Sales staff meetings are a vital link between what your company expects the sales team to do, and what actually gets sold in the trenches. It is a place where marketing is converted to sales. But how often is the opportunity these meetings provide lost, rather than gained?
Sales meetings should be a forum for reporting, goal achievement assistance, encouragement, problem solving, training, sharing and communication. The purpose of a sales meeting is to get the sales staff primed and pumped to sell.
Why do salespeople hate sales meetings?
See how many of these apply to your meeting:
- Salespeople already know everything.
- The meetings are usually boring.
- The meeting has no agenda.
- The meeting is run by someone who can't run a meeting.
- Salespeople think they could be out selling (and earning).
- The meetings are usually boring.
- There is always a bunch of talk about forms, paperwork and assorted non-sales drivel that takes twice as long as it should and will probably change again next week.
- Meetings don't have enough real world selling situation lessons.
- Sales meetings mean the dreaded "Sales Report" is due.
9.5 The meetings are usually boring.
I attended the Monday morning staff meeting at Info Systems, an IBM affiliate that consults, manages and creates information systems. It was a well designed meeting.
- They had an agenda and stuck to it.
- Each member of the staff of seven was given an opportunity to present or lead one portion of the meeting.
- They talked about how to introduce themselves, how to create buyer interest, and where to network.
- There was very little administrative stuff and 15 minutes for product knowledge.
The 2-hour meeting kept the staff involved and in learning mode. It was one of the rare sales meetings I have attended that produced mostly sales information.
How do you have a great sales meeting every time?
Pre-planning and preparation. Set an agenda that will work, be fun, be productive, include participation by everyone and STICK TO IT.
How do you construct and hold a great meeting?
Here's some criteria to consider:
- Very little administration - Two minutes tops.
- Don't do boring things - like go over new forms, company policy, personal disputes, and what went wrong. Figure out a better, faster way to communicate. Try this - have an instruction sheet for the new form and just pass it out.
- Don't present problems unless you have thought of some solution to go with it. This rule applies to everyone. It gets people solution oriented.
- Do fun things that help sales people feel good about themselves - awards, share success stories.
- Do things that help sales people learn more about their profession - have a mini lesson on one topic per week. Have it prepared and presented by one of the sales team.
- Do things that help sales people earn more money - thrash out objections and obstacles that create roundtable discussion. Role-play solutions.
- Have meetings early in the morning - Have great food and great coffee ready early.
- Make people be on time - fine late ones/reward early ones. START ON TIME no matter what, and END ON TIME no matter what.
- Stress the positive - support your people in public, especially among peers. If you have a negative about an individual - say it to him or her privately.
Have a set (printed) agenda for the meeting - all meetings must have one. Start out positive - End up-beat.
Here's a sample agenda that will make meetings more fun and move quickly:
Sales Meeting Agenda
- Morning mirth. Someone on the staff tells a funny story. This acts as a kickoff, and also gives someone story-telling practice in front of a group. Assign it ahead of time so they can prepare. Not a joke, a story. This makes it more real, and more personal.
- Success announcements. Give everyone a chance to brag about their past weeks accomplishments. Sales and personal events are acceptable. Successful big deals, goals exceeded, achievements made. Talking about success makes people feel successful.
- Frustrations shared. One or two minutes of blood-letting. Don't react immediately. Let solutions be offered later in the meeting. Get the crap off your chest, and let everyone help create solutions and answers as the meeting progresses.
- Two minute administrative details talk. No more. The rest can be emailed. Salespeople hate details.
- Five to ten minutes of product knowledge. No more. Important, transferable bits of information that customers can use, benefit, produce, and profit from. Idea: Test or challenge salespeople to come up with an idea on how to present the knowledge, and reward the best idea with lunch for two.
- Best of (examples). How someone succeeded. Made a tough appointment, had a successful follow-up, completed a sale. Sales meetings should emphasize sales. Hello!
- Sales subject/lesson of the week. Sales training. Someone on the team prepares and delivers a 15 minute presentation of an important aspect of your selling process. You can even invite customers to participate.
- Solutions to frustrations. Ten minutes of ideas to present frustrations and barriers. Get it out in the open so that answers can create better understanding.
- Networking opportunities discussed. Prepared by someone weekly. Where you can go to meet new people and prospects. Assign people to important events. Report on last weeks events.
- Top ten prospect review by each salesperson. Rapid fire talk that names the prospect, the status, and the expected result this week. Make each person verbalize their goals and expectations.
- Expectations of the week. Each person affirms what they seek to accomplish this week with respect to their sales effort to build their pipeline.
- Generate an idea for one major prospect of each salesperson. As the sales leader, you offer the first idea. This shows the team that you have prepared as well. Give them something creative to take or say to their appointment that separates them from the competition, gets them in the door, or helps them complete a sale.
12.5 END UP-BEAT. Two minutes of something motivational, something inspirational, a recording, a reading, a story shared, a video clip. Something that will energize each salesperson to leave through the wall, not the door.
This agenda will win, and create winners. It involves everyone, and creates a positive anticipation for a week of success. It also challenges each salesperson to learn, participate, communicate, present, and make sales.
The object of any sales meeting is to have a favorable outcome. One where the team of individuals is somewhere between inspired and pumped. This responsibility falls on the shoulders of the sales leader. The sales manager, or owner of the company.
OH YEAH... Serve great food. Make the sales team feel first class by providing first class eats. I promise, it's worth every ounce of caffeine, and every gram of carb.
The Best Sales Meeting Idea... Make an appointment with a hot prospect that starts one minute after the sales meeting ends.
You should be pumped...why not take it out on a prospect?
You should close that sale 110% of the time.