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  • Writer's picturebdkjenner

Rocket Fuel -Roleplay; A Powerful Tool

Today’s Rocket Fuel is about a powerful tool that will allow you to continually improve your sales approach; role-playing. Many salespeople are uncomfortable or even possibly afraid of 'role-playing'. Here is an excerpt from TOP Seller where Bob Stephens, a seasoned salesperson, is attending a training meeting with the new salespeople and is exposed to role-playing:

About 45 minutes into the meeting Jay says a word that makes my face go hot and my palms go cool: role-play. How he actually said it was, “OK, I want everyone to role-play the initial interview with the person sitting next to them.”

I quickly count heads and see that there are exactly six—not including Jay or myself—which means I am the odd man out. As a sense of relief flows over me. Jay sits down beside Lily. “Lily, do you want to start or should I?”

This can’t be happening. If Lily partners with Jay, there will be one person left over, and any money says the extra person is going to want me as their partner. I can feel the panic taking hold.

There is something about role-playing that terrifies me, especially in front of a new salesperson. After all, I am supposed to be the experienced one: I can just see it now—this person is going to do a great job of roleplaying, and then, when it is my turn, I am going to freeze. They are going to snicker, point, and laugh, and I will be the butt of all their jokes for years to come. I can feel my heart starting to race. Rudy looks at me calmly and asks, “Are you ready?”

Ready? I think to myself. Ready? Oh yes, I’m ready… ready to throw up.

Many salespeople feel the same way Bob Stephens does about role-playing. In fact, when many salespeople are exposed to a new approach, guess where they try it out for the very first time - right in front of their client! Usually this has disastrous results. And then what do they do? They revert back to the comfort of their old and tired ways. The reason: they didn't want to role-play it first because role-playing makes them feel uncomfortable. So, ask yourself what's more uncomfortable: messing up in a role-play or messing up in front of a client? What is so great about role-playing? Role-playing gives you the opportunity to always be trying new and improved sales approaches. It also allows you to keep your old approaches fresh and alive. To use role-play to your advantage, you must first learn to get beyond the act of role-playing itself. How do you do that? Start by role-playing with yourself. Take parts of your sales process and practice them when you are alone in your car, at home or office. Then take that hand-dandy phone of yours and punch that record button to get a firsthand perspective of what your customer will see and hear. Once you are comfortable with that, take your role-playing a notch and practice with someone close to you whom you trust such as a friend, a spouse, or a peer. Build your comfort level with role-playing from there. Eventually, you will reach the point where your focus is only on the part of the process you are trying to improve, as opposed to the act of role-playing itself. And when that comfort level comes - and it will - you will have opened yourself up to one of the most powerful practicing tools available.

Onward and upward!

Brian Kjenner

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#sales #salestraining #salesleadership #prospecting #selling

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