Almost everyone has a role-model or someone they idolize… either an Actor, Sports person, Political figure, Media person and so many other prominent personalities. The one thing they all have in common is that they are extremely good at what they do and hence naturally draw public admiration. So, let’s discuss about how these idols are so successful in their lives? Were they naturally born with these skills to perform so wonderfully or is it that their luck shines every time? While of course either of this can be possible, albeit not every time. To be successful consistently takes practice and rigorously too. Whether the field is Sports, Cinema, Media, Music, etc…those who stand out in their respective professions, practice regularly and hard to sustain and better their performance.
So, how can we apply this principle in Sales? Sales don’t just happen the way you desire; specially considering the fact that there is substantial dependency on the Customer beside just yourself. The answer to this is – Role Plays. The best of Sales learning programmes always and definitely have role-plays. While there would be instructor-led sessions and even case studies to ponder over, nothing is more effective than role plays and I say this simply because the other methodologies are already packaged but role plays are instantaneous…. You have to think before you play your role and THAT is the most powerful observation and learning to the players. Be it probing, prospecting, impressing, listening, negotiating and all other ingredients that go in cracking a customer. Role-plays are not only highly beneficial to novice sales people but also serve as a refresher to seasoned sales executives.
While Role-Playing works better than most methods for sales coaching, here are some tips to make your role-plays very effective.
Role-plays are fictitious, however they definitely need good preparation so that they are effective. Preparing an approach or a script will build confidence in the sales person; you should also encourage the learners to practice their pitch at home – just by themselves or by looking in the mirror (a great way to be self-aware of your body language) or even by practicing with family members who are / have been working professionals. Get the learners to get their script by heart – only then will it build confidence and power in them.
Master all possible objections
Think of all possible reasons that customers can give you to not subscribe to your product or service. List these down and craft the most convincing rebuttals you can come up with. Once this is in place, get your sales folks to master this customer objections list. Also, keep revisiting your ‘Customer Objections’ bank every once in a while to keep adding latest that you / your team faces in the market. After a powerful script, it is the Objection Handling skills that will help your sales reps tremendously in winning customers and clinching deals.
Customers are unpredictable. It is only once you begin engaging them that you get to know how they are in terms of temperament, approachability, openness, knowledgeability and several other attributes. In role-playing the best way to prepare your sales folks is by being as realistic as possible. Create scenarios of easy customers, difficult customers, procrastinating customers and the likes. Throw in some unexpected scenarios as well (realistic of course). All of this will only get the learners to put on their thinking hats and make them more confident when they step out into the real world of different customers.
Record and Replay
One powerful way to make learners realize their gaps is to get them to record themselves when they are practicing their pitch and then replaying it to see where they have missed out or where they could have done better. Astonishingly, almost everyone who has adopted this as a practicing-to-perfect technique will tell you how immensely this has helped them refine their phrasing, intonation and closure attempts.
Coaching on sales techniques and styles needs to involve ample amount of feedback and that too in a constructive way. Give your sales personnel examples of what would be more effective as compared to how they performed in the role-play. Instead of saying ‘that was not a great line’, tell them what line to use and how to use it.
Those Sales folks who are at advanced stages of their career will definitely endorse role-playing as the most optimal tool to nurture new sales team members. The amount of confidence it builds will aid your sales teammates to go out there and face your business prospects and customers with surety.
All said and done, leverage on role-playing to guide your sales team, navigate through the tough instances and conquer situations and take pride when you eventually witness them graduating to win customers and build customer loyalty.