What Can Sales Training Learn from Sports Video Motion Analysis?

Sports coaches have long used video to analyze and improve athlete performance. They’ve gone beyond the basics – re-watching a game or individual performance – to detailed analysis of tasks and biomechanics. Sales professionals often rely on sports analogies for motivation, but sales coaches still rely on in-person “ride-alongs” and other in-person approaches to evaluate a sales rep’s performance. They offer advice that focuses mainly on what went wrong. Perhaps it’s time for sales coaches to borrow sports coaching techniques as well?

Video Motion Analysis Defined

Software systems can let sports coaches mark key points in an athlete’s performance. They highlight best practices or find specific motion errors that need to be corrected. These systems have been extended for use in rehabilitation after an injury. Beyond sports, police and forensic scientists are analyzing and marking events in video to search for key evidence. Other fields—like science and general education—also benefit from video motion analysis.

Sales Training & Video Motion Analysis

What if sales managers and coaches didn’t have to rely solely on the “ride-along” to evaluate a rep’s performance and provide feedback? A recorded practice session offers sales coaches and managers the opportunity to give that precise feedback in a way that isn’t even possible with a “ride-along” because its context-specific. There’s no need to wait until after the sales call to have the feedback conversation.

Sales doesn’t even need extensive biomechanics analysis. Being able to provide precise feedback or highlight a particulation moment of a sales conversation through an interactive video training system offers precise, in-context feedback. The use of video for sales training has additional side benefits:

1. Being Prepared

While athletes might use video to scout the competition, sales reps need to be prepared with responses to questions from their prospects. As Michael St. Lawrence points out in his November blog, sales professionals must practice to be able to clearly articulate how their product compares to their competition, be able to justify the price, and answer common objections. If reps communicate these points only during actual calls with prospects, it’s like an athlete who executes a game strategy only on game day.

2. Model the Best

Practice alone isn’t enough. You need to see the right way to interact with your prospects, just as athletes study the right way to throw, hit, shoot, or kick. Craig Pickering provides a vivid example of how he transitioned from sprinting to bobsledding. Where did he start? “By watching the best perform the skill in order to perform a mental picture of the technique.” Sales reps must practice using a mental model of the top sales performers in order to have a good foundation.

3. Self Analysis

Sports coaches can’t be out on the field with their athletes. Neither can your sales coach. You need to develop the ability to play back your own performance and correctly self analyze what you need to improve so that you can do the same thing at game time—when the performance really matters. The best way to do this is to review your own practice sessions. Developing a strong awareness of your own performance will allow you to identify and correct issues in real time, when it matters most.

It’s time to borrow from sports. Use video to “up your game” and impact your sales performance.

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