A friend of mine asked me a question the other day:
What are the most important things you’ve implemented in your business?
It got me thinking…
So I’m starting a series of posts to answer the question. For the time being, I won’t put an order of importance on them but that might come later. This is the first.
Implementation Series – Post #1 – Role Practice
24 second summary:
At a MINIMUM, Role Practice helps you and your staff improve: confidence in challenging situations, consistency in approach & knowledge sharing.
- Choose 3 people to play three roles: Salesperson, prospect, observer
- Choose a scenario and act it out (change roles/scenarios regularly)
- Everyone gives feedback on performance
- Practice 15 – 30 mins daily
- Apply it to all aspects of your business: customer service, HR, networking etc.
Bluewire Media – Scenarios for Role Practice (PDF 100KB)
The back story:
“Role practice” sounds a bit funny because it’s a mixture of words.
Role play + practice = role practice.
Adam and I were introduced to the concept at a seminar by Jack Daly – a sales coach from the US. The idea behind role practice rather than role play, is to get better each and every time. All skills require practice to get improvements and that was why Jack distinguished the two.
[Aside: I liked the “game” of his tagline: “If you think you know sales, you haven’t met Jack!”]
Chet Holmes – another sales guru – was really big on it in his book too: The Ultimate Sales Machine.
What is Role Practice?
It’s a group exercise to practice sales, customer service, HR or any other situations that you and your staff have to face.
How to run a Role Practice session:
I’ll use sales as an example.
Firstly pick a group of 3 people (2 is sufficient though) to participate in the following roles:
- Sales person
- Observer – to offer feedback to person 1. Often they learn the most from a session.
(If you only have 2 people, then the “Prospect” can also act as the “Observer”. If you have 4 people, you can have 2 Observers.)
Then choose a topic (eg initial consultation, sales phone call etc) and everyone plays their part.
Over time, you can throw as many curve balls as you like to increase the difficulty of the scenario.
The best way to evaluate is to ask the sales person to assess their own performance based on 3 questions:
- What do you think you did well?
- What do you think could be improved?
- What do you think you’d do differently next time?
Then ask the Prospect and Observer roles for their feedback based on these questions too.
How can you implement this?
Here’s how we did it:
- Made a Bluewire Media – Scenarios for Role Practice (PDF 100KB) that we need to practice and stuck it on the office wall.
- Choose 1 topic each Monday at our Weekly Meeting.
- Role practice daily from Tuesday – Friday (15 – 30 mins after our 9:05am Daily Huddle).
[Aside: The 9:05am Daily Huddle and Weekly Meeting routines is an idea from Verne Harnish – I’ll definitely be covering this in a later post in this series]
I’d also really recommend applying this not only to your sales process but to your customer service process – or in fact any other part of your business where staff face difficult situations.
We’ve applied it to:
- Answering angry phone calls from clients
- Sales calls
- Initial consultations
- Chairing meetings (slight tweak – we ask the questions after they have chaired an internal meeting – eg the Weekly)
- Networking at a Bluewire Media event
- Lots of others: see full list
- Massive confidence boost for all of us in situations we find challenging (which will be different for each person)
- Consistency in approach to customer service
- Knowledge sharing among staff for best practice
My favourite part? It’s simple to start.