Get Fired Up At Sales Meetings

Sales people detest meetings. They would rather be calling prospects, making appointments or closing sales. After all, every minute that a salesperson spends in a meeting is a minute lost in meeting his sales targets.

Who likes meetings? The truth is nobody likes meetings.

Often enough, they are presented in the same cut and dried manner, with nothing more informative than the latest round of depressing statistics. Hence, sales meetings end up becoming boring lectures with repetitive messages that tend to become a source of de-motivation rather than driving the sales force to increase their sales.

Solutions
Regardless, sales meetings are a necessary part of running a sales team. Below are some worthwhile tips to stage a win-win sales meeting:

Having a Valid Reason: I am a non-believer in having weekly or monthly meetings if they serve no purpose. If a regularly scheduled sales meeting approaches and no one has anything significant to convey, simply call off the meeting. If you can get the message across in a written paragraph or two, why bother to disrupt the daily routine of others? Simply pass around a memo (via e-mail) instead.

Timing and Venue: As far as possible, hold morning meetings. Research has shown that the human mind is much more receptive – hence, retention levels are higher – in the morning. Occasionally, stage an off-site meeting as this can both be refreshing and inspiring to the participants.

Sell the Meeting: Treat sales meetings like prospect presentations. If time permits, prepare and circulate an outline of what you will be addressing to your audience. Emphasise on how the piece of information gained from the meeting will benefit the sales team.

Keep It Short and Sweet: If you tell the sales team that it will be an hour-long meeting, then by all means, stick to that time frame. Remember that time is a precious commodity. Put yourself in the shoes of your sales staff. Be precise by going straight to the point (however, a bit of intermittent humour is permissible as it may cure boredom).

Keep a Group Focus: Delve only about issues that are of common interest to participants at large. Avoid attending to individual queries or matters. If an individual is having a problem, offer to discuss it later on a one-on-one basis. However, this does not apply to answering individual questions about a group issue, i.e. a new commission scheme that is likely to spark a lot of attention in the meeting room.

Talk About Sales: It seems fairly obvious that a sales meeting should centre on sales-related subjects. But in reality, it is not uncommon for topics such as office politics, messy pantry and parking woes to creep into many sales meetings. Appropriate items for a sales meeting agenda would include new product releases, pricing changes, sales training, pre-appointment planning, promotions and sales campaigns, analysis of competitors’ strength, or upcoming changes to sales quotas. If possible, abstain from commenting on individual performances – performance reviews are best done on a one-on-one basis.

Encourage Interaction: Encourage questions and as often as possible, compliment and thank every member of your sales force for their attendance. As far as possible, start and finish the meeting with positive, upbeat topics. Don’t ignore complaints – answer every question raised swiftly and move on.

Calm Before the Storm: Remember this idiomatic saying? If you need to break bad news, remember to do so after making some praiseworthy remarks, i.e. congratulating an individual within your sales force for being a high-achiever. Praise reinforces positive behaviour and encourages everyone to do well. Do not reprimand anyone at a meeting.

In conclusion, always bear in mind that the meeting should be short (20-30 minutes), inspiring, provoking, positive and focused on SOLUTIONS!