I’ve dealt with a lot of teams in sales training situations. Many times those training sessions include a role play, or sales simulation activity.
And a small number of participants are reluctant to participate in the sales simulations. They feel exposed. They feel awkward.
They feel anxious.
If needed, I compare the sales simulation activities to the mid-week training sessions sports teams undergo in preparation for the weekend game.
In a sporting context players understand that practice is part of the process. You usually don’t get to play on the weekend if you don’t cooperate and participate at training. After all, training is part of the improvement process, individually and as a team.
However when it comes to simulations as part of sales training some participants will raise issues such as:
- It’s not realistic
- I’m not prepared
- In a real sales discussion I’d do things differently
Those justifications miss one of the most important points of practicing during training.
And it’s especially important for sales training where participants are often performing the real task on their own, either in the field or on the phone (as opposed to being in a team, to follow our sporting analogy).
This is the main point…
Recent psychology research published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology (April 2015) has found that:
experiencing emotions associated with uncertainty increase reliance on one’s own egocentric perspective when reasoning about the mental states of others
To put it more simply, when people are anxious or nervous (due to uncertainty) they more readily transfer their own views and emotions (their egocentric perspective) onto the other person.
That is, they suffer from restricted empathy, and do not fully appreciate the other persons perspective.
This means they are likely to misread the responses and actions of the other person.
Being anxious = misreading client responses
Clearly, in a sales context misreading responses from a prospect or client can devastate your chance of a successful outcome. And it undermines your clients trust in you.
Which brings us back to the importance of using the sales simulation activities as one of the elements to reduce anxiety in real-life sales calls.
By practicing during training – in a safe and supportive environment – participants can receive critique and rehearse to improve their sales skills and reducing their anxiety level before they go face to face with clients.
Practice reduces anxiety.
Reduced anxiety enables a more empathetic approach and greater understanding of the client.
Greater understanding of the client increases your chances of winning the sale or gaining commitment to move forward.
For help to create customised sales training that will bring in more business and that your team will enjoy contact me.
Image credit: Jay