This morning I took a tennis lesson; I was struggling with my volleys and wanted a little coaching on how to be a little more aggressive at the net. I only started playing tennis a few years ago, so I find a lesson once a week really makes a difference. And the investment has been paying off, as my game and my standings have greatly improved in the last year.
In fact, I have this entire process I use to work on my tennis game. I strike a balance between playing a match, taking lessons, and working on the ball machine. I find live play shows how I am doing under pressure, the lessons improve my technique, and the ball machine helps me groove my strokes. I have done the same thing for my golf game for years.
So I was thinking this week as I was working on both of my games, how come we don’t do this in our professional lives? Set up a process to improve our skills, practice to groove our strokes, and then put ourselves in live play to see how we do under pressure? Well, let me take that back; we do the live play, but rarely if ever, do we do what we need to do to get better at that live play.
Think about your life, whether it is sports, music, painting, or woodworking – whatever your passions, you practice, right? You invest the time to get better at what you’re doing to improve, progress, and learn to master the hobby or the skill.
Well, if you want to close more sales, you need to take this same concept to your sales game. You need to invest the time in improving your technique and practice your craft so you can groove your strokes. The best way to do that is role-playing. Now, stop it; I can hear you as I am writing this blog. I can hear you moaning, groaning, and making faces because you hate role-playing.
Listen, I get it, but take a minute and think, do you really love to practice when it comes to your hobbies or sports? No, but you do it anyway because you want to get better. I think that role-playing in sales is one of the most effective strategies you can invest time in, and it is for sure one that is guaranteed to help you close more sales.
5 Techniques To Help You Master The Role Play
1. Create The Time
Set aside thirty minutes, maybe an hour every week, to role play. I know you don’t think you have thirty minutes, but investing time like this will pay dividends. So be proactive and set aside the time.
2. Design The Scenarios
Choose good live situations where you want to get in the door with a customer or a lost sale. But choose the role-play scenarios that are as close to real-life as possible. That puts you in situations that, when you practice them and get feedback on them, will help you make true progress.
3. Choose The Right Coaches
Every role-play should have a customer, a sales professional, one coach, and a few people to observe. Choose the right people to role play with. Choose the team members that will take this seriously, those that want to grow and improve, and those that will be honest and open about what you are doing well and what needs improvement. Find the team members who see the value in working on your skills.
4. Develop The Plan
After every role-play, develop a plan. What have you learned, what will you change, and what will you continue to do that is working? What can you take from the role play to the live play and integrate it into your live sales play?
5. Reward and Recognize
Reward yourself and the team. So few sales professionals role play and even less do it consistently, so reward yourselves. Do something nice for your teammates who joined you, and celebrate your wins.
Think about it, if you want to be good at anything, you need to practice. You need a good coach, and you need to work on your skills. Whether it is tennis, soccer, golf, painting, OR sales – invest in a good practice session and watch as your performance radically improves.