8 years ago
April 13, 2016

The 3 Best Role-Playing Techniques for Sales Managers

In this article, we’ll discuss three role-playing techniques you should consider utilizing the next time your team sits down to train.

Rhys Metler

Sales managers looking for a new way to develop their team’s sales knowledge should consider implementing role-playing techniques into their training schedule. Nothing can rival experience with the many, many ways a conversation with a real prospect might turn for improving a sales agent, but using role-playing techniques to simulate some of those conversations can help in a way few other training methods can. In this article, we’ll discuss three role-playing techniques you should consider utilizing the next time your team sits down to train.

Change Partners Regularly

There are several reasons to change up the partners during role-play exercises. Individuals approach the same material differently, react to the same words said by a different person differently, and become overly comfortable with a certain ‘rhythm’ of conversation when given too much practice with a particular person.

Without partner changes, you’ll end up with a sales team full of people who can sell very comfortably and effectively to a single type of person at best, a single individual at worst. You get far more out of your time by changing partners, and it more accurately simulates a real sales environment.

Start Easy, Then Kick Things Up A Notch

You shouldn’t begin your training with role-playing techniques at the highest ‘difficulty’ of sales. Let your team practice perfecting their process early on. It’s important to establish a firm baseline sales technique before you begin dealing with difficult scenarios–it doesn’t matter if your team can handle edge cases if they can’t close easy sales.

Of course, complacency is equally bad. Once you’re confident that your team is comfortable with the process, increase the difficulty. A good sales team should be able to respond adequately at worst to any scenario. If you can get your team members comfortable with aggressive prospects asking the most uncomfortable questions, then you’ll have accomplished something very important with your role-playing techniques.

Done correctly, you should be perfecting the standard sales process and developing the flexibility to deal with edge cases with this process–don’t let either side of that equation suffer.

Keep the Debrief Fun

The debrief, whether after an individual scenario or the whole training session, should not be a miserable experience for your sales team. You want this to be fun, but effective–competing, discussing that had the best “Gotcha” question when they were the prospect, that sort of thing makes for successful training.

Sitting the sales team down and berating them will make role-play sessions something the team dreads, and reduce the benefits gained from the training. You’re using role-playing to establish a relaxed, confident, effective mindset in your sales team before they’re actually in front of prospects–building stress runs counter to that goal.

That doesn’t mean you can’t criticize and correct as needed, just balance the bad with the good and keep the whole affair light. Techniques and responses to specific scenarios often matter less with this sort of training than the mental state you plant in your team members’ minds.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 15+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day and tropical vacations.