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March 8, 2013

3 Benefits of Making Role-Play a Part of Your Training

SNI's Philosophy

Jeff Cochran

1

Role-play has been a common training method amongst military branches, emergency response groups, and companies where quick decision making is highly valued. So, why not in the world of sales?

Over the last few years, we’ve noticed the use of role-play becoming even more common in business and sales training curriculums – and for good reason. Sales teams that continually engage in role-playing are more likely to outperform their non-role-playing competitors.

 

3 Benefits of Role-Play

Here are just a few of the benefits of making role-playing a part of your business training.

Build Confidence: When your team role-plays, they’ll have a number of situations thrown at them, from unhappy customers to customers who don’t know what they want to buy. Role-playing provides a safe environment to encounter these scenarios for the first time, which builds confidence in team members that can help them in the field.

Develop Listening Skills: Good role-playing requires good listening skills. In addition to understanding the words the other person is saying, it’s important to listen to body language and non-verbal clues (more on that here). Have your team develop those skills while role-playing – not when they’re trying to close a real sale.

Creative Problem-Solving: Over the years, we’ve found that no matter how outlandish a situation you create in a controlled environment, something even more bizarre is bound to happen in the real world. Role-playing will at least give your team the chance to get some experience in handling difficult situations and developing creative problem-solving skills.

 

How to Start Role-Playing

While we strongly encourage you to hire a professional facilitator for the most effective role-play, here are a few tips for doing it yourself:

Use actual locations. The best role-play is as realistic as possible. Put participants in the physical locations where they would actually experience the scenarios you’re trying to replicate, whether that’s the boardroom, warehouse, or an executive’s office.

  • Imitate sales calls. This is perhaps one of the easiest forms of role-play training to execute yourself. Give the “customers” a personality profile and list of objectives that the salesperson doesn’t know about. The goal isn’t to make the sale, but to determine the “customer’s” objectives.
  • Hire consultants and actors. Getting an authentic role-play experience from your team may be difficult to do on your own. Bring in consultants and professional actors to get the corporate sales training or negotiation training your team deserves!

Have you ever used role-play in training your sales team? How did it go?

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