Sales Simulation Interview Process The Sales Simulation is a high-level assessment exercise for use in selecting among candidates who seek to become an Account Executive in a consultative sales position. This simulation is not industry specific but rather focuses on one’s key competencies that are needed in consultative sales positions. The objectives of the MMI Sales Simulation is to assess the candidate’s standing on six key competencies: building relationships and trust, assessing client needs, projecting confidence, valuing people, offering sound counsel, and influencing strategically. Since this is role play scenario participation from hiring organization is imperative. The administrator, person role playing with the sales candidate for the MMI Sales Simulation, your job is to set the stage for this high level assessment of key Account Executive competencies, conduct the simulation, and report your observations. Your report of the candidate’s demonstrated skill will determine whether Company decides to invest substantially in developing the candidate into a high performing Account Executive. Role-Play exercises are designed to simulate the interpersonal challenges faced when working with others. In the typical role-play, the candidate is given background information regarding the scenario and asked to play a particular role (e.g., team leader, customer service representative). During the exercise, he or she interacts directly with a trained role-player (actor). This actor often plays the role of a subordinate, coworker, or customer and responds to the candidate according to a script. Role-Play exercises are usually designed to assess the candidates communication and interpersonal skills.
CORPORATE STAFFING FUNDAMENTALS MMI SALES SIMULATION Sales Simulation and Role Play for Sales Candidates Kirk Podawiltz 6/8/2009 The Sales Simulation is a high-level assessment exercise for use in selecting among candidates who seek to become an Account Executive in a consultative sales position. This simulation is not industry specific but rather focuses on one’s key competencies that are needed in consultative sales positions. The MMI Sales Simulation Administrator Instructions Candidate Part One Instructions Candidate Part Two Questionnaire Candidate Performance Assessment The MMI Sales Simulation Administrator’s Instructions Overview………………………………………………………………………………. 2 Simulation Objective……………………………………………………………. 3 Your Role as Administrator…………………………………………………… 4 Before the Simulation…………………………………………………………… 4 What to Tell the Candidate at the Start of Part 1………………..5 Your Role as Client for the Part 1 Interview ………………………. 6 Guide for Interview Topics and Client Replies…………………….. 9 Your Role in Part 2……………………………………………………………….. 10 Evaluating the Part 2 Presentation………………………………………. 10 Closing Steps……………………………………………………………………….. 11 Criteria for Continuation………………………………………………………. 12 Candidate Performance Report……………………………………………. 13 Proprietary – Kirk Podawiltz Overview The MMI Sales Simulation is a high-level assessment exercise for use in selecting among candidates who seek to become an Account Executive for Company. Candidates who have passed the Step 2 screening test and the Step 3 structured interview spend up to two hours performing in the role of a professional site selection advisor for meetings and conferences. Of course the role and Meeting Management Inc. are fictitious, but the activities in the simulation call upon many of the key competencies in the AE role. Simulation Objective The objectives of the MMI Sales Simulation is to assess the candidate’s standing on six key competencies: y building relationships and trust y assessing client needs y projecting confidence y valuing people y offering sound counsel y influencing strategically Candidates for the position of Company Account Executive will, in this simulation, play the role of a professional site selection advisor for meetings and conferences, working in association with a fictitious firm named Meeting Management Inc. As the administrator of the exercise, you will play the role of a potential new “MMI” client, a senior manager for Sandlot Sports, Inc. You have a big, immediate problem that needs to be solved in less than two hours—finding a suitable site for a meeting three to six weeks hence for Sandlot Sport’s top 25 execs. The simulation starts when you give the candidate the Instructions for Part 1, a booklet of information that describes the role of the meeting advisor, the MMI Company and its operating philosophy and practices, and facts needed during the simulation. The candidate gets 20 minutes to study this background information, and then you enter the room as the Sandlot Sport’s manager. The candidate will interview you for up to 15 minutes to gather information