Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sales Role Playing

You are a lot more likely to play out a situation calmly and in an orderly fashion if you’ve thought it through, and better yet played it through beforehand. Bryan Flanagan outlines Sales call role- playing in his book NOW GO SELL SOMEBODY SOMETHING.

Here’s a training method that most reps tend to avoid: the dreaded “role-play” exercise. This practice is very effective, yet at the same time it produces the most anxiety. Why? Because we feel pressure when performing in front of our peers and our boss. However, if the manager sets the stage correctly, you can achieve great results from role-plays. Here are some guidelines:

• Emphasize that the purpose is to practice techniques not results. When I work with clients, I point out that “You want to learn in class so you are not penalized in cash!”

• Make the role-play real, giving it as much a real-world flavor as possible. Instruct both “the customer” and “the rep” to stay in role for the duration of the role-play

• Give feedback based on specific, observable behavior. Emphasis should be placed on what was done well and the areas that need to be improved. This requires the manager to take detailed notes and provide specific examples in order to add value to the debriefing session.

Create a learning atmosphere by giving specific objectives for each role-play exercise. Clearly explain those objectives. If the purpose is to practice questioning skills, sell benefits or close the sale, you should clearly communicate that to the participants.

Obviously, you will have to modify these topics to best fit your environment; however, that is well worth the effort. Once you do so, your sales meetings will address selling and selling skills!

Moving forward,

Jeff Roach

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