Wednesday Objective: Everything You Need to Know for Effective Roll Playing
How to Implement Role Playing!
- Have you ever implemented new tools and techniques – and found difficulty changing habit patterns?
- Have you ever exposed yourself to correct methods – and found that you just weren’t doing what you’d been taught?
- Have you ever identified an error in your own skills or that of others – and found that it just didn’t get corrected?
If the above challenges sound familiar to you, you’ll find the solution right here. “The step from knowing to doing,” wrote Emerson, “is rarely taken”. In our business there is only one way to take that step. First, identify the right techniques. Secondly, implement the systems and materials – through the use of correct role-playing!
What is “correct Role-Playing”? There are many misunderstandings surrounding this invaluable training tool. Role-Playing is not just “practicing out loud” and certainly not imitating material in front of others.
Rather, correct role-playing is the systematic building of correct habit patterns in a low-stress environment, followed by individual critique and correction of errors through role playing. Let’s think for a moment, what do the following people, Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, The Beatles, Tom Cruise and Bob Corcoran have in common? If you said that they were all number one in their profession, you are right. However, let’s look at what makes them great. All of them have been doing what they do for a very long time and have dedicated themselves to PRACTICE their talent. A doctor practices on dead people for four years before they are allowed to work on people that are alive.
Imagine if you or your team had to practice real estate for four years before you were allowed to sell. By following some of the suggestions in this document, you will be setting the stage for more efficient role-playing sessions. Remember, this ONLY WORKS if you believe that practice makes perfect.
The Low-Stress Environment
In adults, nervousness impedes learning. Absorption and improvement occur most rapidly in a familiar business situation. This means at your desk, on your phone, with all necessary scripts and buyer/seller information sheets in front of you and calling a person whom you know, but who is playing the part of the buyer or seller.
Let’s draw an analogy. If you were an outside sales rep and wanted to role-play presentations in front of a customer, would you do so on the telephone? Of course, you wouldn’t! Why not? Because the activity won’t take place on the phone; it will take place face-to-face. Therefore, that would be how you’d roleplay to match a real-life scenario.
Role-playing, if done correctly, is real. Or at least it’s pretty darn close. Thus, it should approximate “realness” as closely as possible. That means you should be at your desk, on your phone, with any forms, scripts, or outlines in front of you that you require. This isn’t a “closed-book test” and there’s no reason to memorize anything. In fact, you don’t want to memorize anything in the BEGINNING, instead read from the script. If you do memorize at the beginning, you’ll start making mistakes in the material and you’ll be role-playing your mistakes. Not a good idea. Stick to the verbatim script until you are solid on the material. Role-play on the phone with the scripts in front of you. Remember, the script is the written word and you are in process of mastering the dialogues, the spoken word!
Do not face one another during the role-play if you are role playing prospecting.
While you may be slightly hesitant and will of course make some mistakes your first few times roleplaying new material on the phone, this would escalate to full-blown panic if you were erroneously forced to role-play face-to-face. Not only will you be listening to your partner, but also your partner’s body language can cause you to become distracted. When you’re nervous, you won’t learn a thing, other than that you don’t want to role-play any more.
In a multi-person agency, you should select your two-person team (in a sales meeting format) with everyone else listening and filling out his or her buyer and seller information sheets. If you have an uneven number of people such as five or seven, the “odd person out” should listen in to a call and participate in the critique. The observers need to focus on listening and making sure that they are filling out their information sheets so that they will be able to provide constructive critiques after the role play
session. In addition, it is also about familiarizing yourself with your lead sheets.
Remember to include the observers in the next role-play. Listening to role-plays alone will not help you master your skills. We refer you to a gentleman named Confucius who wrote 2500 years ago, “What I hear, I forget. What I see, I remember. But what I do, I understand.”
Change Role-Playing Partners Periodically
Two people could have the same role-playing scenario in front of them, yet “play the part” completely differently. Taking the part of the buyer or seller requires a considerable ability to act. As each person will put his own personality into the part, you must change partners on a regular basis. Otherwise, you’ll get to be terrific with that personality, but less than terrific with others. If you have only one person with whom you can role-play, be sure to write “personality” into the scenario. We recommend that you have your partner be each of the DISC personality styles. You’ll have to insert “you are D,” or “I” or “S,” or a “C,” or something to remind your partner that he must take
different roles to reflect the different personalities you’ll encounter. Or simply make up four 3×5 index cards with one letter written on the card to represent the personality and given to the person you are role playing with.
