Alex Ahlstrom
I am in love with travel, culture and finance around the world. After working in international real estate finance around Asia and America, I want to share some of my experiences.

Debuting My Sales Training Software

I created a custom sales training software for my new job’s investment immigration project. I debuted the software at the 8th Annual Consular Processing Conference in Taipei on February 19th, 2020.

Alex Ahlstrom Presenting at the Conference in Taipei

The Preparation –

I used Moodle software, which is open source university-grade software used at thousands of schools and universities worldwide. This software has regular security patches, many plugins, is easy to use and can be used by thousands of users at a time.

I took the powerpoint presentation that I typically use and divided it into three parts, then created a quiz after each part. The first quiz was designed to be an introduction to the quiz software, with easy questions, like which state is the project in, what is the name of the hotel brand for the project. The first quiz has only 6 questions. The second quiz is much more difficult. My favorite feature is the ability to have multiple correct answers on a multiple-choice question. For example, one of the questions had 5 answer choices, and four of the choices were correct. Something about so many correct answers really makes students second guess their answers. And the third quiz was also difficult as well. Each of the questions had randomized answers, so people couldn’t just look to their neighbors for easy answers. And, unlimited attempts at the quiz were allowed. My goal isn’t to make someone feel nervous that their boss will see a low score, I want people to be able to take the quiz again until they learn the material.

Then, I created an individual username and password for each of the potential 50 people I would present in front of at the conference. I printed the usernames passwords, and website link and stapled them onto my business cards. Finally, I bought three Starbucks gift cards, each worth 1000 TWD (USD $33) to hand out to whoever got a perfect score on the quiz first.

The Execution –

Before I even had a chance to present, I was handing out business cards to people in the room and explaining that they were going to need to use the username and password for the presentation later. Then, when I got to present, I only needed to hand out a few more business cards to people that arrived late. I mentioned that there was going to be a Starbucks gift card prize to whoever finished first with a 100% on the quiz. This brings out the competitors in the room and gets people excited to listen to the presentation for the chance at recognition. I also mentioned that everyone could follow along on the presentation with their phones. This actually was very helpful in coopting the phones in the room to be focused on my presentation, and not looking at news or messaging. People were excited that there was an interactive feature to the presentation.

At this point, I presented the project with the powerpoint, just as usual. Then, when I got to the end of the first of three sections, I told everyone that it was time for a quiz. Not everyone took the quiz, but more than half of the people in the room did, 26 in total. And, almost everyone that took the quiz got a perfect score, or only missed one question.

I asked if anyone had finished the quiz with a perfect score, and a hand went up, after only 81 seconds. The winner had a 100% score, as shown on the quiz. What is interesting is that the winner was not an industry leader, of which there were many in the room, but it was a sales consultant who was with her boss. This quiz gave her the chance to show the whole room that she could compete. After I handed out the prize, I reviewed the correct answers for each of the questions in the quiz. Though giving away the correct answers could tamper with the test results, the goal of the quizzes is to elevate retention of the presentation, and if people are going back and typing in the correct answers on their second attempt on the quiz, that still elevates their retention level.

The second quiz was much more difficult. There are only 5 multiple-choice questions on the quiz, however, there are a total of 12 correct answers. Even though the second quiz was much harder, the first person to finish with a 100% completed the quiz faster than the first quiz, in only 55 seconds. Again, it was a sales consultant with her boss that completed the quiz first. This really speaks to the recognition that people were seeking in the quiz.

Score distribution for the much more difficult 2nd quiz

The Aftermath –

People approached me about details of the project that were mentioned in the quiz. I received an invitation to visit the company office of the winner of the first quiz, and people were generally interested to see a new format for a presentation. I was happily surprised to see the scores, and that all but three people that took the second quiz got more than 50% of the answers correct. Overall, the retention level for a first try at a presentation with a quiz was very high, and I would recommend such an approach to anyone that is training sales staff.

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