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Sales Role-Play is a Key to Success

Sales role-play is a minor step that we can take to instigate major improvements.  Role-playing refers to the act of two or more people playing out a particular scenario.  Applying to this to sales, we can role-play many different situations in the sales cycle including cold calling, fielding objections, delivering presentations, and trying to close prospects and this practice can greatly improve our performance and results.

Benefits of Role-Playing

The benefits of employing some sort of role-playing tactics during the sales training or sales coaching processes can be tremendous.  Not only will there likely be an immediate improvement in execution leading to an increase in sales results, but there can also be a decrease in sales staff turnover.

Turnover is something that every sales organization has to try to control.  The main reasons that sales resources leave an organization is that they leave voluntarily because they are not selling or they are asked to leave because they are not selling.  By incorporating a deeper level of practice through the act of role-playing, sales resources will be better positioned for success and this can have direct impact on decreasing sales staff turnover.

By decreasing turnover through sales role-play, a business is likely to see three very noticeable improvements:

  • Increase in sales:  By decreasing turnover, a sales team will become more senior in terms of experience and knowledge and this will have an indisputable impact on increasing sales.
  • Decrease in training and recruiting costs:  By decreasing turnover, a business will see a decrease in cost for recruiting, hiring, and training new sales resources.
  • Decrease in opportunity cost:  The biggest benefit from decreasing turnover is a decrease in the opportunity cost for all of the deals that are lost while sales positions are vacant and then while new resources are being ramped up.



Cost Without Sales Role-Play

Just as there can be tremendous benefits from role-playing in sales, there is also a tremendous cost by not incorporating it.  If we can look at a sales person being in a similar role as a quarterback on a football team, we can see that both have a playbook of many different plays to run, both face many different defensive schemes, and both have to execute well in order for there to be positive results.

By putting a sales resource in front of a prospect without role playing, it is like putting a quarterback into a game without having them practice any of the plays.  Just as a quarterback’s timing, responsiveness, and ability to grasp the playbook would be compromised without practice, a sales person could see the same deficiencies when being in front of prospects without sufficient time spent role-playing.

Where to Sales Role-Play

While role-playing is powerful, it can also be time consuming and some times difficult to find time to do it.  That being what it is, below are some options for where to try to get in some role-playing:

  • Sales manager:  Ask a sales manager to work you through scenarios.
  • Team lead:  Find a team lead or a senior member of the team to work with.
  • Sales coach:  Working with an external or internal sales coach can be a great forum for role-playing.
  • Automated software:  There is sales role-play software that can be used to automate different sales scenarios.


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Launch Pad Solutions provides sales role-play software helping businesses to increase the amount of role-playing.

Michael Halper Author & Sales Trainer

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This article was published on Sunday 25 September, 2011.
Back to main topic: Sales Training
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The Value of Cold Call Training
Four Benefits of Cold Call Training
Using Sales Role-Play to Improve Sales Performance
Six Tips to Improve Selling
Four Tips for Performing Sales Research
The Best Sales Questions
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