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10 Roleplaying Tips to Enhance Your Sales Team

Roleplaying is such a powerful technique for training and motivating your sales team and I firmly believe that every company should be practicing real-world situations in this manner. One of the great benefits is that it gives your team new perspectives in responding to clients and you may find a great answer that can work consistently across the board.

For example, a client may ask about the reason behind an admin fee. In a roleplay situation, multiple people can share how they would respond to such a question. A senior producer can answer, then a junior producer may answer differently. Then, as a team, you can combine the two or pick one that is the best response, which can then be adopted as a company policy.

Now, the act of roleplaying is not easy for those in the hot seat. They may feel pressure, which is natural, but should also be encouraged since there’s often pressure in real-world sales settings. The true value of roleplaying is for the listeners — those who get to observe a situation play out will be able to say “I would have said something else…” or offer other suggestions.

Here are a few tips for coordinating a roleplaying session for your team to practice.

  1. Never make roleplaying easy.

It’s okay to let them scramble a bit! If anything, it will prepare them to think on their toes in a real-world sales situation. You can’t know what to expect when you walk into a sales meeting, so it never hurts to get a little on-the-spot practice.

  1. Make it a safe atmosphere.

Although it should be challenging, your team members should still feel safe enough to open up. It has to be loose, fun, and educational, but you don’t want participants to be so nervous and uptight that they don’t say anything.

  1. Add some fun to it.

Participants can potentially feel embarrassed, so there needs to be an element of fun to keep them at ease. Maybe somebody comes with a funny proposal story or there’s a crazy excuse for backing out of a booked wedding. Let them have, but be ready to reel it back in.

  1. Roleplay by title of buyers.

Every sales meeting is different because of who is on the other side of the table. Mix up scenarios by having people roleplay as different buyers — a corporate representative, a bride, a mother of the bride, or even that bridesmaid who thinks she’s an event planner.

  1. Split roleplaying between sales peers and management.

It’s great to let your employees get practice, but why not play a role yourself? It’s a fun and interactive way to engage your team. They’ll love the opportunity to correct you on certain things, too — let them have it and work together to create a better solution.

  1. Make a list of your top ten sales objections.

These are going to be the most important scenarios to play out, as they are most common in your company. Do this ahead of time and ask your team for feedback, since they’re the ones on the ground. These objections are great for portraying a real-life client.

  1. Redirect straying conversations back to the sales process.

In roleplaying, it always goes off gear somewhere. People feel uncomfortable, so they subconsciously change the subject and start talking about other things. Be prepared to bring it back in and refocus participants on the task at hand.

  1. Lights, camera, action — record the roleplaying.

Although listeners will see everything in real-time, those on the hot seat don’t get to see the scenario play out from an outside perspective. Record the session and have the participants watch their performance privately so they can analyze what they would do differently.

  1. Debrief with kindness and support.

There will inevitably be bumps in the road while roleplaying and it should remain a closed, safe space to avoid spillover into regular work. Wrap up each session with a motivational talk to lift up anyone who may have felt uncomfortable, insecure, or left out in the process.

  1. Document strengths and areas for improvement.

Keep a running tally of where your team is performing well and where they could use some improvement. With that, you’ll be able to plan future roleplaying sessions around the weaker spots so your team can gain practice where they need it most.

In the beginning, roleplaying can be tough for everyone involved. You’ll need to pick volunteers to start and, as people get into the swing of things, the idea of roleplaying will become easier and more natural. Once your team gets over that first hurdle, it can become very fun and educational for the whole company.

 

With 30 years of experience owning event planning, high-end catering, and design and décor companies, Meryl Snow is on a mission to help businesses get on their own path to success. As a Senior Consultant & Sales Trainer for SnowStorm Solutions, Meryl travels throughout North America training clients in the areas of sales, marketing, design, and branding. As a valued member of the Wedding Industry Speakers, she speaks with groups from the heart with warmth and knowledge, and covers the funny side of life and business.

 

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