• Dave Tester

Let's Go Outside of the Office


If a football team can practice in a swimming pool...

Ever get tired of the monotony of working inside an office every day? Well I can tell you that your sales employees definitely do. So, mix things up and move the location of your sales training outside of the office. Not only will this improve morale, but it’s also a good time to identify new skill sets by working on some very simple team building exercises.


I first started moving sales training out of the office when I noted former Boise State football coach Dan Hawkins moving his team practice from the blue turf to the blue water of the BSU swimming pool. Hawkins told me it broke up a long season for the players and they actually had fun and worked harder that day in the campus pool. “They acted like kids again,” he said about moving training. The team had one of its best performances of the year that following weekend.


If a football team can practice in a swimming pool, I think a sales team can train on a basketball court. We rented a court at the YMCA one morning. My staff didn’t know what to expect. I told them to line up at the free throw line and start shooting baskets. The interesting part was as soon as they made a basket they quit shooting. I had to stop the exercise and interject—“Keep shooting! When you miss you keep shooting and even when you make it—keep shooting!” It didn’t take long for this exercise to deliver a message that applies to the sales world. When you make a sale—keep selling! It broke up the normal week of training and the staff had a great week. As the sales ‘coach’ make sure you participate too.


Try this: take the team to the bowling alley. Force them to use their weak hand to bowl. How do you deal with prospect objections? Don’t just quit– learn how to roll that ball left-handed down the lane. Whether you use a driving range at a golf course or pool table in a lunch room, make sure everyone participates and you have a goal or lesson that can be translated into training.


The team exercise is also a good time to assess whether someone is ready to move into a management position. Create two or three teams depending on how many salespeople you have. Give them an unassembled bicycle or a model kit and have them put it together in a limited amount of time. Observe who takes over as the leader, who is the technician, who is the problem solver, the problem identifier (complainer) or problem child. Make sure the first place team members get an afternoon off with pay or a lift ticket to Bogus Basin.

Remember this statistic when I give you these ideas.

75% of the employees you want to keep on your staff don’t want more money or more time off. They’d prefer to be told they are doing a good job and get more training to do even better.

Show your sales people you care by going the extra mile with creative input. Not only will sales increase, but your reinvigorated team will talk up your business because of the great training exercise you held outside of the office.

Cassandra Martinez, Beautologie-CA

"The best experience in terms of training I have ever had.  I will definitely take action and start emulating his practices right away."

© 2020 Dave Tester