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From JCK Magazine

Role Play: Hate It, But Do It Anyway

Strategies for Selling
By Brad Huisken
This story appears in the August 2009 issue of JCK magazine
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Most people hate to role play. As professional salespeople, however, you must do it. Athletes practice and lawyers run mock trials. Sales is the only profession in which the workers practice on their customers. It’s no wonder most stores don’t maximize their potential.

Salespeople should think about what they’re going to say to a customer before they say it. They should write down, memorize, and practice asking good, information-gathering, open-ended questions. They should write down, memorize, and practice questions that prompt the customer to tell them what other jewelry pieces they may be interested in, not only now but also in the future.

Jewelry purchases may be emotionally based or technically based, impulse buys or keeping-up-appearances buys. Salespeople should practice all these situations. Practice giving features, benefits, and agreement questions. But remember: Customers don’t buy features; they buy benefits. It is not what the item has; it is what the item will do for the customer.

For adult’s to learn, retain, and apply new information, they must meet the following five criteria:

  1. Hear the information—through the spoken word or audio media.

  2. Read the information—allows the participant to review immediately if something wasn’t understood completely.

  3. Write the information—written understanding, or testing, guarantees information was understood; through memorization, retention begins.

  4. Role-play the information—allows a person to begin applying what she’s learned, increasing retention and application factor.

  5. Do it live—makes the learned information real and proves that it works.

Role play is the most important. When a customer gives an objection, asks an unusual question, doesn’t know what he’s looking for, or doesn’t have any product knowledge, you should be able to say to yourself, “I’ve practiced that situation a hundred times.”

True professionals get themselves to the point where when a customer comes in they think, “I wonder how much I can sell them” instead of what most salespeople think, “I wonder if I am going to sell them.” Role-playing gives you confidence, and confidence makes good salespeople great.

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