I know roleplaying sucks! It’s artificial and unrealistic and often times ends up being a big waste of time.
But, if the role-playing is done intelligently, it’s a great way to help a salesperson understand where he or she shines. It also shows them where there is a need for improvement.
As a sales trainer, I find recording the sessions to be incredibly useful. The recordings allow salesperson to understand exactly what needs improving and what needs to be showcased for other sales reps in their sales training sessions.
I was working with a coaching client who needs to improve his cold calling technique. During the role-play, I recorded his performance.
I could immediately tell that this was a stressful situation for my client. His voice was tight and he was speaking quite quickly. From his perception he was talking normally.
So, I asked him to tell me about his best friend. As soon as he started talking about his friend, the tone of his voice became warmer and his speech slowed down to a comfortable level.
I asked him, then and there, to call his friend and ask him out to the movies that weekend. I had my iPhone recording the entire sales training exercise.After his conversation with his friend, I played him the recording of his role-play.
Hearing his voice on the iPhone allowed him to hear the stress in his voice. He immediately said, “I wouldn’t want to talk to that guy.”
Then, I played in the recording of his conversation with his friend. As he heard it, there was a smile on his face. He said, “Now, that sounds normal.”
Just telling him that there was a problem wasn’t enough. If I had let him hear his role-play recording, he would have realized he was under stress. But allowing him to hear a conversation with his friend modeled, for him, how he needs to sound when he makes cold calls.
My client told me that once you get started on the phone call, it goes much better. It’’s the first minute of the call that’s the most challenging for him.
For the remainder of the sales training session, I got him to just practice the opening 30 seconds of the call. We role-played that several times until he could comfortably execute.
His homework for the day was to make 20 calls with one mission in mind. He was to deliver the first 30 seconds of the call using the warmth and the pacing of his “best friend” call.
At the end of the day, he reported that each call went exceptionally well. Forcing himself to have the warmth and pacing upfront, allowed him to effortlessly complete each call.