The old adage 80 percent of your quota comes from 20 percent of your reps has never been truer. The economy caused a lot of non-sales people to enter the sales profession. Despite our best hiring practices we have let greener than green people into our vacant sales positions.
Before you give up on the lower performing agents implement an intense role play, as a sales coaching tool, initiative and get everyone to contribute. Have your top sales executives play the prospect so they can use real world scenarios. Have your lower performing agents play the prospect using their toughest real world example. Don’t just send them on their way to do role plays, sit in on them regularly and conduct many of them yourself.
1) Reiterates the processes
You already know that the more refined the sales process the more repeatable the success. Role plays allow you to demonstrate this process to your sale team and to show them the how and why’s of those processes. When salespeople don’t understand the process or know the why’s behind them, they will surely abandon them.
2) Activates agility
In a world that doesn’t exist, every sales call is the same. Since you don’t live in that world you have help your salespeople reach mastery of key selling skills so they develop adaptability. Role play as a sales coaching tool helps the salesperson develop an intuition about the buyer that will allow them to better read them during the sales pitch. This will reduce friction and stuttering through the selling process.
3) Lends credibility to your skill set
You want your team to apply what you teach. The best way to get them to do that is to allow them to see it work. Demonstrating what you are telling them through role play helps them buy into it more quickly.
4) Real world scenarios
I’ve seen role plays done where the team is just going through the motions. The person playing the prospect readily agrees to take the meeting. Don’t bother using role play as a sales coaching tool if you aren’t going to use real world scenarios. Have your best salespeople play the prospect and have your lower performing people use a scenario where they were unsure of how to take the pitch.
5) Rehearsing is the best way to prepare
Actors, wedding parties, athletes and speakers, among others, spend hours upon hours rehearsing so why not sales professionals? Sales is a craft just as those previously mentioned. Role play helps salespeople to perfect their craft and the continuous practice accelerates their development.
6) Identifies unconscious inappropriate phrases
Salespeople develop bad speaking habits like “you know”, “great, great” “right, right”. These filler words indicate they aren’t really sure how to fill the air or be comfortable with the silence. Role play will help you identify these ridiculous utterances and help the salesperson break them.
1) Avoid spectacular sales crashes
Performance begins to normalize and improve week over week. Wouldn’t you rather show a sales chart to executive leadership that has a steady line up vs one that has drastic dips?
2) Career improves
The executive leadership is looking at how well you develop your team, it is right up there with hitting your numbers. Watch how quickly your career advances when you hit your numbers and develop your team.
3) Engagement improves
Your engagement and your teams engagement improves. By using role plays as a sales coaching tool you are telling your team you are engaged and the activity itself will improve their engagement as well.
4) Process improvement
Leaders do a lot of things that make the employee’s job difficult and sometimes impossible. There isn’t always a closed loop process that gives you a peak into how those changes have hurt their ability to perform. When you do role play you get to see how your processes are used and how they impact your teams performance.
5) Identifies strengths and weakness
With role play as a sales coaching tool, you can easily identify the strengths and weaknesses of your team. You will also be able to quickly see if someone just isn’t a fit. The sooner you can identify these things and correct them, the quicker you can build an all-star team.
6) Validates what you are preaching
Sometimes when you tell salespeople how to do something it is because you KNOW it works and sometimes it is something you THINK will work. Doing role play as a sales coaching tool will help you validate, to yourself and your team, what you are preaching to them.
Role play, as a sales coaching tool, help your salespeople, seasoned and new alike, learn to be and develop into a smooth running machine. By doing role plays consistently the interactions that your sales reps have with the prospects will become more fluid. You will feel comfortable with what they are doing in the field and you will more easily, and with less stress, meet or exceed your numbers and advance your career.
One last piece of advice, fire any salesperson who refuses to role play IMMEDIATELY. I doubt that Angelina Jolie, Tom Brady or Barbara Corcoran, among other professionals, don’t spend a great deal of time rehearsing. If your salesperson thinks they are too good to role play then you don’t need them on your team.
What tactics have you used in role plays as a sales coaching tool? Use the comments below or follow the conversation on Twitter at #SalesRolePlay.