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Play Pepper and Practice Sales Skills Video

In this Sales Leadership Quick Tip video, I want to share a game you can play in your sales meeting called “Pepper”. Pepper is a game I use to practice sales skills in sales meetings. Or it can be used as a warm up in one-on-one scenarios, like playing catch.

Sometimes, in sales we don’t have enough chances to practice sales skills. Or we might have plenty of chances to practice sales skills, we just don’t do it very often. Instead, we’re usually talking about forecasting and strategy or tactics. But not usually playing games.

The game of role playing isn’t loved by sales people. Actually, we really do love it. Just everyone moans about it when you bring the topic up, so don’t be afraid of it. And in this particular role-playing game, I found that sales people really respond to it.

If you’re a baseball player, former player or a fan, you might be aware of the game called “Pepper”. For example, there’s one person with a bat and three to five other players with their gloves in the field. The gloved players toss the ball and the guy with the bat snaps a sharp grounder or a line drive, or a pop up. Consequently, the fielders are the ones getting the practice on how to react and respond to the ball coming at them in different ways.

Let’s take the same concept and put it into sales. Before the sales meeting, jot down a few questions that your sales people might be hearing from their prospects. Or you could ask them to give you some questions that they might have struggled with.

Batter Up

In the same way that the ball was hit into the field, you’re going to ask a question of your team and someone’s going to respond to it. They have to respond just as if they were in the field with their prospect. You can come up with some type of role in who you are as a customer. Or come up with a general customer profile so their minds can jump into it. At this point in the game, you’re just going to listen to the answers and offer no judgement or feedback.

Here’s an example of how it would sound. “Joe, how long does it take to implement your solution and what type of communication can we expect once we get started?” Joe starts answering the question and as soon as he gets to a point where you believe the question is done or if he starts rambling on, you say, “Okay, Mary. And ask Mary the same question.

Debrief and Learn

You want all your sales people listening intently to everyone else’s answer and also waiting to see when you’re going to pop it over to them. As a result, this helps everyone stay engaged. But again, no debriefing until you’re ready. Then you can stop the question and answer and ask them, “Alright, what did you guys hear? What did you like?” They learn from each other on bits and pieces of the best element of how to answer that question. At this point, you can start a second round with a new question. This can take 5-15 minutes of your sales meeting.

Be Consistent

Do this consistently and allow your team to practice answering questions and learning from their teammates.

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Rene is the President of Sales Manager Now, a company that provides fractional sales management services to small and family-run businesses. He has twenty-seven years of experience in sales leadership, coaching, and consulting. He is also the author of the Part-Time Sales Management handbook and is based in Auburn, California.

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