How Important Is Role Play In The World Of Sales?

Role Play in SalesThe use of role play within the sales industry is something that certain managers choose to avoid based on the assumption that this activity will not accomplish the goals that exist for the team.

A sales management team needs to get over this notion in order to provide representatives with a chance to practice for specific situations that can come up during the process of selling.

According to Heather Kivett, president of Resolution Systems, Inc., a sales training and consulting firm, the use of role play is necessary for preparing salespeople for specific situations that can come up during correspondence or while making a value proposition.

“I was told it was important not to do role plays when I was doing training,” said the executive. “The theory was that it is not real, so what is the benefit?”

Kivett related the use of role play for a sales team to sports teams practicing certain situations prior to a game. A football or basketball player will use this tactic every day during the week in order to ensure that they execute everything to a T when the competition actually begins.

“For this type of scenario, role play is the closest thing to the real thing, it is simulation,” said the executive. “Though these players may not refer to their practice by the same name, the principle remains identical.”

A pilot uses the same type of practice when they are learning how to operate and fly their plane. A flight simulator acts as their method of role play, and this is a staple of the industry to prevent accidents and prepare for certain situations.

“The human brain doesn’t really know the difference between a role play and a reality,” said the executive. “All it knows is that it had an experience.”

If you are role-playing and you practice the same play over and over again during the week, when game time arrives, the players and coaches will all be on the same page and everyone will understand their specific job. This will limit the amount of time that it takes to react when something goes awry and will help to ensure that all of the key movements are executed, according to Kivett.

“It is the same thing in sales training,” said the executive. “You are going to role play a particular situation, so that by the time you get into the real scenario, it is a case of deja-vu, regardless of the specific scenario. It becomes automatic and that is what you are looking for.”

An individual’s brain can reference and remember a myriad of strategies to navigate through a particular scenario.

“If you don’t role play and prepare for specific scenarios then it is like the coach drawing up the plays and saying okay this is how you do it, and then go out and play the game,” said Kivett.

The process of role-playing is vital, significant to operations and needs to be done constantly in order to improve retention. Reinforcement of the things that are learned can help representatives limit their mistakes.

“It needs to be evaluated in order to gauge the level of effectiveness,” said Kivett. “Role-playing has to be part of weekly activities in order to keep everything fresh. Even employees that are operating in remote areas need to participate, and this can be done through a video or a conference call.”

Before specific scenarios, intense negotiations or special presentations representatives should role play over and over again so they are able to execute when crunch time arrives.