needed to select and recommend a meeting site. Depending on how well the candidate performs during the initial interview, the simulation will take one or another track: 1.) Short Track—Fail Part 1: You will give candidates who do not meet the minimum criteria for continuation the Part 2 Questionnaire, and ask them to complete it in 20 minutes. Proprietary – Kirk Podawiltz 2.) Long Track—Pass Part 1: Candidates who meet the continuation criteria will receive the Part 2 Instructions, and have 35 minutes remaining in the simulation. The 35 minutes is divided into three periods, 20 minutes for planning and 15 minutes for an oral presentation. The planning period consists of 20 minutes to select a conference site for Sandlot Sport and to plan a presentation to be given to you. Leave the room, and return in exactly 20 minutes to hear the candidate’s site recommendation, presentation, and discussion. Allow 15 minutes for this presentation. The overall flow of the MMI Sales Simulation is shown in the below diagram. Candidate arrives Long Track Prepare for Part 2 Part 1 Instructions (20 minutes) (Prepare oral presentation 20 minutes) Part 1 YES Interview (15 minutes) Pass? Part 2 Oral presentation (15 minutes) NO Short Track Close Part 2 Questionnaire (20 minutes) Proprietary – Kirk Podawiltz Your Role as Administrator As the administrator for the MMI Sales Simulation, your job is to set the stage for this high level assessment of key Account Executive competencies, conduct the simulation, and report your observations. Your report of the candidate’s demonstrated skill will determine whether Company decides to invest substantially in developing the candidate into a high performing Account Executive. Before the Simulation 1. Thoroughly review these instructions each time you conduct the Sales Simulation. Consistency in running the simulation is extremely important. It is one way to ensure that all candidates are treated fairly. 2. Be sure that you know and understand both of your roles in this simulation: (1) administrator of the simulation, and (2) prospective client. You need not memorize particular words to say, but you should memorize the instructions for administering the simulation and also the role-play scenario. 3. Review the Candidate Performance Assessment. You will use it after the simulation to describe and quantify the candidate’s performance. Your knowledge of the rating scales and behavior benchmarks should guide your observation of the candidate’s behavior during the simulation. 4. Review the Candidate’s Instructions as needed. 5. Arrange for a private room with a desk or table and at least two chairs. An unused office or a conference room where the candidate will not be interrupted is necessary. The room must remain private for the entire duration of the simulation. 6. Set up the room with two pens or pencils and a note pad for the candidate. Put the Candidate’s Instructions for Part I on the desk where the candidate will sit. Since the simulation is timed, be sure the room has an accurate clock, or that the candidate has a watch. 7. Make sure you have the following materials to run the Sales Simulation: Administrator’s Instructions (this booklet) Candidate’s Instructions for Part I Candidate’s Part 2 Questionnaire (for non-continuing candidates only) Candidate’s Part 2 Instructions (for continuing candidates only) Proprietary – Kirk Podawiltz What to Tell the Candidate at the Start of Part 1 -- SCRIPT Let the candidate know that this step in the selection process is a miniature job performance exercise called the MMI Sales Simulation. Use the following script: y In the MMI Sales Simulation you will be playing the role of a Professional Meeting Planner. In that role, you will have a chance to gather information from me, a potential client, and use that information to make a recommendation. y I will give you a packet of instructions that will provide all the background information you will need to conduct the interview. You will have 20 minutes exactly to review the information. y After the 20 minutes, I will come back in the room and you will address me as you would your client and begin an interview during which you will gather information from me. You will have exactly 15 minutes for this interview session. Do you have any questions before we begin? Escort the candidate to the “Meeting Management, Inc. Office”, and point out the Candidate’s Part I Instructions on the desk. Leave the room, telling the candidate that you will return in exactly 20 minutes. While the candidate prepares for the client interview, review the information about your role as the client in the Part I Interview. For Candidates Who Fail Part I If you give the candidate the Part 2 Questionnaire, return to the room in 20 minutes. Tell the candidate that