Tips to Improve the Effectiveness of your Sales Role-plays
9 minutes read
What is a person’s biggest phobia in his/her life?
Hint: It isn’t spiders, heights, or even dying. It’s glossophobia, the fear of public speaking or conversing.
This is especially true for sales reps. Even if they are extroverts, it’s natural for them to feel nervous before every conversation as there is a lot riding on the way they lead the conversation.
But regular practice of sales conversations would induce a lot of confidence in them. By practicing their sales conversational skills every now and then, they would be able to significantly improve the way they speak and start to feel more comfortable and confident.
While sales training and coaching are key to getting them ready to sell, reps also need opportunities to practice what they’ve learned, in a risk-free environment. That way, they can perfect their skills before going into the field — where there’s the risk of losing deals if things go south.
A lot of sales organizations incorporate some practice and role-plays into their enablement programs. But what are the best sales organizations doing differently to ensure that these practice opportunities are actually helping their sellers to get ready to close more deals?
Recently, we analyzed role-play activities conducted in various top companies to understand what winning sales teams are doing differently to ensure that their reps are ready to sell. Based on these findings, we’ve identified the top ways in which you can improve the effectiveness of role-plays at your organization and start empowering more reps to meet (or exceed) their quota.
1. Set manageable role-play objectives
Usually, in role-plays, managers try to accomplish too much at a time and end up achieving very little. Avoid this mistake at all costs. Choose specific goals for your role-play.
For instance, directors don’t give feedback to the actors on their entire performance at the first rehearsal and try to improve all the aspects of a play at once. Instead, they give them specific and manageable objectives. Like,
- In one rehearsal they just focus on getting the lines down
- And in the next one, they focus on blocking, etc.
2. Establish specific role-play scenarios
Ever seen an actor being thrust on stage without knowing his lines or even what play he’s in? Your sales reps would feel just like this actor in a role-play in which the scenario is not set
Sales reps rarely get into a sales call without having any prior knowledge about it. So don’t throw them into a role-play without giving them enough information to work with. Set a clear and specific scenario for the role-play which helps your reps to ground themselves in the “reality” of the situation and block out distractions.
3. Make sure that your reps know everything that they need to know about the role-play
Sales reps should have a clear idea of what they are being challenged to do and what specific skills are they tested on.
So apart from giving the statements on the objective of the role-play and describing the situation of the role-play, make sure that you also give some metadata related to the role-play.
4. Mirror the role-play scenarios as close to reality as possible
The more real you make your role-plays, the greater will be their effectiveness and value. So, create your role-play scenarios in such a way that they mirror the unique sales environment in which your reps operate.
Each venue has different advantages and disadvantages. Different environments have different requirements for a successful conversation. Practicing in all these scenarios makes the role-plays more real and gives the reps the opportunity to account for the nuances of the medium in which they conduct their sales conversations.
5. Make sure the “Buyer” sounds real
For good directors, every role is significant (no matter how small it might be) and contributes to the overall performance and quality of the play. But when it comes to sales role-plays, little or no directions are given to the person playing the customer.
For most sales reps, enacting a customer is challenging as they have the curse of knowledge. You can help them step into the customer’s shoes by providing them with a specific scenario or buyer persona.
The authenticity of your rep’s performance hugely depends on the authenticity of the person playing the “buyer”.
6. Give time for the rep to really get into the role
Usually, actors take a few moments to rehearse and get into the role that they are going to play. Anyone who plays a role, especially if it’s the protagonist of the play, will need some time to get into the mindset of the character.
7. Keep role-plays short and sweet
It’s tempting to cram as much as you can into a single role-play exercise and conduct it at a stretch for one or two hours for each rep. But we suggest that you resist this urge.
Of course, there’s no one-size-fits-all role-play length. Instead, you must consider key points that need to be covered and non-negotiable points versus nice-to-haves.
8. Make sure to reinforce positives
Your sales rep’s confidence is directly proportional to their sales success.
So, make sure that you always reinforce positivity in your role-playing sessions.
9. Make feedback focused and actionable
Your constructive role-play feedback will be valuable for your reps only if it is actionable. You need to let your reps know exactly what they should do to succeed in a real sales conversation.
After your feedback, your rep should have a clear understanding of what he/she needs to do in the real conversation.
Also, make sure that you provide written feedback/instructions to the reps which they can refer to later, and try to implement them in their sales practice.
Role-play exercises benefit everyone on the team
You may ask: These days when most sellers are pressed for time, do you really think that the role-play practice exercises are really worth the time and effort?
To this I say: Absolutely!
In fact, when they’re done well, role-plays benefit everyone on the sales team. Here is how:
Want to gamify your sales role-play sessions?
Here are some sales role-play scenarios that will help prepare your team to handle any sales situation
Want to learn some effective techniques to overcome sales objections?
Want to learn how to efficiently overcome the prospects’ resistance?
Published on Mon Jun 20 2022