Set Up Pre-Written Objections for the Agent
We all know that when we are on the phone prospecting, people will give us objections for why they may not want to work with us, or why a particular property does not meet their needs, and our job as an agent is to overcome these objections and continue to “close the deal”. For this to happen it’s imperative that we role-play the possible objections, so that when they come up, we handle them like a seasoned pro, putting the client at ease and continually moving the relationship forward. Role-Playing is not just a way of polishing a pre-determined script to perfection. To the contrary, once that predetermined script is mastered thoroughly, it’s a way of shoring up areas of weakness.
If done properly, this invaluable training tool will greatly enhance your flexibility, your alertness to opportunities, which you may now be missing, and will identify areas where you could improve. To do that, however, requires the person taking the part of the buyer or seller to give the agent objections that he/she is likely to encounter. Does the agent fumble his or her response? Or does he/she spot it and handle it well? How you respond in role-playing (if your partner is credible in his/her part) is how you will respond for real on the phone. Remember to keep it real. Use your name, phone number and other information during the role-play session.
Let’s review a few examples. When talking to your prospect, do you recognize the personality type of your prospect and respond accordingly? Or, do you talk to all of your prospects exactly the same?
When playing the part of the buyer or seller, let the agent know which personality type you are, such as I am a “C” personality and I like lots of information. Now, listen to make sure that the agent asks you questions such as: “So, what do you think of that?
When playing the part of the buyer or seller, you will also want to identify what category of buyer or seller, A, B, or C you are prior to the role-play session. Do not switch categories during the role-play.
Be consistent and have the agent identify which category of buyer or seller you are. If the agent gets it correct, congratulate them on their skill at recognizing their clients’ needs. Now, when asking for referrals (buyer or seller leads), do you always ask yourself “who else?” after getting a referral? Or do you settle for just one? 40 percent of agents are so happy to get one referral that they don’t even ask “who else?” How do you find out if you, or others on your team, are leaving an untold number of referrals behind? Just set up a “trap” in a role-playing scenario, as follows: “you will give three referrals if asked, but only one at a time. The agent must ask ‘who else’ before you disclose
#2, and again before you disclose #3.”
How good are you (or is anyone else on your team) at dealing with unexpected objections on Follow-Up after the first contact? Here’s a very overlooked area where you can really increase production with no extra time spent on the phone. In fact, when we do consistent Follow-Up with either buyers or sellers, the almost invariable result is an extra 20 percent to 40 percent in production from this area alone! Let’s discuss the following situation as an example.
Suppose it’s a Follow-Up with a buyer or seller. Here’s a pre-written scenario: “After a great first contact, you make a decision that your prospect is a serious buyer with a home to sell. Your prospect said that they would be prepared to purchase a home and put their property on the market in 90 days. However, your Listing Agent tells you about a house that is in their price range and is perfect for them, will be on the market in 2 weeks. You have told your prospect that you would be in touch with them in a couple of weeks.”
How do you think you’d do in this situation? Would you handle it correctly, motivating the buyer to proceed with getting their pre-approval letter, discussing options that your buyer has such as a bridge loan or getting their home ready to sell sooner and on the market this week? Or would you give up and risk losing the commission?
In all of the above examples, the answers revolve around three points. First, do you have the correct words to say? Secondly, do those words rest on a solid foundation of classical selling skills? Thirdly, have you practiced both foundation skills and industry-specific words and rebuttals through roleplaying until both become an instant automatic reflex?
Initially, Keep It Simple
The first few times a person role-plays, he or she will be a little nervous and unsure of the material. This is not the time to introduce difficult role-playing situations with lots of strong objections or difficulties. Rather, you should just let the agent walk through the material until he/she feels more comfortable with it. The right way to learn material rapidly is to practice it out loud the night before.
Only the most motivated agents, however, will actually do this sufficiently. Some easy role-playing initially, and then proceeding gradually to more and more difficult situations, reluctant buyers and sellers, more and more objections, will quickly enhance skills without putting excess pressure on the agent.
Remember, the best way to learn is to build your confidence. By starting out with the easy scenarios, YOU will build the confidence you need to continue with the harder calls. Don’t forget, most of us started out learning to ride a bike that had training wheels on the bike. As our confidence grew, some of us needed to take off one of the training wheels, after we mastered that (confidence that is) we took off the other training wheel. Do you remember the first time you rode your two-wheeler? For most of us it was looking behind and seeing our Mom or Dad about a block behind us. Then falling over!!