the MMI Simulation is completed, and collect the Part 2 Questionnaire and all other simulation materials. All of the materials are proprietary. Do not discuss the candidate’s performance with the candidate, but describe when to expect a hiring decision, who will contact him or her, and how the contact will be made. Once the candidate has departed, complete your report about the candidate’s performance. For Candidates Who Pass Part 1 If you give the candidate the Part 2 Instructions, return to the room in 20 minutes in your role, once again, as a manager for Sandlot Sport, Inc. Proprietary – Kirk Podawiltz In your role as the client, listen to the candidate’s presentation carefully. Ask a few questions, and if there are key facts that the candidate did not uncover in Part 1, introduce them, drawing from the standard list of Part 2 Oral Presentation Follow Up Items, to see how the candidate handles the new information. Do not commit to a particular site; rather, make sure that you understand the candidate’s rationale for selecting the recommended site so that you can present it accurately to your boss. No more than 20 minutes after the start of the presentation and discussion, tell the candidate that Part 2 is now concluded. Collect all simulation materials. Do not discuss the candidate’s performance with the candidate, but describe when to expect a hiring decision, who will contact him or her, and how the contact will be made. Once the candidate has departed, complete the Step 4 - Candidate Performance Assessment form. Your Role as Client for the Part 1 Interview Use your own name and the candidate’s name during the MMI Sales Simulation. Assume that you and the candidate have never met prior to your meeting during the interview. Be reserved and friendly, but a bit harried, hurried, and disorganized. You are operating under tight time constraints, and your boss has high expectations for quality and miserly goals for the budget. Moreover, your instructions from him are vague. If the candidate gets frustrated and treats you poorly, you may react appropriately. Nevertheless, try to remain positive throughout the interview. During the Part 1 Interview, your first answer to most questions should be vague, indefinite, or ambiguous. The interview is intended to assess the candidate’s skill in probing for information while establishing a positive, trusting relationship and showing confidence, so you should let the candidate take the lead and be reluctant to give out facts. Give the most general possible answer first, and then provide more specific information in response to subsequent probes by the candidate. The Guide for Interview Topics and Client Replies in this instruction guide lists many possible questions and probes together with suggestions for how you could respond to each of them. It shows the key facts you will use in rating the candidate’s skill in Assessing Client Needs. Proprietary – Kirk Podawiltz Closing the Part I Interview At the end of 15 minutes, or when the candidate tells you that he/she is finished if less than 15 minutes have elapsed, tell the candidate that you have to leave for another meeting, and disclose any key facts that the candidate failed to uncover, if any (do not permit the candidate to do any probing once you disclose these items). These facts are shown in the Guide for Interview Topics and Client Replies, to be used in the Part I Interview. Then leave the room, saying that you know the candidate will need some time to check conference center availability and to prepare a recommendation and price estimate. Give the candidate either the Part 2 Questionnaire if the candidate has done poorly (less than 8 total points on the Criteria for Continuation) or the Part 2 Instructions (for those who score 8 or more total points on the Criteria for Continuation). In either case, leave the interview on a positive note, saying that you’re looking forward to the candidate’s recommendation. Review the Criteria for Continuation and the Candidate Performance Report score sheets. If the candidate meets the Criteria for Continuation (Long Track is 8 or more points), you will return to the “office” in 20 minutes to hear about the recommended conference site. IMPORTANT NOTE TO SALES MANAGERS: It is critical for the Sales Manager (or other member of the branch management team) who is playing the role of the client to begin both parts of the simulation exercise by knocking on the interview room door and entering "in character." This legitimizes the exercise and minimizes any "awkwardness" that can occur by having to transition to the role play from a normal interview setting. ED Proprietary – Kirk Podawiltz Specific Information about Sandlot Sports, Inc. 24 Base Hit Way Brighton, MA 02134 Ph: 408-567-4981 Fax: 408-456-4702 