absolutely thrilled to offer you privileged access to a pure Sauvignon normally set aside for close friends of the Nobilo family”

My example:  “This course is being made available to those who have been chosen to change the future in this company”

Making people feel special is a scarcity these days.

How can you make your learners feel part of an exclusive club?

Sales Technique #2.  Share your secrets

Wine merchants like sharing insider knowledge.

Ásk a sommelier, wine critic or trade professional to name their favourite white grape and chances are they’ll say ‘Riesling.”

My example: “In the Modlette I will share some of the coaching secrets of one of the world’s most experienced rugby coaches”.

When you tell learners how to do something you’re not undermining your position.  You’re building trust.  You’re sharing the magic sauce that will make them successful.

Sales Technique #3.  Tap into desires

Do you think we drink wine just to quench our thirst?  Or to make our food taste better?

Think again.  A wine catalogue taps into deeper human desires, such as enjoyment and social approval

We were grinning from ear to ear when we tasted this, and so will you.

or –

These aren’t the bottles to open if you want your Christmas guests to go home any time soon!

Selling a product or a service is often about a transformation.  How do you make your clients feel better, happier, safer, or more in control?

Your clients when you’re training are your learners.  How can you give them a sense of belonging?

Sales Tecnique #4 Tell stories

What’s not to like about stories?

Stories transfer us to a different world.  They let us visualise a specific scene or experience a journey.

                Andy is having a frustrating day and retail selling had never had less appeal.  He was late to work as the bus was full and he had to wait for the next one.

                It was just on Andy’s lunch time when the little old lady approached his counter.  He gave himself a mental punch and greeted her in his best manner.  She didn’t know what she wanted and seemed to be very vague.

                Andy used his questioning technique and finally managed to satisfy her and she left apparently very happy.

                “Silly old thing”, Andy said, but not too loud.  He was very hungry and the sale had taken nearly an hour.

                Next day, at ten o’clock he was called up to the manager’s office.  Full of foreboding, and trying to think what he must have done wrong he arrived in Mrs York’s office and there was the little old lady standing beside Mrs York.

                Andy’s heart beat faster, he could feel sweat under his armpits.

Mrs York spoke: “This is Mrs Rosberg.  She is a major shareholder in our company and she has something to say to you.”

                Here it comes, thought Andy.

“Thank you, Andy, for being such a patient young man with a dithering old lady.  I have asked Mrs York to send you on a special training as I think you have great potential in our company.”

                You could have blown Andy over with a feather.

And so, the story completes with the importance of personal service to all Customers.

How can you include stories in your training design?

  • Turn boring case studies into engaging business stories
  • Include mini-stories like Andy’s in your openings.


“(our) selling is not about the art of persuasion.  Instead, the best kind of selling emerges naturally from your genuine interest in the person you’re working with and your sincere desire to be of use.” [Tim Hurson and Tim Dunn (from their book “Never Be Closing”.)]

Do you not think, these sales techniques apply to how we design training around our learners?

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