Sales Training and Enablement Specialist at Pandora brought in the BraveSpace team to work with the Pandora Inside Sales Team on improving their soft skills with a focus on active listening and adaptability. They had tried lots of approaches in the past, but had never tried improv-based learning.
The ultimate goals going in were to improve the sales team’s abilities to be comfortable with the uncomfortable, improve listening skills during client calls, pivot in the moment based on client responses and to cross-collaborate effectively with other teams. Some of the big challenges prior to the training was the inside sales team’s ability to truly listen to the client, get off-script, pivot in the moment and get comfortable with the uncomfortable. They were listening to respond instead listening to actually listen to the client.
In order to meet the challenges, Pandora chose the unique approach of improv-based training because they thought it would enable the inside sales team to get out of their comfort zones and also be more engaging than traditional training. They wanted a program that put the new skills into practice and encouraged team collaboration and resiliency.
BraveSpace created a customized, experiential based workshop for Pandora focused on:
Resilience and Adaptability.
Client Interactions-Communication Skills.
Empathy-Putting the Client’s needs first.
Pivoting and Navigating Conversations-Getting off-script.
The Pandora Sales team and Managers were willing and open to the new experience. Everyone jumped in with a good level of vulnerability. Once everyone was warmed up, participants begin letting go and allowing for the experience to enable discoveries. Using improvisational tools and techniques, BraveSpace Facilitators helped participants practice:
Saying Yes - When you acknowledge and accept what someone offers you, you allow for more ideas to grow and flourish. People appreciate the sheer fact that you took in what they had to say, and you will reap many benefits in return. Saying “No, because” or “Yes, but” is the equivalent of shutting someone “the person” down completely. Saying “No” generates a threat response and creates a form of social avoidance, thus limiting your ability to influence others as they seek to avoid experiencing rejection.
Active Listening - In spite of how critical active listening is, when salespeople are interacting with their prospects, many tend to talk too much. Truth is, good listening is hard to master because it requires practice and creating the time and space to develop the skill set. When people can feel what it’s like to truly be listened to, they can understand why it is one of the most powerful sales tools you can have today. Participants were taken through scenarios that align with their true day to day and then we applied active listening techniques allowing them to practice and experience alternative outcomes.
Trust - Vulnerability based trust, willingness to be wrong, say I’m sorry, or the intentional subornation of personal agendas propels the performance of teams because of the sense of safety and support this generates in a team environment. Simply put, trusting teams show up authentically, give more of themselves, take prudent risks, collaborate freely, innovate by not holding back ideas, and operate from a position of personal confidence than from personal security.
Since the training, Pandora sales management have seen more collaboration across teams as sellers are reaching out to sellers in other office locations to pull from experience and gain input. They are anxious to review sales performance metrics over the next month and quarter to see where quota-attainment is compared to before training. They will also look at quality interactions with clients and how that has changed both from a quantitative and qualitative standpoint.