Just imagine if a top athlete never practiced. Would he or she be as successful? Probably not. So it always surprises me to learn that so many ad sales reps that never, ever role-play in an effort to improve. Every salesperson needs regular role play sessions and trainings to be successful.
Here are my top 5 tips to improve your role-playing practice:
1. Set a schedule. Commit to a schedule of 2x a week for the first two weeks, then once a week for the following two weeks. Graduate to once per month. Start role-playing one-on-one in a private office and then move to group role play. You can do it!
2. Create real world scenarios. Create scenarios that you have actually encountered out there in the real world, not fictional characters. Advertising clients are smart and savvy and you should practice to that. If your partner typically doesn’t not take you down the odd rabbit hole like a real advertiser might, then build the challenges into your role-play. include those serious objections, issues and road blocks that are real. You’ll learn to be ready for anything!
3. Be prepared to flop. The first time you role-play it doesn’t all go smoothly. For the very first role-play session, just walk through the steps. Then try it again, for real. This helps get your feet under you and you find your composure. Also make sure you have notes to follow until you get it perfect. Be consistent, don’t just make it up as you go.
4. Customize your pitch. As you roll out new products, absolutely develop a practice for them. If you have legacy products that need sales growth, create a practice just for these legacy products.
5. Record or video the role-playing session. There may be things you are doing that you are not even aware of. Hearing and seeing yourself afterwards can really help you improve your sales approach.
Bonus Tip: Practice with someone you respect who will give you quality feedback. This is critical.
Extra Bonus Tip: Breathe!
Effective role-play means setting aside the time and taking it seriously. Don’t leave out any steps. If you find yourself saying blah-blah as a filler, STOP.
And then go back and role-play like you mean it!
More about Ryan: Ryan Dohrn is an award winning sales coach and sales trainer. Ryan is the President and founder of Brain Swell Media, a boutique 360 ad sales training company and Publisher of Sales Training World, offering a detailed focus on sales training and coaching for media and technology companies.
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