Internet www.sandlotsportsapparel.com Sandlot Sports began as a Boston-based catalogue sales company selling sports team uniforms for local recreation leagues and high schools in 1967. In 1987, Sandlot Sports expanded its product line to include sporting equipment. In 1994, Sandlot Sports was purchased by Greg Carney, a Massachusetts restaurant entrepreneur. Greg quickly took the catalog national. The product line was again expanded and began to focus on outdoor recreation equipment and clothing, such as hunting, fishing, and mountain climbing. Sandlot Sports grew at a phenomenal rate, and in 1998 the company went public. Greg still leads the company as its CEO. Carney has recently decided to expand Sandlot into retail sales—internet presence and retail stores—starting in the Northeast. Being a fairly direct man himself, Greg is not interested in selling his athletic equipment and clothing to department stores. He wants stand-alone stores and mall boutiques. He wants to open the first store within 8 months. He has asked you to set up a strategy session for the 25 individuals that comprise the senior management team of Sandlot Sports. The goal of this conference will be to formalize plans for the retail division. The only direction Greg has given you about where and when he wants the conference to be held is contained in the following email: The strategic planning session is a “go.” I want a two and a half day conference for the senior management, somewhere in the South. We can’t go beyond six weeks. However, it’s going to be at least three weeks before my schedule opens up enough. Anyhow, find someplace different. Nice, but reasonable. We’re going to be spending a ton of money in the next six months, and we need a place that is accessible and private. Get back to me with your preliminary site selection this afternoon. I’ve been impressed with what I’ve heard about Meeting Management Information Inc. Get in touch with them and give them a try. Greg Proprietary – Kirk Podawiltz Guide for Interview Topics and Client Replies The information on this page can be used for reference during the interview. The replies show the kind of progression from generalities to more specific information that you should strive to convey in responding to the candidate’s interview questions. Topic 1st Reply 2nd Reply 3rd Reply (key facts) Number of A couple of dozen or 20 to 30 Let’s say 25 participants so Preferred dates In the next few weeks At least 3 weeks from In 3 weeks if possible now, but no more than 6 Alternate dates Whatever works out Do you really need Must fall in 3 to 6 this? What about week window alternate sites? Meeting length Greg wants it to be We want to do this in 2 days and 2 nights, long enough but not depth, so it will take a arriving at noon on too long—a few days, half a week the first day I suppose Preferred days Not on a weekend First part of the week Mon, Tues & Wed Budget Greg wants it to be Greg hates to spend If you need a really nice money but he wants ballpark, let’s make it excellent value $18,000 Luxury level We want a first class Stay away from the On such short notice site. “different” but extremes there ought to be reasonable, private some real bargains but accessible for a group of our size Executive amenities Top officers get suites 3 suites Greg’s has to be the best Meeting rooms Something to handle I am not sure of the 1 conference room all of us agenda right now, but and 3 breakout rooms we usually need several rooms AV needs We’ll need all of the Sandlot Sport is on We are looking to sell usual stuff. Is email the cutting edge—lots a lot on the web, so part of AV? We need of new software for we want high speed to be able to access presentations. An LCD internet access our email projector is a must Special requests Greg wants this I wish I knew what Outdoor activities meeting to be Greg would think is would be good – memorable memorable maybe team building Ground transportation Will it be easy to get People will be able to Limo service for the from the airport? make own top 3 executives arrangements NOTE: Do NOT permit the candidate to probe any of your end-of-Part 1 disclosures. Proprietary – Kirk Podawiltz Your Role in Part 2 If the candidate scores 7 or fewer points in the Part I Interview, the candidate goes onto the short track and your role as client is completed. Short Track: Give Non-continuing Candidates the Part 2 Questionnaire Give the Part 2 Questionnaire only to candidates who do NOT meet the Criteria for Continuation (they earned 7 or fewer points). It is self-contained, and includes all of the information needed for these candidates to finish the MMI Simulation. These candidates have 20 minutes to write about their impressions of Sandlot’s needs, to select and to recommend a potential