How to Develop and Role-Play Effective Sales Presentations


Selling a product or service is no easy feat, especially when a formal sales presentation is part of process. The quality of the presentation can make or break a sale. Sales presentation training can help close the gap between fledgling and success if it is set up the right way. Learning a new skill takes practice, and an effective way to practice is with role play. Effective role play scenarios focus on specific skill needs and give sales personnel an opportunity to improve with immediate feedback.

Find Out What the Sales Force Needs

  • To design a skill-based role play, find out directly from the sales team what they need to learn about effective presentations. A good way to do this is to conduct a training needs assessment using surveys or group discussions. Perhaps the team needs to learn how to structure a sales presentation. Perhaps they need to know how to handle questions. Or maybe they need to know how to design a message that speaks to specific customer needs. Needs assessments help pinpoint gaps in skills and guide training direction.

Develop the Role Play

  • Based on the needs assessment, choose a presentation skill that needs improving and build role play training around it. For example, if the assessment reveals that sales persons do not know how to structure presentations to fit allotted time frames, discuss how it’s done in a short lecture, demonstrate the process, then allow participants to practice with live presentations. Have each participant create and deliver a correctly structured customer sales presentation within a set time frame. Other trainees participate in the role play as customers. Presenters are critiqued on presentation structure and time management.

Give Constructive Feedback

  • Feedback can be hard to take, especially when it points out negatives. In a role play, the way to handle feedback is to allow participants to critique themselves first. For instance, after participants deliver their presentation, let them talk about how they performed before other feedback is allowed. It is a good idea to set up feedback ground rules, such as prohibiting personal attacks or requiring respectful language. It is also a good idea for feedback to cover positive performance as well as the negative for a total learning experience.

Measure Success

  • Training without accountability is mostly a waste of time and resources. Participants must apply what they learn on the job. One way to hold trainees accountable is to set up measurable goals before training takes place. For effective sales presentation training, the success measure can be to ask customers to fill out an evaluation form to indicate the quality and value of the presentation. The survey should be short and given to the customer for completion soon after the presentation.

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