Sales Systems Development, Inc.™ Training Programs
Professional Selling and Merchandising Strategies™
Six Skill Building Modules

A photo showing the training materials included with the Sales Systems Development 'Professional Selling and Merchandising Strategies' Training Prorogram

Training Program Goals:

The overall goals of the Professional Selling and Merchandising Strategies training program is to provide direct store delivery beverage, beer, wine and spirits suppliers and distributors a practical series of selling and merchandising skills training modules. The program is structured so sales managers within those organizations can effectively train sales personnel in how to sell retail and on-premise customers.

Specific Training Program Objectives:

  1. Establish throughout client operations a common organizational language, methodology and procedures for the performance of critical sales and merchandising functions. The common language would result in more focused planning, communication, training and evaluation throughout the organization.
  2. Create an internal sales training capability within the company to professionally conduct formal sales training seminars and programs to include:
  3. Implement a system for the training of sales and management personnel that:
  4. Provide training program materials that can:

Structure

The Professional Selling and Merchandising Strategies Training Program is structured into six modules each of which is three to four hours in length. Each module is supported by a Trainer’s Guide or lesson plan, visual aids — Power Point™ slides, facilitation activities and discussion questions, and participant workbook/note-taking outlines. The Trainer’s Guide/Lesson Plan provides complete direction to the trainer on how to conduct each workshop module and includes (1) discussion questions to generate participation, (2) group activities and (3) structured role-plays and other practice exercises to build selling skills. Professional Selling and Merchandising Strategies is the most comprehensive training program ever made available to companies who sell to retail or on-premise customers. The program has been widely tested and has been used by many of the clients noted on the Sales Systems Development, Inc. client list.

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TRAINING MODULE #1: Role and Responsibilities of a Sales Representative — Time & Territory Management

A few sample pages of Module #1 Training Guide/Lesson Plan (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader version 6.0 or better)

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TRAINING MODULE #2: Preparing and Delivering Effective Sales Presentations

A few sample pages of Module #2 Training Guide/Lesson Plan (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader version 6.0 or better)

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TRAINING MODULE #3: Building Customer Relationships — Interpersonal Skills & Sales Communication

A few sample pages of Module #3 Training Guide/Lesson Plan (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader version 6.0 or better)

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TRAINING MODULE #4: Answering Customer Questions, Concerns and Objections

A few sample pages of Module #4 Training Guide/Lesson Plan (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader version 6.0 or better)

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TRAINING MODULE #5: The Fundamentals of Merchandising

A few sample pages of Module #5 Training Guide/Lesson Plan (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader version 6.0 or better)

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TRAINING MODULE #6: Managing the Shelf and Cold Box

A few sample pages of Module #6 Training Guide/Lesson Plan (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader version 6.0 or better)

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Professional Selling and Merchandising Strategies
Program Elements & Structure

The Professional Selling & Merchandising Strategies sales training modules have five primary elements:

  1. Training Module Guides or Lesson Plans
    The guides are lesson plans for use by the manager/instructor, which contain the scripts and directions needed to conduct each training module. There are six separate module training guides or lesson plans.
  2. Visual Aids — PowerPoint™ Slides
    These visuals are specifically selected to emphasize key learning points, maintain interest, and serve as an aid to the individual conducting the training workshop.
  3. Facilitation Activities and Discussion Questions
    Discussion questions and group projects are built into the flow of each training module to insure the high level of interaction essential to achieving learning goals in groups with experienced personnel.
  4. Participant Workbooks/Note-Taking Outlines
    Note-taking handbooks have been developed for use by salespeople for each of the six topics covered in the Professional Selling and Merchandising Strategies program. These handbooks are designed to enable each participant to take organized notes during the training workshop. At the conclusion of the series of meetings, your salespeople will have, as a permanent reference, a sales training manual.
  5. Follow-up tests for each module to check each person’s understanding of the Professional Selling and Merchandising Strategies content and concepts.

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#1 Training Guide and Lesson Plan

Teaching Script and Directions for the Trainer…
The module guide/lesson plan contains the script for the instructor. Everything you need to say in the session appears in 18-point font, sentence case, black letters. For example, from the module on “Fundamentals of Merchandising” the following would be available…

Example of Script for Trainer:

In addition, key phrases are highlighted in bold (as above) so the trainer can look down at the lesson plan and see important points from which to speak and develop the quality of the training session.

