I was asked to be part of the client team in a simulation exercise for sales training yesterday. I readily said yes to an opportunity to meet some of the people for whom I work. However some difficult questions emerged.
The sales teams were in an “experiential” training session. The process attempts to model real situations and then provide a feedback from the personal, group, and instructor levels. Far too often trainees act as if this is not real and, as a result, lose the very experience they came to get. Additionally the opportunity of learning and growing hangs in the balance of what the “clients” bring to the experiment.
While one of the goals was to inject a bit of stress to the situation and by all accounts it was working, as the exercises (presentations) finally got started a game quickly unfolded.
First, we (the clients) mysteriously linked up with each other on our roles as if we had been doing this for years. Second, we utilized a full range of client tricks to throw the presenters off and it appeared to work. Third, our goals included our personal real life experiences that clients do not always mean what they say – they present facts to their advantage, especially in situations where they are trying to get something from the seller.
By the time we had completed the sessions, we had taken mobile phone calls during the meeting, walked out early because our helicopter was waiting for us, and instructed that some of our business should go to a competitor (using a mobile of course). Additionally, we had bluntly challenged their knowledge and in some cases asked questions that will never have an answer.
“It’s better to be wise than strong; intelligence outranks muscle any day. Strategic planning is the key to warfare; to win, you need a lot of good counsel.” (Proverbs 24.5, 6)
As we critiqued and learned a few lessons ourselves, the questions continued. Am I any different in life? Whom do I turn to if I want to win? What constitutes winning?