Sales meetings can be a great opportunity for your sales force to learn, share and get energized but if not run properly, they can become nothing but a time sucker. Here are 7 strategies to powerful and fun ones.
Salespeople usually dread sales meetings and for good reason. They usually go on too long, they’re boring and nothing happens after. Worse, salespeople don’t like them eating into their selling time. Why does this happen? More times than not it’s because the person running the meeting hasn’t been taught anything different from what they had to sit through when they were a salesperson!
Whether you are a manager or a sales producer, use these strategies to make people look forward to sales meetings instead of running for the door.
1) Have a purpose. Have an agenda with clear items that will lead to action or decisions. Each item should have an allotted number of minutes attached to it. If people know they only have so much time, they are more concise and cut out the fluff. Sales meetings should never be more than an hour. Here is an example of an agenda with specific items and times for each.
2) Start on time. End on time. Seems simple but when was the last meeting you went to that started exactly on time and ended precisely on or before the stated time? I bet it was quite a while ago. Even if people are missing, start the meeting. A great idea to handle lates is to have an agreed upon fine that goes into a social fund.
3) Be ruthless on interruptions. Put everyone’s phone into a basket outside the meeting room where they can get them after. Put the orange cone outside the door and let the rest of the office know that unless there’s a fire, your meeting is not to be interrupted.
4) Get attendees talking, but not too much. The manager should only talk about 30% of the time. If your manager monopolizes the meeting, maybe secretly email him this article! Participants should prepare something ahead of time that they can share with the rest of the group. A strong facilitator is needed so people stay on topic.
5) Assign roles. Rotate the job of timekeeper and note taker each meeting to keep things fresh. The note taker should only note “action items” along with who’s responsible including completion date. An example is, “Call 6 underperforming customers and invite them to the breakfast promo.” “All” are responsible. Decisions made are kept track of separately. You can easily create a table like the one below in Word or Excel to keep track of your action items.
6) Do a “skill drill” each meeting. Your meetings are an opportunity to practice and share – no different than a hockey team having weekly practice to sharpen their skills.
7) Give it a rating. When customers rate a restaurant on the web, the restaurant can use that feedback to improve. The same goes for your meetings. Have everyone rate it on a scale of 1-10 and note what went well and what can be done better next time. A key question to ask is, “Did this meeting cause people to take action?”
Sales meetings are work and should be treated as such. They are essential for high performing sales teams. We all have a responsibility to make them better. If you want to share ideas on what’s worked in your sales meetings, send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. If I use your example in my blog, I’ll send you out a $25 Tim Hortons card!
Northbound’s half-day workshop, “Sales Meetings That Work” will transform your sales meetings into the best hour of the week. To learn more, click here.