Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Do you know what "Little Sales Theater" means and what it is used for?

"Role Play" Sales Training
It is always good to take from life all the lessons that it can give us and, in this case, the examples are abundant and in many areas, both on the personal and professional side.

If you have noticed medicine students, for instance, do not practice on living patients. No. They practice with corpses, with people who have died and donated their bodies for research and study purposes.

Why is it done this way? Because it would be really impossible for medicine students to do their practice on living patients. Can you imagine such an awkward situation?: "Sir, let me cut open your chest because we want to take a look inside and see how your heart works."

Would it work? Of course it would not!

Athletes also do the same thing: They spend countless hours practicing their respective activities to make sure they dominate it openly and are fully prepared to play at their best level.

If professional athletes practice for so many hours to be their best, why should not a salesperson do the same?

Student pilots also do the same and when they want to develop their flying skills during very deteriorated weather conditions (heavy rain, storms, low visibility, strong wind gusts, etc.) they do not do it on real airplanes, they do it in simulators.

Again, why is it done this way?

This is done to minimize the risks associated with flying an airplane in very adverse conditions, since there are not only material risks to take into account, but also risk to people’s life as well as lots of damages caused by an airplane crashing into the ground.

Well in sales, it's the same story. We have to do it the same way, if we want to reach the level of real "professional salesmen".

What's the reason behind the use of  the "Little Sales Theater" training?

In a market so competitive as the one we are living in today, in which the opportunities to have a face-to-face appointment with the person making the purchase decision for that important company are very difficult to achieve.

We need to be very well prepared to take advantage of those 15 or 30 minutes that the client will give us and during which we have to capture all their attention, interest and, God permit, convince them that our products and services are the most appropriate option to fulfill their needs.

Therefore those 15 or 30 minutes have to be taken advantage of in such an efficient way, that would it be useful for you that your sales representative is poorly prepared and does not have the necessary skills to do the job right?

Would it serve you that because of that poorly done job, with a client that has taken so much time and effort to arrange the initial meeting with, they finally decide to do business with another company just because you lost your one opportunity?

Is it really worth it to waste your client's time that way, bringing in a poorly prepared salesperson?

Again, of course it is not!

That's why we make use of the "Little Sales Theater" training, because the first thing it offers you is a safe environment in which your salespeople, and perhaps yourself, can practice their sales pitch, can listen to the different questions every customer usually brings up, can correctly identify customer’s objections and learn how to go around them efficiently, in a setting where no unnecessary risk is taken.

During the realization of the "Little Sales Theater" training, which is formally called "Role Playing Sales Training", two people participate: one impersonates your customer and the other is regularly the sales “trainee” or the person willing to master its selling skills.

Usually the sales supervisor or the most senior salesman plays the role of "customer" because he or she is the one who better knows most of the things a  customer can say and do during a normal sales presentation.

And the whole idea you must already have it: During the "Little Sales Theater" training session participants will simulate all the conditions they would go through as if they were making the same presentation in real life, from the initial moments of every sales visit (properly approaching and greeting your customer, maintaining eye contact, and so forth) until the closure of the visit itself, making appropriate commitments, review of achievements, etc.

What are the advantages of taking the "Little Sales Theater" training?

Including in your team’s sales training practicing role-playing, that is, the "Little Sales Theater" allows them to enjoy the following advantages:

  • They can make all the mistakes they want because the person they will be practicing with will surely be an immediate supervisor and their job will be to detect any faults and correct them on the spot.
  • They will be able to increase the difficulty levels of the sales presentation at will, being able then - in simulation mode - to face the most difficult and annoying customers in the world, without this situation generating unnecessary stress.
  • They will be able to perform as many times as they want, without this implying they have to leave the office nor depend on the time their customers might have available. It will only depend on the time the sales manager has available, or perhaps a sales team colleague.
  • They will not waste valuable opportunities, being able to practice in advance all their future sales presentations, especially those scheduled with particularly important or difficult clients.
  • They will arrive at each sales presentation much more prepared and confident, knowing they have been able to review in advance all the questions the client could ask and that they already know the answers they must offer.
  • They will not risk damaging your company’s reputation, or their own, by making poor quality, ineffective or insufficiently prepared sales presentations.

And the most important thing is, of course, that you do not lose money!

It is very simple: Your company does not lose money because it does not waste what could be valuable opportunities to get big and important customers, depending on salespeople who are not deep and conscientiously prepared to make every sales presentation.

Remember that there are no bad employees, but supervisors who do not do their job properly.

And just in case you're wondering at the moment "Why do I have to make so much effort so that my salesmen are well prepared? Are not they supposed to be the ones who want to make money? "

I would like to ask you now: Who is the one who loses with the poor performance of a poorly prepared salesman?

Is it your business or the salesman?

What about all those customers who your "bad" salesman as visited while working for you, and whom he has left with a bad taste in their mouth?

Who was the one who actually ended up losing? Your company or the salesman who already quit?

Picture credit: Elnur / see portfolio

Some additional posts I recommend you to read in this blog that relate to this one:
What Role Should Salespeople Occupy Within Your Company?
Corporate reputation and sales reps’ responsibility.
What Role Should Salespeople Occupy Within Your Company?
How can you professionalize your sales team? Why do you need to do it?

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