Why Your Rural Reps Won’t Do Role-Play

 In Rural Sales Training, Rural Strategy

When we train rural sales teams there’s a reluctance to do role-play. Enter massive groans and the excuses start flying…

They say:

“I don’t have the right figures to hand”


“I feel silly doing this” 


 “I don’t feel comfortable playing this game…it’s not real.”

What a bunch of bollocks.

The reason for the rejection is simple: they don’t want to be vulnerable and expose what they don’t know, rather than learn what they need to know.

Let’s cut to the chase:

The enemy of practicing is always ego and pride.

Role-plays are a threat to our sense of self which can call into question our their status, significance and social-standing amongst their peers.

Much like public speaking.

When your rural reps don’t role-play, they dismiss the vital role of rehearsal and the fact that perfect practice does in fact makes perfect.

It’s far better they train now or they run the risk of blowing the real deal with a real-life prospect which costs them and you money BIG time.

Nothing’s worse than winging and wasting it with a real-life buyer when you could practice in supreme safety and perfection with your peers.

Your peers could provide some constructive pointers along the way to arm with you more confidence and conviction.

That way you’d be much more ready for the real game when it comes and all the predictable questions and objections prospects ask.

The closer our practice environment is to a real-life rural sales scenario the better, because the more you do it, the more your rural reps will replicate that same success in real-life rural sales performances.

Pilots, doctors, surgeons, teachers

That’s why these guys continually top the most trusted professions.

As we teach our students: the most trusted train.

And we all know…sales reps aren’t the trusted.

Practising can help build a bridge of trust as you’ll be more prepared and competent.

You’ll perform better.

Specificity of Rural Sales Scenario Is Vital

What scenario are you practicing for?

  • cold calling new customer?
  • cross-selling existing customer?
  • Win-back for a lapsed customer?

Get your sales team to paint a clear picture so everyone’s on the same page.

Remind them that all the best sports teams and players on the planet skill and drill. They rehearse set moves and game plans.

They train like their lives and livelihoods depend on it because guess what?

They bloody well do.

How You Run and Break Role-Play Resistance

Remember perfect practice makes perfect.

And if we want to perform to our true potential, we need to practice.

  • Kick it off stating everyone will be doing it
  • Start by specifying the specific rural sales scenario
  • Pay complete attention and respect those going first (phones and laptops away)
  • Go round the room and ask their peers to review their performance
  • Be at pains to point out what they did right before what they did wrong (“what I really liked about what you did there was…”)
  • Praise them and then pivot to the next person
  • Work on the ratio rule of 3 positives:1 constructive when giving feedback (that way everyone feels safe because practicing in front of your peers is hard for lots of people)
  • Ask them to do it again until they get it right so they master that specific skill (don’t let them get away with it or they won’t get better)
  • And make sure everyone – including managers or leaders – takes a turn
  • No one gets off
  • Everyone does it, regardless of title or seniority. Maybe even put the big boss up first!

If the top sports stars like Le Bron James, Roger Federer, Lionel Messi, Ronaldo, Tiger Woods or Venus Williams practice when they train, so should you and your rural sales team.

If they refuse, tell them to leave the room so you can work with those that want to be better.

If the no practice, no game time works for my under 10 rugby team, it will work for you.

Accept no excuses and don’t let them dictate or decline.

If they refuse role plays and don’t participate in practice runs, your rural business will be worse off because others will be more prepared and perform at a higher level closing and converting deals you don’t.

You will suffer in sales because your team will be poorly prepared and won’t perform to their true potential.

You can either practice so you become better or you can continue to plod along accepting mediocrity.

It’s your choice.

I’d choose marvellous over mediocre any day.

PS. Watch this 2min video of 5 x FIFA Footballer of The Year Lionel Messi doing his skill and drill sessions. This is the reason he is one of the highest-paid players on the planet.

If you want to earn more, you have to train more.


I am on a mission to help rural business owners, sales managers and rural sales rep get the results they truly deserve and be the trusted advisor to their farming clients. Please make sure you Follow Me here on LinkedIn so you don’t miss out on any of my articles.

And if you want to talk, grab yourself your own free 45-minute coaching call here

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