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How would your salespeople describe a typical sales meeting at your company?
- “The highlight of my week. Inspirational, educational, motivational!”
- “Meh. Just barely worth the time it takes me to get there.”
- “Admin, admin, and more admin.”
- “Come to the meeting to get your beating.”
- “I’d rather jam a pencil into my eyeball.”
Most sales professionals that I talk to would rate their sales meetings somewhere between b and e on that list.
The irony is that many sales managers carry the exact same opinions of their own sales meetings. They dread the planning process, they endure the painful silence and eye-rolls, and they can’t wait to get on with their day.
It doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, if you are a sales manager you need to radically re-think your approach.
If I asked this simple question, how would you answer? Don’t overthink it – just go with your gut.
What is the purpose of a sales meeting?
(Seriously, give that some thought for a moment.)
If you just had to make up a response, that’s a key part of the problem. If you do not have a clear and compelling reason for holding a sales meeting in the first place, don’t be surprised when you find your meetings to be less than effective.
May I make a suggestion? Try adopting this simple perspective: the purpose of our sales meeting is to prepare our sales professionals to sell more this week than they did last week.
That simple definition can provide a target that will be very useful in your planning. The definition hinges on one word: prepare.
What prepares a salesperson to sell more in the week to come? Well, you can start by asking what will NOT serve to prepare the salespeople to sell:
- Endless administrative issues, policies and procedures.
- Berating, belittling, management tirades or other forms of public criticism.
- Information that could have been shared in an e-mail.
- Product information that shows what we sell but does not show how to sell it.
On the other hand, what WILL serve to prepare a salesperson to sell?
- Positive energy – salespeople sell better with a positive mental attitude. We all know this.
- Recognition – the second most powerful form of motivation (second only to internal achievement drive).
- Relevant education – that which can be translated to a powerful selling message.
- Practice – those activities that will raise both aptitude and confidence.
- Inspiration – salespeople get beat up all week; this is a chance for some feel good time.
With all that in mind, let me offer four ways to fix your sales meetings:
- Plan Around your “One Thing”
What one thing do you want your salespeople to remember 30 minutes after the meeting ends. By having that single item in mind you will get far more impact than if you have 20 items on your agenda.
Pick one, and make it important.
- Treat your Meetings like Rallies
No one likes meetings; everyone likes rallies. And what do you get at rallies? Music – for sure. Decorations – nice touch. Positive energy – absolutely.
Get the energy up! (Hint: donuts will not hurt your cause.)
- Start and End on Positive Notes
How they feel at the start will translate to the rest of the meeting. How they feel at the end will propel them back into the sales environment.
Plan this out in advance, and think positive energy.
- Limit your Admin
Five minutes. Ten, tops. Look, they’re not going to remember anyway.
Want a better way to handle the admin? Record a brief video that they can watch later on. Far more memorable and a better use of everyone’s time.
It just takes a little planning and a little courage, and you can transform that boring meeting into a memorable event!