Admittedly, I’m the lone ranger when it comes to sales trainers believing role-play is a great way to teach others to sell best. In my opinion, role-play is just that – play, or playing a game.

Typically, salespeople seek the way to win approval, a sale, or the game. Accordingly, they try to formulate their script according to what the instructor or Manager believes to be the best. This type of training is anything but genuine. To what am I referring? Below is a perfect example of what recently took place in a corporate office as relayed by a disgruntled comrade.

The manager instructed his team of sales professionals to introduce themselves as if they were attending a function and were asked the question, “What do you do?” The bigger picture of their corporation was to be announced first, followed by a brief and high level overview of what they sell.

It wasn’t the exercise itself, but the manner in which each sales professional approached the exercise that is intriguing. By reading the scenarios below, you will quickly notice that role play turns into a game among those asked to play. Those involved turn into children seeking approval from the teacher.

#1. Clara claimed she awoke early in the morning to practice for a couple of hours, seeking approval at the start. She owned her opening remarks and so she sounded natural and the Manager was pleased. Her goal was achieved.

#2. Steven obviously didn’t rehearse and it almost sounded as if he didn’t care. Little thought was put into what he said, and the end result was mediocre at best. The question became, how long does Steven plan to remain?

#3. Trish has a knack for sales. She did not rehearse ahead of time because she forgot about the exercise that was previously revealed ahead of time. Her natural style of speaking caught the Manager’s ear and received praise. Goal achieved once again.

#4. The most telling role-play was that of Charles. He memorized the descriptive statement of what the company is about, word for word, straight from the corporate training manual. Ironically, the Manager liked his presentation the least. Ironic, isn’t it?

It was clear from the exercise that rehearsing helps a small percentage of people in some way. But memorizing and scripting is the worst combination of all. The reason being is, it is not a natural and prevents you from being you or from developing your personal brand.

The key to selling well is to be yourself and build upon the unique you. When you are seen speaking in your own words, with heart-felt meaning, and emphasizing how you work to solve your clients’ problems and deliver excellence in service, you will excel in your endeavor. More possibilities will arise and doors open welcoming you in.

In conclusion, leave the play behind. People buy from people they know, like, and trust. Sincerity is what counts and this is precisely what will lead you to the Smooth Sale!


Elinor Stutz, CEO of Smooth Sale, (800) 704-1499; authored “INSPIRED Business A New View for Building Business and Communities”; “Nice Girls DO Get the Sale: Relationship Building That Gets Results”, and “HIRED! How to Use Sales Techniques to Sell Yourself On Interviews“. Elinor was designated as a “Top 25 Sales Influencer for 2012.”