Play a Role

Roleplaying is an effective way to uncover your customers’ needs and practice your sales technique.

Wendy Ruyle 9.5.2018

If you say “roleplaying” to some, images of the game Dungeons and Dragons come to mind. Others think of group therapy exercises. But roleplaying in sales and marketing can help you put yourself in the mindset of your customer and gain insight into their needs.

Knowing what your customer is thinking and feeling during the sales process will help you address their needs and perhaps even delight them along the way.

Roleplaying for insight

Start by putting yourself in your customers’ shoes. Identify each audience persona you are targeting. Go through each audience one at a time and have one or two people in the group take on that persona. Have the rest of the group ask them questions about themselves. What are you most concerned about before, during, and after the sales process? What makes you uncomfortable? What makes you delighted? What makes you put up your defenses? What are your must-haves and what will you let go?

If you want to dig deeper, do an empathy map for each one. Think about who they are, what they care about, what their basic needs are, and what they will see as above and beyond.

Roleplaying for practice

Now that you know some typical customer desires, this is the time to practice how you can communicate with them. Partner up with a co-worker and practice your sales pitch. Ask them questions about what they need and then respond with ways your product or service can help.

But make sure you aren’t just talking about features and benefits. How will working with you make your customer feel? What will they lose if they go to a competitor? What is it about the way you work that makes it a better experience for them?

Customers don’t make buying decisions based on facts. They make them based on emotion. Then they use facts to justify their emotional decision.

How can you tap into that emotion? Acknowledge their frustrations and pain points. Empathize with their struggles in the buying process. Provide an inspirational story that makes them connect to you. Practice asking the right questions at the right time to make your pitch not a pitch but a conversation.

Practice makes perfect so repeat this process with different personas as your “customer” so you can learn to adapt to different personality types.

Use roleplaying periodically to brush up on your skills and address any changes in the marketplace. Your customers will thank you for not giving them the hard sell and your long-term relationships are sure to increase.

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