Vary Role-Playing Scenarios
It will be important to mix up the role-playing scenarios once the script has been practiced a few times to avoid becoming “pattern trained.” While learning the script, you will practice the objections and responses in order several times; this will help you learn the correct response to the objection. The next step is to start “mixing up” the scenarios with objections and responses in random order so that you are prepared for whatever objection your prospect may have. “Mixing up” scenarios will avoid the problem of “pattern training.”
Modeling or Mirroring
Voice intonation is so critical to the manner in which material is received that any material to be roleplayed must be “modeled”, i.e. demonstrated, to obtain benefits. This means audio, video, or constructive critiquing where the actual voice of the presenter is utilized. Written script alone, such as CD’s, books or flipcharts are appropriate for transmission of concepts and ideas, but virtually useless for implementation of genuine material to be utilized on the phone, due to the lack of “modeling.”
Does correct role-playing sound complex or difficult? It isn’t, really. Think of it as rehearsal for a play or movie. You wouldn’t go in front of a live audience without practicing, would you? Every day, 30 minutes-a-day, Monday through Friday, will identify problems, correct difficulties, and smooth out predetermined material quickly and effectively. Every genuine training program should embody some degree of role-playing. That’s how you go “from knowing to doing!”
What does all this mean? Here we will recap it for you:
- Low-Stress Environment
- Do not face one another during the role-play
- Change Role-Playing Partners Periodically
- Set Up Pre-Written Out Traps for the Agent
- Keep It Simple
- Vary Role-Playing Scenarios
- Modeling or Mirroring
Role Playing Made Easy
- Be prepared
- At the beginning, practice with someone that you feel safe with
Do not face one another during the role-play
- Do over the phone
- Call from different locations
Change Role-Playing Partners Periodically
- Change Daily
- Different people a week
Set Up Pre-Written Objections
- Look for solutions
- Be present – listen
Keep It Simple
- Practice the easy things first
- Don’t change roles mid-way through your role playing
Vary Role-Playing Scenarios
- Master the scenario before moving to the next
- Have all scenarios spelled out ahead of time
Modeling or Mirroring
- i.e.: They talk slow, YOU talk slow
- Results builds confidence
Above ALL else: Answer & Ask OR Acknowledge & Ask!
GUIDELINES FOR ROLE PLAYING
In order to have a successful role play session there are several guidelines to follow. By following the guidelines, you will have more fun and your prospecting results will be greater!
1. Make a schedule for your 30 minute per day role play sessions. Remember to make a commitment to be on time, prepared and focused on getting more confident with your scripts.
2. Set the stage before you begin your role play session. Make sure that you have Buyer and Seller Information Sheets, your Scripts to Dialogues and Structure of A Call are in front of you. Also, have your schedule in front of you as well. Have a glass of water, soda or coffee at your desk so that you don’t take a break to get something to drink. If you discover that your mouth gets dry, drink some water with lemon in it.
3. Get rid of distractions. Turn off your computer, cell phone and any other devices that could cause you to become distracted.
4. Do not face one another during the role play session. Remember that prospecting is done over the phone and in order to get more confident with your Scripts to Dialogues make it as real as possible. Also, while facing one another you will be distracted by body language and facial expressions.
5. Be nice, when you are the buyer or seller in the role play scenario be sure to be realistic. Sometimes we want to make it tough on the person being the agent. Do NOT be the kind of prospect that the person being the agent in the role play would chose NOT to work with you! The highest percentage of prospects are approachable and appreciate that you are calling to provide more information regarding the purchase or sale of property. Use scenarios that are most common, such as:
- Renter on a month-to-month lease agreement
- Wants to move in 3 months or less
- Living at home
- Relocating to the area
- Has a house to sell
- Come list me now, ready to sell
- Lead that you have generated yourself from your Sphere of Influence or one of your Past Clients
- Lead from one of your Team Members
6. The person being the buyer or seller needs to determine prior to the role play what category A, B or C prospect that they are. The person being the agents needs to be able to determine who they are talking with.
7. Fill in your Buyer and Seller Information Sheets during the role play session, this will improve your skills of going between the two forms during the role play session.
8. Listen to the tones of your voice, one of your greatest tools in prospecting is how you use the tone of your voice to express emotion. Be energetic, excited and do not speak too fast.
9. Have FUN!!! Role playing is your time to practice your tools. Have fun with it, be consistent and diligent and you will see the results of your efforts.
10. Provide constructive critiquing, do NOT criticize the person being the agent.
- Implement and practice role playing scripts and scenarios.