Most sales meetings are just awful. At least for the sellers. Weekly, monthly, quarterly—it doesn’t matter. Most of the attendees would rather be doing something, anything, else. The reason? There are lots of them, but mostly it’s about value, or a lack of it, for the attendees.
Sales managers, company leaders and HR can easily get caught up in having a meetings just because. A mandate to meet. Cookie cutter agendas with little preparation and no clear purpose. At best any training that gets done is product based and feature focused. At worst it becomes a monologue of sales data, irrelevant updates and new policy.
Want more effective sales meetings? Meetings that stand a chance of moving the dial? Then make it about sales! New sales. More profitable sales. Make it about them. To start with any data (like sales figures) that can be sent electronically should be. Sales activity reports (aka Creative Writing Assignments on Ancient History) should be done one on one or via CRM.
Here are some quick and simple rules for conducting effective meetings:
1. Be respectful.
Start and end on time. Period. End of story. Don’t let attendees disrupt or hijack your meeting.
2. Make it about and for them.
The most effective sales meetings are the ones where people learn. Learn to sell. Learn to sell benefits. Learn how to make more money. Learn how to become better at their trade. If you have to do product knowledge training (and you will) be sure to focus on the product applications and benefits, not just the features.
3. Have a clear purpose.
Know in advance what you’re trying to accomplish with the meeting. What are the expected results of the meeting. If you don’t have a clear purpose, or if the purpose is because you always meet on Friday, don’t have a meeting.
4. Get them engaged.
I attended one of my clients sales meetings recently and one of the standout moments (for me and the attendees) was a dialog between the team about sales books they had recently read.
Another way to get them engaged is to let them run the meeting, or do some of the training. Peer to peer training can be incredibly effective.
5. Take ACTION on the ACTION items!
Someone needs to be assigned the task of taking notes. Anything discussed during the meeting that requires action or follow up needs to be followed up on or acted on. If, as the meeting leader, you commit to something during your meeting you had better take action.
After the meeting send the minutes (including action items, due dates and people responsible) out to all attendees.
6. Have some fun!
There’s plenty of time for being buttoned up, serious and overly professional. A sales meeting should lift people up. Have a few laughs. I was recently given a copy of a great book called Office Sportz! by Jeff Rogers. Tons of great ideas to keep people in a good mood and engaged during meetings.