Role-playing is the most under utilized tool in sales training. The initial interaction with role-playing will almost always be awkward but once you learn how to properly handle the situation it’s an invaluable training tool. Some people are natural sellers and they need little guidance, but the vast majority will benefit from this practice tremendously.
Role-playing should take place in the new hire training as well as continuously in the field until reps are smooth and polished in their pitch. Use different scenarios and run through the entire sales process before correcting mistakes. It will most likely take at 3 attempts to get a decent sales pitch out of someone but it’s well worth the effort. Not only should Location Managers be practicing this with reps on a daily basis but District & Regional Managers should as well.
Shadowing is a must for new hires and it should be done as a two steps process. For step one the new hire is a complete observer of the sale, simply standing alongside the manager or senior sales rep to the process in action. Step two is for the new hire to begin the process then allow the manager to step in as soon as help is needed which can be at a predetermined point in the sale or whenever help is needed. Shadowing can play an intricate role in a new reps confidence and development, especially in the first week of training.