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How to Make Sales Training More Memorable [Insights from Dr. Carmen Simon]

Feb 06th, 2017


Did you know that people forget 90% of content after 2 days when they don’t come to that content with the intent to remember?

Data like this is why Dr. Carmen Simon suggests we use the principles of cognitive science to reinforce learning and training.

Products are becoming more specialized and complex by the minute. It’s critical for reps and marketers to understand exactly what they’re selling, why new enhancements are important and how they can provide value for prospects.

Dr. Simon shares some insights for sales and learning leaders who are responsible for training and coaching sales reps.

What’s your advice for sales enablement and learning leaders who are responsible for training and coaching sales reps? 

CS: Training, when compared to brief presentations and simple conversations, has a privileged role where memory is concerned. This is because participants, for the most part, come to training with the intent to remember. In presentations, people come with the intent to multitask, which is why it’s no wonder that they forget most of the content after two days. But ultimately, memory is still fallible.

A good solution to guard against forgetting is repetition. Many people intuitively know that repetition leads to memory yet they don’t apply this technique in business content.

We’re comfortable with the concept of repetition in sports or in various personal routines, such as taking the same route to work, yet when it comes to professional content, we shy away from it.

I see a few hundred presentations every month and 99.9% of them do not repeat the key message.  My suspicion is that people don’t repeat it because they are afraid of appearing remedial. We think, “I said it once, I speak to intelligent people, and surely they got it, so I can move on.”

Repetition is mandatory because short-term memory – which is the phase before long-term memory – is capacity-limited: it only holds 3-4 chunks of information for about a minute (and quite often less than that). So unless there is some rehearsal, that information is gone.

There are no magic beans when it comes to long-term memory: Repetition helps you get there.

So I dare you to repeat the same message, at least 3-4 times during a 30-minute segment. And the more consistent you keep that message, the more precise the memory is. Brexit happened – some experts claim – because the “take back control” message was repeated constantly and kept consistent.

Get a copy of Impossible to Ignore and find more information about Dr. Simon’s work at

In case you missed the previous posts in this series, read: