Continuing to develop the skill set of your sales team is critical; one way to do that is role-playing. We asked five of Chicago and Indianapolis' top sales leaders about their personal best practices for making role-playing an effective exercise for the entire team. Here are their answers:
Justin Cardillo, VP of Sales at PerkSpot: It's imperative that reps have the ability to to playback and practice the items we cover. So after the first role-play, we'll go over some areas to improve, and then I'll have them start over again focusing on the new items we've highlighted. Once we perfect it, we go over it a few more times to really hammer it home. Lastly, we also take notes on the areas where we improved, and we follow up on our progress during our next weekly meeting, where the individual will practice once more.
James McGuinness, Director of Sales at YCharts: I make role-playing as realistic as possible to maximize the value of the exercise. That means involving seasoned account executives when practicing mock calls for new sales development reps. Since the AEs have been through it all before, they can act out very real experiences. I also try to keep it fun by throwing curve balls like hanging up mid-conversation — not every sales pitch leads to a sale, so it makes sense that not every mock call ends on a positive note.
Rich Dastice, Director of Recruiting at NCSA: Role-playing is an essential tool for us, because we have a young sales team combined with a very diverse group of prospects with a variety of needs and wants based on so many different factors, including sport, region, and income just to name just a few. The beauty of role-playing is that we can re-create virtually all of those scenarios. That way, they aren’t hearing it for the first time live on the phone. We can also provide immediate feedback to our team which is much more impactful. This kind of preparation, especially for a young team, is absolutely critical. Role-playing gives them a noticeably higher degree of confidence, which helps make it easier to have a more natural and productive conversation.
Andy Mack, CEO at SnapMobile: We take one hour each week to role-play sales conversations from the previous week. We get input from the group as to how each person would answer or respond to the client question. This hour really helps new salespeople to catch up on our pitch and past client work.
Justin Fite, Chief Sales Officer at Lessonly: Scaling role-playing is critical since managers cannot get to every topic with every rep. Having a learning action plan which identifies the "best next skill" focuses the role-play on a sub-skill (handle X objection). Then having a solution to automate the capture, score the recording of the role-play and provide feedback makes it scalable.