Spice Up Your Sales Meetings with Role-Play Blog Feature
Steve Bookbinder

By: Steve Bookbinder on April 16th, 2015

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Spice Up Your Sales Meetings with Role-Play

Sales Training | Sales Meetings

Selling multiple platforms makes role-playing more important than ever before! Effectively telling a cohesive and compelling story that incorporates a wide array of terms and tactics takes significant preparation. Role-playing with managers and peers is still the best way to accomplish that critical objective!

Let’s take a look at the “Four Ps” that drive great role playing…

1. Purpose

“Why are we doing this?” should have a solid answer. It’s not about just making the sales manager happy or filling up some time in a sales meeting. Role-playing is a practice session. And practice still makes perfect…if we practice with purpose! Smartphones and any other distractions should be eliminated before the session even gets started. It’s the sales manager’s job to make it clear that the session is for the benefit of both the presenter and the team—to improve everyone’s ability to tackle the topic being addressed during the session!

2. Precision

Airplane pilots don’t practice landing just to get their plane on the ground! Technically speaking, a crash is a landing! Instead, they practice to put their aircraft on the runway at a precise speed and then bring it to a full stop at a predefined point. Role-playing a sales call or presentation requires the same sort of commitment to precision. What are we trying to accomplish and how will we know when we have? Defining what a successful call looks like in advance is absolutely critical!

3. Patience

Both the presenter and the audience need to understand that this is a rehearsal. Rehearsals of all kinds tend to be repetitive and sometimes painful. Rushing through a role-play almost defeats the purpose of having one in the first place. Setting aside an “open ended” time that allows for repetition and lots of feedback is the way to go. Everyone involved learns more if adequate time is allotted for the exercise!

4. Passion

voice-recorder-smartphoneEverybody involved needs to be excited and emotionally engaged in the process. A whole range of emotions should be on display during a role-play—but that’s healthy. Nothing is more boring (or a waste of time) than when neither the presenter nor the audience is fully engaged in the session. A dynamic role-play has moments that are tense, funny, harrowing, etc. Just like real life. Passion is the “magic” ingredient that makes it a constructive and memorable experience!

Record the role-playing session on a smartphone! This will be an invaluable tool for the presenter. Painful as it may be, watching oneself perform is a healthy and beneficial exercise. Athletes in all sports watch themselves perform on video on a routine basis—salespeople should be doing the same thing. So don’t waste the full value of a session by failing to record it!

Last but not least, role-playing should be fun! Along with the instructional value, these sessions can be very entertaining. Coming to the role-play with a positive and creative spirit will only enhance the value of the experience. Yes, it’s work, but it’s work that can be both rewarding and everyone involved can also have a great time. Let’s all keep that in mind!

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About the Author


Buff Parham is a widely recognized thought leader and outstanding coach in the media sales and sales management field. With 35 years of sales experience, Buff has worked at Univision, FOX, Belo, ABC and CBS. He believes that hard work matters and that raising the bar and having greater expectations tend to generate greater results. In his spare time, Buff finds cooking and playing golf to be two of the best therapies for a somewhat hectic existence!

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About Steve Bookbinder

Steve Bookbinder is the CEO and sales expert at DMTraining. He has delivered more than 5,000 workshops and speeches to clients all over the world and has trained, coached, and managed more than 50,000 salespeople and managers. Steve continuously refreshes his training content to reflect his latest first-hand observations of salespeople across industries and regions. Through him, participants in his workshops and coaching sessions learn the best practices of today’s most successful sellers and managers across industries. Steve understands that sales is a competitive game. To outperform competitors and our own personal best results, we need to out-prospect, out-qualify, out-present and out-negotiate everyone else, not merely know how to sell. Through his specialty programs in Pipeline Management, Personal Marketing, Great First Meetings, 2nd-level Questioning, Sales Negotiating, and Sales Coaching, Steve trains sales teams to master the skills they need to overcome the challenges they face in today’s world… and keep improving results year over year.

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