meeting site, and respond to some closing questions. Long Track: Giving continuing candidates the Part 2 Instructions Give the Part 2 Instructions only to candidates who score a total of 8 or more points on the Criteria for Continuation. The instructions are self-contained, including all of the additional information needed to select a site for Sandlot’s strategic planning meeting. Candidates will have 20 minutes to review the information they gathered from you during the interview, select a site to recommend, and outline an oral presentation to be given to you when you return to the MMI office. You will return to the “office” in 20 minutes to hear about the recommended conference site. Show interest, be cordial, and ask questions. Once again, you should be in your Sandlot Sport’s manager’s role for this part of the simulation. Show resistance by asking about other available sites, their features, and cost. Evaluating the Part 2 Presentation The Candidate Performance Report defines six competencies that should be used to evaluate the candidate’s presentation in Part 2. None of the five potential conference sites exactly meets all of the client’s needs, but the Canterbury (Atlanta) site presents the best fit, and the Maplegate (Charlotte) site presents the poorest fit. The Canterbury meets all of the client’s needs (key facts) with the exception that it is $100 over budget. The Maplegate is the poorest fit because it is more than $2,300 over budget, it has no suites, and limo service for airport transfers is available only at an additional cost. Proprietary – Kirk Podawiltz No candidate should be given high evaluations solely on the basis of the recommended conference site. Rather, the six competencies provide the basis for evaluation, so whether the candidate recommends the best or the poorest fitting site, what counts is how well the candidate builds relationships and trust, assesses client needs, projects confidence, values people, offers sound counsel and influences you strategically. Closing Steps Collect all instructions and written information from the candidate. Thank the candidate for participating, but do not give any feedback about the candidate’s performance. Inform the candidate about the next steps in the selection process and timeframe. Candidate Performance Report Immediately complete the Candidate Performance Report, at the end of this booklet, before you go on to any other activities. Proprietary – Kirk Podawiltz Candidate’s Name: Today’s Date: Criteria for Continuation to Make an Oral Presentation The candidate must score at least a total of 8 on these four rating scales by the end of Part 1 in order to be allowed to make the Part 2 oral presentation. If the candidate scores a total of 7 or lower, give the candidate the Part 2 Questionnaire. If the candidate scores a total of 8 or higher, give the candidate the Part 2 Instructions. Circle the corresponding rating. Building Relationships and Trust 1 2 3 4 5 Did not listen; not Little probing or Listened passively Listened and Paraphrased or attentive; few follow-up; satisfied and inserted own probed to be sure repeated back key questions with first answers ideas often of understanding points to be sure Assessing Client Needs 1 2 3 4 5 Got 2 or fewer key Got 3 to 4 key Got 5 to 6 key Got 7 to 8 key Got more than 8 facts facts facts facts key facts These are the key facts: Topic Key Facts Number of participants Let’s say 25 Preferred dates In 3 weeks if possible Alternate dates Must fall in 3 to 6 week horizon Meeting length 2 days & 2 nights, arriving at noon of the 1st day Preferred days Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday Budget If you need a ballpark, let’s make it $18,000 Luxury level On such short notice, there ought to be real bargains available Executive amenities Greg’s has to be the best suite Meeting rooms 1 conference room and 3 breakout rooms AV needs We need high speed web access and LCD for the meeting Special requests Outdoor activities would be good--perhaps team building games Ground transportation Limousine service for airport transfers—top 3 execs (inc. Greg) Projecting Confidence 1 2 3 4 5 No eye contact; Lost continuity Mixed display— Good eye contact; Got me to relax disorganized while making sometimes poised; assured and feel confident. speech; excessive notes; awkward confident probing I was in very good nervousness pauses sometime not hands. TOTAL POINTS: (add above ratings) Proprietary – Kirk Podawiltz Candidate’s Name: Date: Interviewer Name(s): CANDIDATE PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENT Complete this form after the Step 4 role play is completed. Describe the candidate’s overall performance in all parts of the simulation, using these rating scales (circle the appropriate score (1-5) for each). In