Role playing. An “unsure” sales rep’s worst nightmare — why? It puts people on the spot and calls them out on their weaknesses.
Sounds downright mean, right? WRONG.
Discomfort leads to growth — you are actually doing your sales team a disservice if you are NOT asking them to step out of their comfort zone to participate in challenging mock selling situations in front of you and their peers.
Do you really know the message that your sales reps are communicating?
Sure you can listen in on one end of the line (your reps), but it’s hard to tell how the prospect is responding. By the end of your reps’ conversations, does the prospect understand what your company does and how it could help them? Is the prospect giving signals that your rep is just not picking up on? Is your rep ending the conversation too soon without pushing to get more qualifying information?
Role playing is a great way to better understand how your reps are articulating your product’s value proposition and what language/approach they are using to qualify prospects.
Role playing will give you the opportunity to nip your reps’ bad habits in the bud.
Suggestion: Hold your role playing session every Friday after your weekly pipeline review and retrospective. Dig into your list of common rejections and plan out in advance three to four challenging scenarios to weave into a role playing engagement. MAKE IT TOUGH.
At the end of each session ask the group to discuss what the person did well and did not do well in their role playing scenario. Document the key points that were brought up in the assessment.
Record the role playing. Replay the footage to the reps so that they can better understand how they sound. Make them ask the question — “would I be interested in/feel comfortable buying from myself?” At the end of the month, look back through the weekly role playing recordings to see improvements over time.
After a while, you will find that your reps are much more comfortable with role playing, and that they are likely less panicked when a curve ball is thrown in their direction in front of their peers. Chances are… they will be more comfortable during an actual call as well.
If nothing else, role playing will give you an excellent opportunity to understand your reps’ strengths and weaknesses for one-on-one coaching.
When OpenView Venture Partners helps train Lead Qualification reps at our expansion stage technology companies, we always work role playing into the initial training, but then advise the sales managers to continue the practice as often as possible thereafter.
Remember, sales training doesn’t end after week one!