Sales development training through sales simulation exercises.
Sports men and women practise the real thing endlessly as part of their preparation leading up to a competition. Soldiers are thrust into simulations intended to recreate battlefield conditions without actually harming the participants. All emergency service staff practise in realistic scenarios. Yet sales people rarely include simulation in their preparation for customer encounters. Trying out new methods or techniques on real prospects and customers puts relationships and business at risk.
Unlike role-plays, simulations involve participants in playing themselves in realistic scenarios that are often based on real experiences and actual events. Sales simulations offer sales people an opportunity to test themselves and reveal vulnerabilities in a safe environment. Practising in advance allows time for adjustment in the event that any shortcomings are identified. Increased competence and confidence accrue to those who take the trouble to practice in advance.
Issues addressed include:
- Difficulty with initial engagement
- Engaging with senior people
- Establishing credibility and trust
- Getting customers to talk about the real issues
- Improving sales opportunity qualification
- Turning the sales process into a collaboration
- Establishing a sales process agreement
- Out thinking the competition
- Negotiating a worthwhile agreement
Some simulations can be created on the spot. All you need is a common understanding of a customer scenario between two people. Simulation complexity depends on the objectives. Trying out objection handling techniques or objection turn around ideas requires no more than a partner who is familiar with customers and can behave or respond as a customer would.
A high value contract negotiation that would normally involve several people from both parties would benefit from the development of a detailed scenario with appropriate briefings for each participant. Scenarios with broader scope that involve more people require more preparation and take longer to complete.
Having designed and facilitated many sales simulations to address a range of sales training and key engagement rehearsal needs, we are able to do this efficiently. If you need create a realistic exercise, we can design it and facilitate delivery.
The facilitator needs to be very familiar with the scenario to be played out so that he or she can ensure all of the participants understand how the exercise will proceed. Participants often ask questions or need guidance as the exercise unfolds. The facilitator needs to provide this support.
Because simulations have no prescribed outcomes, it is difficult to predict how long to allow for them. Ideally, they should be allowed to conclude naturally however; this is rarely practical so the facilitator must manage progress without seeming to interfere.
Conducting a debriefing immediately after a simulation is a vital part of the learning experience. People are normally eager to speak about their experience and observations. It is important to ensure that everyone gets a chance to express their thoughts and, at the same time review their own learning. Collective debriefing, where everyone involved listens to everyone’s input, is the most productive approach providing that the facilitator is able to mange any conflicts that may arise without alienating anyone. It is important to ensure that debriefings focus on the lessons learned and avoid recriminations.
If you want to bring more realism into sales development training through sales simulation exercises, we can help. Telephone +44 (0)118 983 3887. We will be pleased to discuss your needs or talk through some options. Alternatively Send email to email@example.com for a prompt reply or use the contact form here.