Grow Revenue: Find Your Reps’ Inner Pilot

Few would dispute the value of a flight simulator.

Pilots train and stay current within flight simulators by regularly re-enacting and mastering flight scenarios like bird strikes, engine loss, severe turbulence and simulated crashes. Simulator training is an integral part of pilot training and professional development, and of research studies to adapt aircraft design to human capabilities and limitations.

It is unthinkable for a pilot to train on a $100 million commercial transport aircraft filled with dozens of souls on board. It is also unthinkable to send out an untrained, untested salesperson to nurture and close a complex sale.

Why don’t we use simulators to perfect sales situations? Why send out salespeople to crash-and-burn in front of real prospects?

While the stakes for an aviation disaster carry life and death, the ripple effect of losing a complex sale could sink a company, cause layoffs or shudder doors.

Why not train your salespeople in real-life situations? Because such technology has not been available.

Until now.

Selleration developed its Sales Simulator to assess sales skills, sales intelligence, and sales judgment. Flight simulators track similar qualities in pilots. Allow me to share my comparison:

Metric Flight Simulator  Sales Simulator


Demonstration function Measures enrichment of the training process; demonstrates to trainee specific procedures, methods and the uses of aircraft instruments, controls, and systems. Sales simulator can determine if the salesperson follows a sales process, and uses the tools available, no matter what methodology the company uses.


Education function Develops/perfects pilot skills and habits for practical implementation of cockpit operations, use of operational procedures, onboard emergency procedures. Improves multi-crew cooperation, use of aviation phraseology.


Sales Simulator can assess skills the salesperson must focus on. Enhances the results of training and coaching.
Personality function Forms and develops desired pilot personality and professional traits to prepare them for air mission execution under high workload,  time deficits, and in new situations (onboard and in the mission environment). The Sales Simulator places the salesperson into tough situations to mimic the real world. Here we assess “sales judgment” something that is not being measured.
Adaptive function Improves the pilot’s “recurring” actions on board the aircraft, including complex and emergency situations. Exercises performed are key to execute the mission, and new from the pilot’s current experience. The Sales Simulator places the salesperson in emergency situations to determine reaction time, judgment, and ability to pivot. They can re-enter the simulator and improve scores while learning new ways to approach such encounters.
Research function Checks pilot behavior at different stages of planned mission execution; considers solutions for design, ergonomics, and aircraft automation. Verifies theoretical assumptions for solving problems onboard the aircraft by the crew. Tests validity of assumptions on crew actions in onboard emergencies. Also confirms conclusions of the air accident investigation board’s proceedings on causes of undesirable flight-related events. Based on your company’s sales process, this is where you can take the data on your sales reps selling intelligence, judgment, and skills and modify to align your sales process to your sales cycle.
Selection function Eliminates permanently or temporarily from further aviation training those candidates who have no predispositions (competencies, knowledge, skills) to work as a pilot/perform specific flight tasks. Sales Simulator evaluates candidates on the front end, like sending them to call on real prospects to learn how they respond. Assesses their DNA, sales skills, and judgment.

Let’s look at a case study on how the Sales Simulator improved sales skills. Here, nineteen salespeople in the financial services industry are involved in a B2B complex sales environment. All but one logged into the simulator and went through various conversations. Notice the scores outlined in chart 2 below.

Selling Competencies were tested at the beginning and later measured as outlined in chart 3 (Selling behaviors and cognitive skills). Selling competencies can be improved by coaching and training but each time a salesperson goes into the simulator he/she continues to improve based on the experience.

The Sales Simulator, like a flight simulator, places the salesperson into tough situations where you can assess sales judgment and, through coaching, can improve the reps’ sales skills. You will notice, the more the rep uses this tool, the greater the improvement.

A difficult aspect of measurement, especially with long sales cycles, is improvements from sales training. You put your reps through two to three days of sales training, then you send them out in the field to try their new skills on real prospects. As with most training, after a few tries, the reps revert to old habits.

As we see in chart 3, the simulator takes salespeople through all areas from prospecting to negotiating and closing where we can assess sales skills and judgment.

In our previous example, one sales rep was ready to compromise and give his prospect a reduced price on services. In the simulator, he learned from experience that he could approach the request for price reductions in a much different way. He set up a meeting with the prospect, using what he learned, to offer an alternative and hold his price due to the value he brought.

The Sales Simulator enhances coaching, training, and monitoring of a sales reps’ performance; it is not a replacement for these efforts. Companies find this tool increasingly valuable as they continue to work smart to improve the success of their frontline ambassadors—the salesforce.

I encourage you to take the opportunity to test your sales rep’s Sales Intelligence™ by clicking on the link and testing out the simulator: Nothing like seeing the source of a problem at its core, and knowing how to solve it. ?


See you on the upside,


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Or call William L. MacDonald in San Diego at PleinAire Strategies LLC at 760.340.4277 or 213.598.4700

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