the Notes section below, write brief descriptions of the candidate’s behavior to document what the candidate actually did, as the basis for each rating. BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS AND TRUST 1 2 3 4 5 No rapport- all business. Weak attempt at rapport Asked a couple of Asked several Outstanding rapport; building questions; pretty good questions; good rapport engaging and sincere Notes: ASSESSING CLIENT NEEDS 1 2 3 4 5 Forgot the client needs No mention of client Mentioned only a few of Mentioned most client Client needs were fully mentioned in Part 1. needs learned in Part 1 client needs during preso needs during preso understood Notes: PROJECTING CONFIDENCE 1 2 3 4 5 No eye contact; Lost continuity while Mixed display-sometimes Good eye contact; In control the whole disorganized; nervous making notes; awkward confident and others not poised; probing time; a professional Notes: Value People 1 2 3 4 5 Made me feel stupid Showed frustration Gave encouragement that Showed empathy for Made client feel good needs could be met client’s situation Notes: OFFERING SOUND COUNSEL 1 2 3 4 5 Maximized commission; Over budget and didn’t Recommendation only Good choice, met most Excellent choice, great didn’t meet client needs meet client needs met a few of client needs of client needs deal and value Notes: INFLUENCING STRATEGICALLY 1 2 3 4 5 Made me feel there was Confused me with too Was not enthusiastic Delivered choice with Convinced me to accept no good choice much information about choice credibility choice without doubt Notes: OVERALL SCORE = (Total the scores for the six sales competencies above) Proprietary – Kirk Podawiltz The MMI Sales Simulation Candidate’s Part 1 Instructions Welcome to the MMI Sales Simulation 2 About MMI 3 MMI’s Business 4 About your position as a MMI, Professional Meeting Planner 4 The Client Interview 4 Your Current Situation 5 About Sandlot Sports, your potential client 5 Client Information Form 6 Proprietary – Kirk Podawiltz Welcome to the MMI Sales Simulation! Once you have finished reading these instructions, you will be a Professional Meeting Planner for the local office of Meeting Management, Inc. (“MMI”)! The MMI Sales Simulation is designed to give you a chance to demonstrate your knowledge, skills, and abilities in a virtual job that includes many of the real world activities of an Account Executive at First Franklin. Although MMI is a fictitious meeting planning company, your activity on its behalf will draw on many of the same abilities needed by an Account Executive: building relationships and trust, assessing client needs, projecting confidence, valuing people, offering sound counsel, and influencing strategically. Here is an overview of the Sales Simulation activities: • You will have 20 minutes to study the background information (these instructions). • Meet with a prospective client for up to 15 minutes to gather information about a future meeting that needs to be planned. • Using that information plus more instructions to be given to you at the end of the client interview, you will have up to 35 minutes to analyze it, select a site to recommend to the client, and make a presentation supporting your recommendation. You will find information about Meeting Management, Inc. and your job description later in these instructions. Read it carefully so that you can work effectively with the client. Make any written notes you wish on these pages or on separate sheets of paper. Proprietary – Kirk Podawiltz About Meeting Management Inc. MM I MEETING MANAGEMENT, INC. 192 Main Street, Hopedale MA 01747 Phone: 508-555-9821 Fax: 508-555-8523 Internet: www.MMI.com Meeting Management, Inc. (“MMI”) was founded in 1984 by Kimberly Ekstrom. Kimberly’s father, Michael Ekstrom, was a cabinet and furniture maker in New Jersey. Michael taught his children the importance of craftsmanship and quality. As he worked, the children often heard him say, “If I build this right, it’ll be an antique one day.” That dedication to quality and craftsmanship has become the hallmark of Meeting Management, Inc. Before founding Meeting Management Inc., Kimberly served in managerial and executive posts in several large corporations. Along with her other duties, she often supervised the arrangements for corporate conferences utilizing travel agents and planners. What turned her away from these agents and planners was that as a group, they tended to treat each conference as a discreet event, even if they had provided services to Kim’s employer before and expected to do so in the future. To them, each conference was, as it were, a sensible piece of furniture, but none was destined to become an antique. What was lacking, Kim saw, was a degree of service an
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