Secondary School Uses Films to Train Students’ Sales Skills

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The films really brought these key learning points to life and the feedback from the students was excellent

Mark Stimpson, Sixth Form Tutor of Abbotsfield School

45 students from Abbotsfield School in Hillingdon took part in the one-and-a-half day sales training session. It was held as part of an activity week that was designed to help those entering the final year of sixth form to prepare for life after school, whether they wanted to go to university, take an apprenticeship or enter the workplace.

“Sales training is useful and not just for a sales career, as the skills you learn are transferable to a whole range of life situations,” said Mark Stimpson, the sixth form tutor who organised the session. “It’s about being able to walk into a room with confidence when there are a number of people you don’t know and managing yourself professionally, communicating with authority and overcoming any concerns. These are very useful skills to learn.”

The sales training session concentrated on four key elements: assessing customer requirements, presentation techniques, closing the sale and handling objections. It was delivered by Mark Stimpson and included two training films from Video Arts: Sell it to me part 1 and part 2.

“I’ve been a teacher for six years but before that, I had experience of building sales teams in the software industry,” said Mark Stimpson. “I still remember the first sales course I ever attended. It featured a Video Arts film which was very engaging and the learning messages were so memorable. I wanted to run an equally memorable session for our students so I chose two Video Arts films which covered the key points.”

The films really brought these key learning points to life and the feedback from the students was excellent.”

Featuring famous actors such as Martin Clunes, Robert Lindsay and Josie Lawrence, Sell it to me! is a two-part programme which highlights the key techniques for successful selling, from making the initial contact to closing the deal. It includes a course leader’s guide and PowerPoint slides. The films include light-hearted scenarios showing the ‘wrong way’ to behave, to provoke discussion. The ‘right way’ to behave is then demonstrated.

In the Abbotsfield School session, the students were divided into 15 teams of three for a role play scenario in which they had to represent a football club that wanted to sell an idea for a special event to the school. Each team presented to a panel of teachers. The winning team was awarded a certificate at school assembly.

“The teams really stepped up to the mark and we were amazed at how well they undertook the role plays,” said Mark Stimpson. “This is the first time that our school has provided the type of training that is normally delivered in the workplace. It shows that our students have the capacity and the interest to learn work skills from an early age. It’s important that schools like ours prepare students for the workplace and we’re always looking for new ways of doing that. We’re now considering running this session for lower year groups and offering other soft skills training sessions in areas such as assertiveness and negotiation skills.”

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