Normally, I tell a quick joke after the break to try and relax the class. I know there is a lot of pressure on them when it comes time to role play. It is not just the idea of getting up in front of the class, but also the simple reasoning that the performance will have a lot to do with the hiring decision.
I like to break the role playing into a couple of small segments throughout the three days of training. On the last day of training, I will have the survivors of the first cut do a longer role play of a sale.
Of course I hope the trainees remember the few lines that I give them, but as much as saying the words, I am looking to see if they really understand what they are saying. Without the understanding it is only words, and they would not last long on the sales floor.
I have the class buddy-up and practice the role play for about 10 minutes. This gives them a chance to memorize the lines and gain some confidence.
Next, I go to my notebook, and whoever was given No. 1 is up first and will play the role of the salesperson. Whoever has No. 2 plays the customer. In the next role play No. 2 is the salesperson with No. 3 playing the role of the customer, and so forth until everyone had a chance to be both roles.
At this point, all I want the attendees to do is greet the customer, get his or her name, find out what model the customer is interested in and then lead him or her to it. End of story. It should take less than a minute or two. I use a chair to represent the motorcycle.
Example of a good role play
Salesperson: Hi. Welcome to Motorcycle World. How are you doing today?
Customer: I’m doing fine, thanks. I’m just looking.
Salesperson: Super. Thanks for thinking of us. Take your time. We have lots to look at. We have new, pre-owned, sport bikes, touring. Are you looking for anything in particular?
Customer: I wanted to check out a few things about XYZ.
Salesperson: That’s a really nice bike. We have them towards the back. My name is Steve. What’s your name? (The salesperson introduces himself to the customer and holds out his hand for the customer to shake.)
Customer: My name is Travis. (The customer says as he shakes the salesperson’s hand.)
Salesperson: Nice to meet you, Travis. Ok, let’s go look at the XYZ. Follow me. (The salesperson turns and starts leading the customer to the desired model.)
After the role play is complete, I might add or subtract a point from the salesperson’s and customer’s scores. Many times I do not change the score because they did not impress me, nor did they turn me off during their performance.
One very important thing I ask the class members to do when they are playing the role of the customer is to be easy and just do a few things. I want them to say “just looking.” I want them to say a model when the salesperson gives the options. I want them to give the salesperson their name when asked while shaking his or her hand.
I do give and subtract points when they play the customer. If they are a butthead after hearing my instructions, I figure they will be the same on the showroom floor. Yet at the same time, you do want colorful people entertaining your customers. When a comedian shows up during role-playing I try to figure out who the manager can control and who is uncontrollable.
After everyone has had his or her turn role playing, and if there is time before the break, I ask if anyone in class would like to come up and do the role play again. I normally get several people that do. I use the same scoring method. I am also impressed that they have the Gotta-Wanna to try again.
This is the 20th part in a series of blogs about hiring new salespeople. To read the previous blogs in this series, click here.
Steve Lemco is the youngest brother of the late Ed Lemco and has been doing sales training and hiring for motorcycle dealers since 1983. He is the author of three sales books, the new “Training and Hiring New Salespeople,” “Motorcycle Sales Made Easy” and “You Gotta-Wanna.” Steve has trained in every state in the U.S., as well as England, France, Australia and New Zealand. Steve incorporates motivational boards and games along with his training and hiring because he believes the best way to get the job done is to make it fun.