3 role plays to boost your business


To deliver the best product and service experience, understanding the behaviors and motivations of your target market is crucial. Without that knowledge, you may as well be big game fishing without any bait on your line. Hey, where are you off to? Spending oodles of money on market research and consumer behavioral studies? Don’t just yet. Take some time off and have some fun with these 3 role plays. For one, they’re a lot more fun than swimming in data, and secondly, they’ll help you pinpoint the specific areas you need to investigate further.

1. “Do you know who I am?” The Ron Burgundy role play.

*Any fan of the movie Anchorman is familiar with Ron Burgundy’s (Will Ferrell’s) classic line: “Do you know who I am?” The faux pas happens as he attempts to woo the lovely Veronica (Christina Applegate) and convince her he’s one of those successful somebodies ‘with leather bound books’ and mahogany furniture. Role playing this scene helps to define your business’s product and persona. The question I’d personally ask – “Do you know who Casengo is?” – forces me to quickly describe how Casengo solves problems for its end users, and what its personality is. (And it sure doesn’t involve mahogany.) The deeper you go into this role play, the more value you get out of it. You’re Applegate – the person playing your prospective customer – should be extremely critical, frequently asking the unsettling ‘so what’ question. If you can’t immediately define your USPs or branding, you urgently need to go back to the drawing board. If you can, however, and* you have a great product and brand proposition that’s epitomized in your website design, service delivery and sales techniques, you’ll have a killer pitch that resonates with your customers.

2. “I’m listening.” The Frasier Crane role play.

Ever seen Frasier, the sitcom? When the radio psychiatrist would invite callers to share their issues on air, he’d often start off with: “I’m listening.” Be like Frasier Crane for your customers: actually listen to their problems. Bad support turns a customer away for life; great support can make him or her stand by you for years. For this role play to be really effective, engage a friend’s help: he’ll act as your mystery shopper. His objective? To give you 10 items of feedback regarding your customer service, based on their expectations of convenience, accuracy, responsiveness and friendliness. Reward them with a drink – a sherry, maybe, like Frasier would – for uncovering your weak points. That’s the end of this role play – but not of your role. Actually do something about those weak points!

3. “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” The Rhett Butler role play.

*Let’s turn to one of cinema’s all-time classics now, Gone with the Wind, *starring Vivienne Leigh (Scarlett O’Hara) and Clark Gable (Rhett Butler). In this role, your biggest customer (a Rhett Butler of sorts) announces he’s going to switch suppliers. Like Scarlett O’Hara, you need to convince him to stay. The person playing Rhett needs to keep telling you he doesn’t give a damn – or something to that effect if Clark’s shoes are too big to fill. Why do this? You will soon realize what your sticking points are: which of your selling points are so unique it makes your customers realize you’re the very best there is?What added value do you currently provide that your competitors don’t? If you can’t think of any convincing reasons for your customer to stay, it’s about time to strategize some. Maybe do as Scarlett does and sleep on it.