Sales Simulation For Hiring Sales Professionals by kpodawil

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									                           CORPORATE STAFFING FUNDAMENTALS

        Sales Simulation and Role Play for Sales
                                         Kirk Podawiltz

 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

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.

                                                          Long Track

                 Prepare for                                  Part 2
                    Part 1                                 Instructions
                 (20 minutes)                             (Prepare oral
                                                           20 minutes)
                     Part 1               YES
                 (15 minutes)

                    Pass?                                    Part 2
                                                          (15 minutes)

                 Short Track

                    Part 2
                 (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

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

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.

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

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.


                               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
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

NOTE: Do NOT permit the candidate to probe any of your end-of-Part 1

                                  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.

(add above ratings)

                                        Proprietary – Kirk Podawiltz
Candidate’s Name:                                                                                  Date:

      Interviewer Name(s):

                                           CANDIDATE PERFORMANCE
      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.

                                                    RELATIONSHIPS AND
                 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

                 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

                 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

                 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

                 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

                 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


                                                  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

   •   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

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.

                         MEETING MANAGEMENT, INC.
                        192 Main Street, Hopedale MA 01747
                      Phone: 508-555-9821 Fax: 508-555-8523

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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