Unorthodox Approach to Sales Training Employed by Major League Soccer

Improv and soccerMajor League Soccer may take a back seat in the U.S. to a lot of things, but it appears as if it is second to none in its implementation of innovative sales training.

According to an article from the Minneapolis Star Tribune, those in the MLS sales department routinely take comedy improvisation classes. Officials with MLS say that improv gives their salespeople the timing and attitude needed to succeed in sales.

Vice president of the league’s club services Bryant Pfeiffer said that comedy can help sales.

“Our motto is deadly serious, yet deadly playful,” he told the news source. “Sales is tough. You’re expected to make a lot of calls and hear a lot of no’s. The more fun you make it, the longer you can make people laugh, they stick with it and overcome the tough periods.”

Emily Morris, who recently participated in the soccer league’s sales training program, said that she has found that improvisational comedy has helped her out in the sales industry, according to the news provider. She said specifically that it assisted her with following along with a customer’s thought process.

“When you ask a person a question, they respond. You can’t cancel out what they said,” she told the news source. “You have to build upon what they told you.”

According to Barrett Riddleberger, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Resolution Systems, Inc., a sales consulting firm, sales training is essential to virtually every organization. Riddleberger said that his sales training program evaluates what motivates people and that his company’s sales assessments take an insightful look at a potential hire.

“In our sales training program, asking and discussing the concept of ‘why’ is an integral part of how we train. But we don’t stop there,” the executive said. “We also measure those intangible ‘motivators’ with our sales assessment that drive a person to DO, ACT and BE. Knowing why someone would do something opens up great possibilities for a sales manager when hiring, coaching or leading salespeople.”

Regardless of the form that sales training takes, it is crucial for companies of all types and sizes, from those looking to get off the ground to those hoping to increase the size of their footprint in a specific industry.