An important part of sales enablement is training, and an important way for adults to learn is via role play situations. The following is my guidance and outline for others looking to incorporate role play in their training sessions.
PREP FOR THE TRAINER:
Plan to have one person play the customer/prospect and the other play the sales rep. Write up notes based on real-world calls that have worked well AND on the flow of a conversation that works for your solution and selling method. These notes will be for a person playing the customer to refer to during the role play. These should include:
- Pains & Challenges: Have one main pain point that the customer is willing to share, but have a few more that they only give up if the rep draws them out. This can be done by giving examples of similar customers, expanding on the initial pain, or just asking "why". This is both an information gathering step, but also an opportunity for the rep to raise issues the customer should be thinking about.
- Ideal Situation: Have a main goal that the customer is willing to share, but a few more that they only give up if the rep draws them out.
- Decision Makers: List out a few other names, titles and how they will be part of the decision making process.
- Timing: List out an ideal date to have a solution, some compelling events (such as end of the fiscal year, an upcoming holiday, etc.), the completion of a related project, etc.
- Budget: Note an expected amount the customer is willing to pay, but then the budget they actually have available, and whatever purchasing process they have vendors go through before purchasing a solution.
- Industry/Solution Specific: If integration with other systems is important, prepare some notes on that. If reaching a target audience is going to be important, then prepare some notes on that. And so on.
IN CLASS, SET THE STAGE:
Establish the situation, such as the customer has finally agreed to have a conversation with a sales rep – maybe this is after e-mails or cold calls from a sales development rep. So the customer knows a little bit about your company, but nothing in-depth.
LET THE ROLE PLAY BEGIN:
- Give the person playing the customer a few minutes to read the notes without the person playing the sales rep seeing the notes.
- Have the person playing the sales rep take notes as they uncover details about the customer’s situation and the sales opportunity.
- The customer can give up a few points, (1 per topic), but can only give up more details if the rep draws them out. This can be done by giving examples of similar customers, expanding on the initial pains & goals, and by simply asking "why". This is both an information gathering exercise, but also an opportunity for the rep to raise issues the customer should be thinking about. Ideally, the decision makers, timing, and budget details are ONLY shared if the sales rep asks about them.
The goal is for the sales rep to keep asking for information and having a productive conversation to uncover more, so eventually their notes should match the details from the customer notes.