Aug 112011

Sales Training: The Power of Role Play

by Jim Fiorini,

At some point when you have attended enough sales training you will have done some role play excersise.  These are typically short forays into making your first prospecting call and pitching your “ice breaker” or “elevator pitch”.  Useful?  Well, better than nothing.

About seven years ago I attended a great advanced telecommunication solutions sales training and participate in without question the best exercise of any type ever in sales.

Here’s the format.  There were eight highly detailed scripts based on a common scenario; financial, IT, administrative, human resources, marketing, operations, sales and the decision maker.  As an aside, this is when I had my light bulb moment for the Eight Requirements of a Closed Deal

These scrips took days of hard work to prepare but what dividends they paid.  The scenario was a mid-sized small manufacturing business having 500 employees and clearly defined departments that had varying levels of dependence and requirements for their telephone switch.  Each character had a detailed description of their past and present situation and a goal for future development.  Skillfully embedded within each description were opportunities to solve problems using applications the teleco offered.

The class was divided into three teams then one person from each team joined up in a three person group.  In these groups each member was assigned as the prospect contact, sales rep, and observer.  The observers job was to ensure no one stepped out of character and take notes for a later critique.  The rep interviewed the prospect contact exaclty as they would in a real world situation asking questions, taking notes and making value assesments.

Once a session had been completed the teams moved to the next scenario and everyone changed roles.  By the end of the excercise each member had an opportunity to be prospect, rep and observer at least twice.  When this process had been completed the members returned to their original groups to put together a proposal for presentation to the training moderator and his assistant.

The “winner” was the team that presented the highest value proposal covering the most points including solutions, applications, finaincial considerations and competition.

The entire program covered two full days and we didn’t get much sleep putting together the proposals.  I had never had a company invest this many resources before or since and it’s a very short sighted view they are taking.

I, along with many of the reps there came away from that session with new ideas, better insights into real world customer challenges, application deployment, the importance of finance in the total solution process and fifty other line items.  Most importantly, the single critical commodity I walked out of that hotel with was confidence.

I noted an immediate and dramatic increase in my close rate as well as the overall value of my proposals.  Because these were skills I used every day of my professional career not only didn’t they get rusty but they grew ever sharper with practice and use until I acieved a consistent close ratio of 96% on proposals presented.

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To Discuss how these Solutions will add value for you, your organization and/or your clients, Affinity/Resale Opportunities, and/or Collaborative Efforts, Please Contact:

Tom McDonald,; 608-788-5144; Skype: tsmw5752

McDonald Sales and Marketing, LLC