Monday, 31 July
Today's Topic


You cringe when having to role-play because nobody taught you how to do it properly. Start first with a friend and frequently use your do over privileges.

When you hear "role-play," do you feel small beads of sweat dripping down your back? Do you look around for a chair on a stage under a bright, hot light?

Fear not. That was yesterday’s version of RPing, and if scar tissue remains, you can contact an attorney and try to collect damages from that dastardly sales manager.

Role-playing in the modern era is different. It can be fun! (Wouldn’t it be great if you ONLY role-played with your best work friend?)

Successful role-playing is based on three simple guidelines that are so simple you can start doing them – and benefitting – today.

It’s better to practice with each other than with your clients. (Why wouldn’t you practice with your work friends?)

The old way of cementing sales skills was based on caveman thinking that you’d perform great if you sat in a chair on a stage in front of your peers going through some-odd sales scenario.

The problem with that approach is nobody taught you – and your other scarred friends who sat under the klieg lights – how to practice for that moment.

And yet, role-playing provides the most direct line toward perfecting a skill and/or trying a new approach. Today’s role-playing template includes three simple session elements:
1. Grab one friend for the role-play session.
2. Practice one specific scenario that came up, or will arise with a customer.
3. Use your "TIME-OUT" privilege liberally. If you don’t like how something sounds coming out of your mouth, call a TIME OUT and do it over.

(More on how to execute the above properly can be found in DO.)


Real-time course correction is the backbone of role-playing. Practicing with a friend allows you to say something stupid – or flat-out wrong – and correct it. Use your do-overs with pride!

Think of something you said in a recent meeting with a customer that could be improved upon.

It could be a response to a question; a solution that attempts to solve an objection; or how you attempted to customize your value prop for that customer. Anything.

Write the scenario down as factually as possible, then pull a friend into your conference room and de-brief her/him. Explain what you want out of the exercise and have at it. Just start playing. (If you’re not in the office, join a video call together.)

Resist the urge to discuss the issue, instead, ROLE-PLAY the scenario.

The skills you use with customers will improve quickly if you regularly role-play. However, there are right and wrong ways to role-play.

The first item under wrong is NOT role-playing. You have to buy in that practicing messaging scripts, solution presentations, and objection-handling responses are necessary to nail them in front of the customer.

Today…practice the line or lines you want to improve. Spend no more than ten minutes on a single situation and follow these three prescriptive tips to maximize learning:

1. Grab ONE friend for the role-play session. Pick someone you know well, are comfortable with, and trust to help you. Start small, start in a comfortable space.

2. Practice one specific scenario. Pick one small, tiny, little thing you want to change – and practice that! This means the role-play session will be short.

3. Use your "TIME-OUT" privilege liberally. If you don’t like how something sounds coming out of your mouth, call a TIME OUT and do it over. Do-overs create learning. Real-time course correction is the best way to practice and learn how to do it right. Unlike football or basketball, role-playing has no limit to how many time-outs you can call. Stop, rewind, and say it again better.

THAT’S how you cement something. Repetition. Repetition. Repetition. (Yes, three "repetitions"…on purpose!)

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"If you aren’t taking care of your customer, your competitor will." – Bob Hooey

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