Marshall W. Northcott was first introduced to role-playing exercises early in his sales career while selling office equipment. He recalls doing role-playing frequently and in many different forms, doing role-playing exercises as a team around the boardroom table. They practiced the steps of the selling process so that they could raise their consciousness and be more effective, more often, in order to achieve a higher percentage of desired outcomes. They role-played in the demonstration room in order to be familiarized with the features, functions, key pads and the inner workings of all the current copier and fax models that we had in stock. They practiced in the car before appointments in order to be better prepared for the call and any potential situations or objections that might arise. They did so after debriefing the call in order to address any roadblocks or difficulties that hamstrung us in the appointment in order to ensure that if a similar situation arose in future we would be armed.
For Marshall, role playing became a powerful, positive way to learn that was both fun and enjoyable. He really doesn’t recall if he had any apprehension, nervousness or anxiety when first asked to engage in role-playing. However, recalling that it wasn’t optional! Everyone, with no exceptions was expected to take their turn and participate. When you don’t have a choice then you either buck up or you say your good byes and he doesn’t remember that ever happening.
Marshall’s stance is that timid souls shouldn’t be recruited for sales positions that are performance based and those who work in such roles should expect that they are going to experience the pressure and pleasure of performing in front of their peers.