Role-playing: love it or hate it, it’s a part of sales, a part of acting, and a part of life! Results-Oriented Role-Playing turns this dreaded practice into a successful tool that produces results – as opposed to just an exercise to please your sales manager. Take a look at the following examples of Results-oriented Role-playing in Hollywood and in business:
Role-playing in Hollywood:
During rehearsals for Kiss of the Spider Woman, the lead actors, William Hurt and Raul Julia, were having trouble establishing a relationship; Hurt’s character, a sensitive, flamboyant homosexual, shared little common ground with Raul Julia’s homophobic revolutionary. To better understand each other’s character, Hurt suggested they rehearse by switching roles. The performance resulted in an Oscar for both Hurt and the film.
Role-playing in Business:
Bob finds his client Cynthia’s demands irrational and unachievable. Using the five steps below, Bob prepares to role-play the part of Cynthia with a colleague and discovers what may be the real motivation behind her demands. Armed with a newfound understanding of Cynthia’s point-of-view, Bob is able to address his client’s concerns and close the sale.
5 Steps for Results-Oriented Role-Playing:
1. Throw out pre-conceived ideas about your client. Remember, they are a human being with REAL feelings, thoughts and goals, not some Avatar sent to make your job more difficult.
2. Make a list of your client’s goals. Are they extremely value conscious? Trying to please a superior, avoid a mistake or save their job?
3. Personally identify with your client. Take everything you know about your client and find intersecting areas. Do you share strong family values? A good sense of humor? A need to be right?
4. Forget what you know about your product/service. That’s right. Forget it. Put aside all the numbers, the percentages, the market shares and create an open slate. Even if your client knows more than nothing, it will be closer to reality than you think.
5. Use the “Magic If” to step into your client’s shoes. This valuable acting technique that will change the way you role-play. With all the preparation you’ve done in the steps prior, you are now ready to jump into your client’s role by asking yourself: “What would I do IF I were really in this situation?”
Now lets hear YOUR thoughts on role-playing! Love it or hate it…and Why?