Three Strategies to Make Sales Role Play More Successful
I can hear the resistance as I write this blog. The list of excuses and reasons why we do not have time to role-play and why role-playing does not work reverberates in my ears. I believe in the world of sales, role-playing ranks right up there with public speaking and cold calls. As sales professionals, we just do.not.want.to.do.it.
But hear me out, stay with me and just read this blog and give role-playing a chance. To date, I think it is one the most important strategies you can use to enrich your sales force.
One of my clients, John, has a rule to role-play in his office every two weeks. They literally block the schedule, take a lunch hour, and the entire team role plays together. Why? Because the progress they see in customer experience, improved sales and enhanced teamwork far outweighs the awkwardness that comes with role-playing.
“Sales role playing improves sales by practicing selling solutions and overcoming objections”
I will admit no one actually likes to role-play. It is weird to “act out” a sales call with your colleagues. It is uncomfortable to say the least to have to play the customer or worse, have to be the actual salesperson. And rarely, if ever, does role-playing feel natural. But what you need to understand about role-playing is that this is one of the most powerful ways to work out the “kinks” in your sales strategy, to get team and peer input on “secrets,” how to make sales calls better, and it becomes a virtual think tank for innovative ideas on closing deals. (Use Role Playing To Engage Your Sales Force article)
What are the best ways to put into practice successful sales role-play?
- Embrace It – just understand that role playing is going to feel awkward at first; no one jumps at the chance to do it. It is a little like eating healthy or going to the dentist. You never want to do it, but you are glad you did! To embrace it you need to understand the power of the sales role play. In sales you can only get better if you have ways to identify what you do well, and what you need to improve. Role playing is the perfect vehicle for that. By walking through customer scenarios, you get a chance to analyze what is working, what is not, and brainstorm how to be more successful. Understand pretty much no one on your team is going to want to role play, so as a leader you have to make it happen. Schedule it into training time, set aside coaching just for role playing, and take the lead on making it a regular part of your sales training. (5 keys to great role plays with your sales reps article)
- Full Team Engagement – role playing is not an individual sport, it is designed for sales teams. Some members of the sales team actually do the role play, others observe, and each team member needs to have the opportunity to weigh in and give feedback.(role playing as sales training tool article) The goal of a role play is not to be perfect, but to “act out” a scenario so everyone can learn, and everyone can brainstorm on ways to get better. Role plays needs to be shared if they are to be effective. Meaning that everyone needs to take a role in each position, whether they are comfortable doing it or not. Pushing people out of their comfort zones is just part of doing an effective role play.
- Get ROI – return on investment that is. Role plays take time, you have to schedule role plays and you have to invest “working time” to engage in them. To get return on investment, every role play should end with key take aways and ideas on what is going to be different: What you learned, what you will change and what impact you expect it to have.
My client schedules role plays every two weeks because he and his team see solid return on investment. Their customer satisfaction scores go up, their google reviews increase, their referral numbers improve, and their bottom line results soar.
There are few of us out there that could not do with a little improvement in the area of sales. And while role-playing may not be our favorite method, I have to tell you it ranks right up there as one of the most effective and powerful techniques.
So, what do you say? Are you ready to push out of your comfort zone, are you willing to give it a shot? I have a challenge for you. For one quarter, just one sales quarter, I want you to schedule time to role play twice a month. Just invest thirty minutes, maybe an hour and just walk through some scenarios where you closed the deal, where you lost it, and get every team member engaged in ideas for improvement.
Take this challenge, and I guarantee your sales will improve! Check in here, let me know what you think and give us your best ideas for role-playing!
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