The script provides the trainer with the content support needed to prepare and conduct each workshop. The script is not intended to be “read” to the group, but rather as a resource to help the trainer incorporate their own personal style and “real life” personal, industry examples.

Directions to the Trainer
On the other hand, instructions on what to do, how to direct the group, and the responses to expect from the group appear in 12-POINT FONT, UPPER CASE, GREEN LETTERS (in materials printed in color).

Example of Directions to Trainer:

The directions to the trainer will include:

  1. When to show a PowerPoint™ slide and provide direction on how the slide is to be used — “progressive disclosure,” etc.
  2. Whether to discuss or develop specific points on the slide or the slide topic in general.
  3. When a spontaneous flip chart is to be used and if group discussion is to be developed.
  4. When to write on a chart to emphasize key points.
  5. How to structure group discussions, team projects or role-play practice exercises, to include the time allotted for each activity.

The directions provided the trainers conducting the Professional Selling & Merchandising Strategies workshops also include an agenda. The agenda, which is the first page of each of the six training modules, shows the following:

Agendas

  1. Define each of the teaching segments of the workshop. A “segment,” in terms of instruction design, is defined as a “unit of instruction to which the elements of the teaching process are applied.”
  2. The time allotted for each segment is shown as a guide for the flow of the training workshop. The emphasis is on the times as a guide, not a rule. The ebb, flow and priorities should be different for each location and group.
  3. The sub-topics for each segment are shown so each location can make decisions on whether a given topic should be given higher or lower priority based on portfolio focus or market situations.

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#2 Visual Aids…

There are two primary types of visual aids — PowerPoint™ slides and flip charts for spontaneous or visuals prepared in advance. The type of visual aid is indicated in the left margin of the lesson plan text by the use of specific markings.

  1. The PowerPoint™ slides the trainer will use for each training module are designated in the training guides or lesson plans by an illustration of an LCD projector indicated as follows:
  2. The actual PowerPoint™ slides will be shown in the trainer’s guide with a number that corresponds to the number of the slide on the screen as follows:

  3. Spontaneous visuals are visuals that the trainer develops on flip charts to emphasize key ideas or to record comments from the group during discussions. Spontaneous flip charts are indicated by a broken or dotted line. Suggested comments to expect from the group are often indicated within the frame as follows:
  4. The directions to the trainer also suggest in several instances, that a permanent visual be prepared and posted on the wall for continuing reference during the workshop.

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#3 Facilitation Activities and Discussion Questions

Discussion questions and facilitation activities are built into each training module to insure high levels of participation and interaction are achieved. Participation is an essential ingredient for successful training programs. The contributions of the group either through discussions, group projects or practice application exercises are what make:

  1. The program relevant to the local market and supplier portfolio;
  2. Time go faster and more enjoyably for the group as ideas and experiences are exchanged and new learning produced; and
  3. Permit participants to develop skills and apply the training in a practical manner that produces results later in accounts.

Discussion questions are indicated by the symbol in the left margin. Anticipated responses and visuals to teach the ideas and promote further discussion often follow. For example from the “Fundamentals of Merchandising” module…

Activities are all introduced through directions to the instructor in the manner outlined earlier. The activities include:

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#4 Participant Workbooks/Note-Taking Outlines

The participant workbooks or note-taking outlines are designed to enable each participant to take organized notes during the training. The workbooks also serve to increase levels of attention, retention and understanding of the content and concepts within each module. Evidence has proven that note taking increases retention and understanding compared to simply listening to the instruction.

At the conclusion of the series of modules, your salespeople will have the workbooks as a permanent reference. The workbooks can also serve as training tools for new personnel when hired.

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#5 Follow-up Tests and Answer Keys provided for each module

A comprehensive quiz is provided with over 50 questions to check the understanding and comprehension of the concepts and content contained in the six modules. Below are examples of questions from each module.

Click to view a higher resolution version of the sample Professional Selling and Merchandising Strategies test (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader version 6.0 or better)

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