Aug 17, 2023  |  By Wei Sun, CEO

Why Now Is the Time to Start Training Sales Reps for the Holidays

The end of the summer is the perfect time to start preparing for the holiday rush. 

The more your reps practice, the better prepared they’ll be to assist customers during high-stress situations. 

It’s tempting to put off holiday training until you see pumpkins everywhere. But research shows that the human brain needs lots of practice and reinforcement to retain new skills—meaning now is the time to launch new training content.

Training for the holidays should begin months in advance

Not convinced that your holiday training should kickoff so early in the year? Here’s why it’s important to get a head start.

Reinforcement is key to learning

Reinforcement keeps the brain from flushing information away. Without continued exposure, the human brain will decide that a skill is unimportant and get rid of it to make room for other information. 

But when your training program includes reinforcement, you encourage the brain to transfer information to long-term memory so it can be used again and again. 

Short practice sessions win over jam-packed training

Long-form videos might be commonplace, but they’re not the most effective way to train sales reps.

When sales reps practice what they learn, they improve their brain's ability to access information rapidly and automatically.

Real learning requires regular practice. If each employee is going to spend 60 to 90 minutes on holiday sales training, you’re better off breaking that time up into short practice sessions than blowing it all on a passive video. In order to log enough practice sessions before mid-December, you need to get started now. 

Training builds a stronger company culture 

Your training feeds your company culture whether it’s good or bad. Ineffective training strategies diminish your company culture.

Positive training experiences can…

  • Improve employee retention
  • Boost take-home commissions (and motivation)
  • Ensure adequate staffing during the busy season
  • Create a sense of camaraderie and togetherness

A well-prepared sales team can perform during the holiday season, and you’ll be able to retain great sellers when you need them the most.

Reps can more easily find the time to practice before things get busy

During the holiday season, there isn’t as much downtime. Customers are always walking through the door looking for great deals, special promotions, low interest rates, etc. 

Right now, however, reps can more easily make time to practice their sales skills. 

Reps need to be ready for new consumer products

Every year, in anticipation of the holiday rush, vendors bring a wide range of new products to the retail market. For example, both Apple and Google have announced new products that will be hitting the shelves this holiday season. Retail reps need to be prepared to sell those products and hit on all the top features. 

What’s more, the ideal sales conversation is different during the holiday season compared to the rest of the year. Customers are more likely to be shopping for a loved one than themselves. Reps need to pitch product benefits and handle objectives with gift-giving in mind. These might be new skills they’re learning for the first time or much-needed refreshers.

How to effectively train your reps for the holidays

What does effective holiday training look like? Use these tips to develop training content that drives measurable gains. 

Get everyone involved

Your holiday training program should involve every sales rep, not just new hires. Stress levels are at an all-time high during the holiday season. Everyone is a churn risk. 

You need to arm all reps with the skills that will make them successful, like practicing new promotions or how to manage a rush. Make sure you’re considering training needs across all tenure and experience levels. 

Make it active, not passive

When it comes to improving  sales, informal peer-to-peer  conversations and mentoring  sessions provide far better results  than LMS platforms, roleplaying  sessions, or company meetings. 

Active learning has been proven to increase knowledge retention, motivation, and interpersonal communication—all essential for sales.

Make sure to have reps get involved during training, instead of just watching videos and taking quizzes, which are still fairly passive because quizzes don’t offer practice or reinforcement.

Updo is a peer-to-peer learning platform that delivers a high level of engagement with training content, so that reps truly learn and retain new skills.

Our platform pairs reps together from all over your organization for short video calls, where they chat through sales strategies and special promotions. 

For example, instead of practicing a protection plan with roleplaying (which reps hate), they instead chat with another rep about:

  • Their go-to talk track for describing the key features of the protection plan
  • What sort of questions they typically ask a customer to naturally lead into a conversation about the protection plan
  • How they would transition to a conversation about the protection plan based on different customer scenarios listed in the Upduo app

Upduo shows the conversation prompts and scenarios during the video chat, so it’s easy to keep the conversation flowing. 

Strategize content based on promotions and essential skills

When prepping for the holiday season, you need to think ahead. Get aligned with corporate launches and brainstorm what sort of skills reps might need to be successful three to four months from now. 

Here are some ideas for training content to use now through the holiday season:

  • New products, service plans, or financing offers launching during the holiday season
  • How to engage customers while they’re waiting
  • How to handle customers who are frustrated with long wait times
  • How to speed up customer interactions without skipping important parts of the sales process
  • Training related to any product sales metric you want to uplift during the holidays (like warranty or protection plan sales)

Transfer knowledge between sales representatives

The holiday season is an important time to not only boost sales but to work on your employee retention rate and company culture.

Between them, your reps hold the experience that each other needs to provide superior customer service. Create an open, helpful atmosphere where more reps share their best tips with one another.

Diversity of experience ensures that peer-to-peer training sessions are rewarding and worthwhile. You can set up training sessions to pair reps who have different experience levels or job descriptions. Or, pair people from different regions so that information is flowing freely across your organization. 

Prep for the holidays with Upduo

If you’re looking for training that is participatory, relevant, and active, consider Upduo. 

The most effective training engages employees on a  regular basis in conversations and idea-sharing that  will truly benefit them and arm them with tons of useful  strategies when handling objections, pitching new  products, or addressing customer concerns.

Our platform helps you scale practice sessions across your organization without any operational headaches. Reps engage with the training content and each other so that new skills are reinforced. Reps will be able to instantly chat with other reps from your company who are online. You can schedule training hours to ensure that there are always enough people to pair up.

With Upduo, pick any metric, create training content around it, and drive measurable impact.

Get in touch with us for a strategic consultation on your holiday training. Schedule a demo or reach out to