Skip to main content

Role Play as the Ultimate Sales Training Tool



In any business organization, sales is the department that generates revenue. No matter how good your operation is, how cutting-edge your technology is or how forward-thinking your management techniques are, you must still have a sales mechanism in place, or everything else is useless.

Therefor one of the biggest challenges for organizations is helping their sales staff execute in the field what they've learned in theory in the training room. 

I learned this the hard way myself. 

When I was 22 years old I just started my first sales job as a Recruitment Consultant. A week earlier I finished up a 3 day in-house sales training course and that day I found myself across the table from the CEO of a Transport & Storage business. 

The conversation went like this:

Me: Thank you for the appointment. 

Client: Well, I'm not too happy with my current temp agency so I'm interested to learn how you can help me.

Me: Ok. Uhhm.. I guess I can start with telling you about our fees. We are known to have very competitive prices. (nervous laugh)  

Client: That won't be necessary. I don't care about the fees. I want to know how your service is better then your competitors.

Me: Our service? Well...It's really good... 

Client: (Sitting back and crossing his arms. Looking at me intensely.) Is it? And what exactly is really good about it? 

Me: I don't know exactly to be honest. You see...I just started this job two weeks ago... But all our clients seem very happy. (award silence) 

Needless to say this man didn't become a client. And I was absolutely gutted. What went wrong? I had just had a sales training 5 days ago!!

It wasn't until years later that I realized that it is easy to discuss sales techniques in a training workshop. But it is in the field, when the lights are the brightest and the pressure is on, that critical sales capabilities like asking the right questions, listening to the answer closely and being able to project confidence, conviction and interest must be demonstrated. 

Today I dare say that role play with professional actors is the ultimate sales training tool. Research shows that people learn up to 60% more (!) in a training workshop that simulates these real experiences. And Sales teams that continually engage in role playing are more likely to outperform their non-role-playing competitors. 

At InterACT WA, it is therefor our goal to make sure all our training participants receive a proper role play based sales training so they will almost never be presented with a question, concern or objection from a client that they haven't already received in their training. 

In other words: they will start the race running. 

They will come out of their training making more money for themselves and their company and they'll likely enjoy their job a lot more.

Is this difficult to achieve? 

Yes. Off course it is. 

Which is why people in the sales industry bemoan the idea of role play based sales training. But the challenge is worth it. And the results speak for themselves. And in a time of economic struggle and hardship businesses and sales professionals need every possible advantage. 

Role play, without a doubt, is that advantage. 

If only I had known at 22...


Want to know more about our corporate role players or simulation based sales training? 
Contact us here.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Emotions at work? Yes please!

  "I was biting my tongue the whole time"  "Gosh, he makes my blood boil"  "I wish she would just get off my back"  “There is a knot in my stomach”   These are all common idioms which are related to where emotions can settle in our body. We especially notice it during those tricky conversations.  But weirdly enough, even though our body is telling us exactly what is going on, we hardly listen to it.  A missed opportunity because they are crucial signals that remind you to use your communication skills and our emotional intelligence.  What to do?    -        *  Do you notice tension in your body? Do you feel your heart beat faster? You may find it an exciting conversation. Ask yourself: What do I find exciting or difficult? -        *  State what you see or feel. Such as: "I notice my heart is beating fast and there is a knot in my stomach. I feel uncomfortable.”   -       *   Examine your own judgment of emotions. What do you th

How we help Leaders Learn more Deeply

Much research has been done into effective ways of learning. But we can cautiously say that learning is too complex an activity for conclusive theories. Which is not to say that we are in the dark. An educational thinker who has stood the test of time is David Kolb. In the 1970s and 1980s, this learning psychologist developed an influential and useful concept about learning that can also be found in all of our InterACT WA Communication & Leadership training courses. What is it?  Kolb divided the learning process into four phases. He saw them as cyclical, so he put them in a circle. Whoever wants to learn something, according to Kolb, must go through every phase of the circle. And not once, no, often you have to go through the circle a few times to get to what really matters: to learn more deeply. Learning more deeply means: you can remember what you have learned and apply it in practice. You don't have to be an educationalist to see that as a wonderful outcome of learni

5 reasons role play fails

Role playing is one of the most effective learning methods. Especially when you choose to work with a professional actor. Surprisingly it’s also one of the most misused techniques.  So what goes wrong? Well, pay attention and learn which 5 failures make role play fail miserably: 1. Unsafe practice   environment Most people are not dying of enthusiasm to do a role play simulation. That is why its extremely important to invest time and effort in creating a safe practice environment. Never ever push people intro a role play scenario if they really don't want to. They wont learn a thing and will only be more reluctant to do so in the future. 2. No alignment between learning goals and role play.  The role play has to be completely dedicated to the learning goal of the participant. Unfortunately sometimes people are eager to change the role play into an interesting theatrical scene. Perhaps fun to look at, but not very helpful to the participant. No role play s