Online webinars and videos have been used in training for quite some time now. Unfortunately, much of the commercially available options fall flat because they miss the tone, specifics or amount of detail you may need to train someone in your business. At my company, Advantage Payroll Services in Long Island, N.Y., we have seemingly tried every option available with mixed results, before finally deciding to create our own process.
Admittedly, we're in phase one of building our training structure, but that doesn't stop us from using one of the most powerful technology based forms of training: video. The first step was to digitize our training manuals by putting them online; we started with sales, then moved to operations. We created an internal website just for our training material and gave our entire staff access to it.
Each week we produce a short video with a simple tip to help our sales staff remember an important part of a prospect meeting or maybe assist them with completing a document that the team seems to be struggling with. We send the video out via a link. Our sales team members log in, watch the short video and hear directly from me. I do the videos myself, as I have experience in front of a camera. If you're uncomfortable at this sort of thing, it doesn't have to be you, but keep in mind, there's no one better than you to deliver the message. Company buy-in starts from the top.
We then talk about the video topic at that week's sales meeting. The response has been favorable. Team members can access the online training site and get refreshers anytime they need. We even have longer videos that show an entire mock meeting with a prospect. This helps them model a proper sales presentation and assures that our products and services are being sold in a similar fashion. It also increases your ability to on-board newcomers faster while improving closing ratios.
Our vision is to be able to have our sales and operations video training and testing an integral part of our employee on-boarding and continuing education process. These three quick tips will help you get started on creating your own virtual training process.
1. Have a plan. Create a training and education plan that fits your needs. It doesn't have to be a treatise, but it should cover the basics regarding intention, timeframe and layout.
2. Change it if it’s not working. Plans are created to be breathing, adaptable documents, so be prepared to adapt to the feedback you're getting and use more or less of whatever is or isn’t working. For example, if the videos are stiff and boring, add humor to lighten the mood.
3. Have a budget. This can be a ballpark figure. Be realistic about the resources you have, and start small. Don't plan a $25,000 project if you don't have the resources. You'll invariably be disappointed.
You too can act like a big company even when you're small—if you take the time to work through the details. Check out Jing.com; it's a free video/audio recording product that allows screen capture to create high-quality results. A good video camera, a professional light and a backdrop will only run you about $1,000 or so. You can make this work on a budget. I know you can ... because I did.
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