Virtual Sales

By Cindy Waxer

Dialogue Coaching, a new virtual role-playing software package from the Montreal firm Dialogue Coaching, Inc., aims to revolutionize sales training by teaching salespeople the value of dialogue. Here’s how it works.

The session starts by briefly setting the scene. It shows the name and job of the virtual client and gives the particular characteristics of the client’s company. The software also specifies the sales objective to be reached with the dialogue. Then the conversation begins. For each of the client’s replies, the software offers the salesperson a choice of responses. The conversation ends when the targeted goal is reached or at the end of 15 minutes.

The salesperson’s performance is analyzed automatically when the simulation is over. The program generates both qualitative and quantitative assessments of the user’s performance based on the length of the conversation, the number of memory errors, the number of repetitions and the number of questions forgotten by the salesperson. A diagram illustrates the path traveled between the conversation’s start and end points based on the objective to be attained. Following the diagram, the salesperson can find the point at which the conversation went wrong and identify the particular response or question that pushed it off track.

Following the analysis, the virtual sales coach comments on each of the salesperson’s actions. A complete rerun of the dialogue with the virtual client allows the salesperson to measure his or her use of winning sales tactics and observe their progress as they evolve in expert hands.

Dialogue Coaching provides countless benefits. No longer must salespeople report to a classroom or comply with a rigid schedule. This Web-based solution is a flexible training tool that can be used whenever and wherever the salesperson wants.

Besides the flexibility, the virtual role-playing offers another advantage. Traditional role-playing incorporates an audience, which can inhibit some people or even cause them to freeze. With Dialogue Coaching salespeople don’t have to worry about the judgment of peers because they are alone with the virtual client.

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