Have you ever heard sales people complain about attending sales meetings? You might hear comments like, “What’s the sales meeting for?”, “Do you know how long it’s going to be?” or “Do I need to be here?” Does your company have sales meetings? I’ve checked back with some former clients and asked how their sales meetings are going, and to my dismay I hear, “We haven’t had one for awhile.” Let’s be honest. Meetings can be overdone and a waste of time, but they don’t have to be. You can have Money-Making Sales Meetings and here’s how.
If you need to learn meeting basics, search the term effective meetings online to pick up information on having a well-structured and organized meeting. What I want to cover with you are the little nuances needed to have Money-Making Sales Meetings.
Sales managers and/or owners need to believe in the importance of their sales meetings and commit to a regular schedule. If sales meetings are not scheduled on a regular basis, your meetings will most likely begin to be skipped or dropped altogether. Forget about what they’ve been like in the past and consider these results as a motivation to have better sales meetings in the future:
- Greater accountability and improved results by sales people
- Sales people helping sales people to win more business
- A healthier respect between sales and support departments
- Improved product knowledge
- More motivation and better attitude
- Greater confidence by management on what is happening in the sales field
- Productive feedback to improve process, products or services
- Greater adherence to proven process and systems for selling
- Fewer unwanted surprises
- More sales!
The primary purpose of your sales meetings should be to help the sales department make more sales. If you stay true to this purpose your sales people will respond favorably. When preparing your agenda ask yourself, “Will these agenda items help our team sell more?”
Create a new agenda each week. Agendas are necessary and can be as simple as a list of items written on a legal pad. The same agenda week after week can become mundane and people will begin to check out. Rotate new areas of focus from week to week. Sales activity and results are usually included most weeks but they don’t have to be. Here is a list of categories you can work into different meeting agendas that support the meeting purpose.
- Product education (invite vendors in to help educate the team)
- Interdepartmental communication (invite support departments in to discuss how to improve)
- Selling skills education and practice
- Planning and strategic conversations
- Challenges being faced in the field
- Sales pipelines, activity or sales
- General company information
Have WEEKLY sales meetings. Regular meetings help people make the most of them. Impromptu meetings can lead to one-way monologues and unprepared participants. This rule applies if you have one sales person or ten. That one person is your cash generator so invest the time with them each week. Sixty minutes usually works just fine for large teams and one-on-ones can last between twenty to sixty minutes.
Be flexible with your teams’ schedule conflicts. Sometimes the only time available to meet with the hard-to-reach client is during the sales meeting. This is what the meetings are for; producing more sales! Never make an issue about this. If they can’t be present, they might be able to tele or web conference in. If one or more are missing as a rule rather than an exception you might ask for some frank feedback on the quality of the meetings. I recently had a rep rescheduling last minute with me for three weeks in a row so I asked if he felt our meeting time was losing it’s value and importance. He reassured me it wasn’t and has been back on schedule.
Start and end on time. It’s okay to end meetings early, but never end them late. If you are going to run overtime, call the meeting officially ended and allow anyone to leave that has another appointment scheduled. Then invite those who can stick around to continue the meeting.
Let sales people talk but don’t let things get off course. Most people, including salespeople, don’t like to sit and listen for a whole meeting. Generate discussion. Ask their opinions and let them share. Ask a question or two that allows for everyone to have some participation or involvement in the meeting. When it comes to education, watch a video or read a piece out of a book. Allow the team to learn from each other. Here are some questions you can use:
- What went right last week?
- What was challenging last week?
- Any sales success stories?
- Any stellar referral introductions anyone would like to share?
- How can that apply to us and how we sell?
- Is there a selling situation you might be able to use this information with? Tell me about it.
- Is there anything you disagree with on what they are saying and why?
MOST IMPORTANT – Be prepared if you are leading the meeting. It can take five to thirty minutes to prepare for your meetings. This is where the money is made. The better prepared you are, the more flexible with open discussion you can be. If you are not prepared you can end up creating rabbit trails or allowing others to go there. Preparations might look like this.
- Reviewing sales activity and numbers before the meeting to have questions and observations ready.
- Prepare any selling education you want to have in the meeting by searching web or reviewing a book or article. Decide on your discussion questions and print up materials you may need.
- Confirm with any visitors and remind the team who is attending the meeting.
- Decide on your warm up questions.
The weekly time investment is one to two hours to realize the results listed at the beginning of the blog. By including these guidelines you will begin having Money-Making Sales Meetings.
What have you used in sales meetings to keep your team engaged that leads to more sales?