Most of us who've spent our career in sales have memories -- both fond and not so fond -- of role playing with sales managers before a sales call. Sometimes this involved practicing the presentation of a new product line. At other times the entire sales team might have needed help in addressing a difficult objection or a refuting a statement being made about the company by a competitor.
Some of my fellow reps disliked role playing -- claiming it didn't really duplicate the reality of making a presentation. Other reps thought the pressure of performing while managers and peers watched was too great.
As a rep myself, I understood how they felt. What I did think role realistically replicated, at least for me, was the sense of heightened awareness one experiences when face-to-face with a decision maker. I never knew exactly what my manager would say to me during role play -- just as I could never be certain what a buyer would say. To me, that was worth the stress and pressure.
Change things up a little bit. To avoid the sameness of role playing -- manager acts as decision maker rep plays the part of-------well, the rep ------have your sales reps take on the role of the buyer or decision maker.
Acting as the decision maker forces the rep to look at the sales call from another's point of view. The salesperson moves from practicing addressing a buyer's objections to thinking about what concerns they as a buyer might bring up.
As sales manager, a lot of your coaching time gets spent practicing with reps until they feel prepared. Top performing managers and reps also plan for the unexpected. Looking at a sales call from some one elses point of view adds to the reps' confidence level when the actual sales call takes place.