Sales meetings are important. They’re organized in an effort to boost morale, share success stories or outline new goals, strategies and agendas for the next quarter. However, pulling off a productive sales meeting is a challenge. Not every executive or sales manager knows how to engage each participant and get the most of every get-together. Bad meetings can produce undesirable results. It comes as no surprise that some sales professionals tend to dread these meetings or try to avoid them altogether. What is the solution?
A few pointers below will help you turn a boring meeting into a lively and stimulating discussion and enable you to keep your sales reps motivated, focused and on track.
Do not pack too much information into each meeting
To avoid information overload, do not cover every single issue confronting your organization (i.e. company policies, operational concerns, product details, etc.) “Oversharing” may overwhelm your sales reps and throw them off course. If your agenda is packed to the brim and you keep rambling on and on about different items, the attendees will start tuning out. Sales reps are busy — they have phone calls to make, emails to send out and client meetings to attend. Driven sales professionals would rather hit the phones than waste their time listening to a lengthy and tedious presentation. Be respective of their time and cut your message down to the essentials.
During each meeting, observe the audience and look out for signs of impatience or frustration. Keep them engaged and focused on the top priorities. Encourage all participants to speak up or ask questions, and wrap it up. Alternatively, you can schedule a few short follow-up sessions, to cover the additional topics you deem important to your team.
Don’t turn a sales meeting into a monopoly
If you enjoy the spotlight and derive a great deal of pleasure from delivering long speeches, try to reign in your enthusiasm and change your approach. Successful sales meetings tend to be interactive, allowing every participant to express their point of view and share new ideas. All attendees should feel that their input and suggestions are important to the discussion.
Instead of dominating the whole meeting and actively lecturing the audience, reserve time for a Q & A session and encourage feedback. If you disagree with some of your staff members, don’t shoot down their ideas in front of others. Every opinion matters. Some ideas that seem to be out of synch with your current strategy, may come in handy in the future and prove to be of great value to your team.
Stick to your agenda
To get the most of every meeting, prepare your agenda in advance and stick to it. If you deviate too far from all the pre-selected topics of your agenda, you will fail to hold everyone’s attention throughout the whole meeting.
Review the pipeline with your sales team. If it appears that some sales reps are more successful than others, find out why. Once again, stress the importance of their input and set specific goals for each team member. Let them know exactly how you are going to measure their progress and track their performance. Outline next steps and make sure everyone is on the same page.
Bottomline: A successful sales meeting should be more than an “information dump.” It’s your opportunity to bring your sales team up-to-speed on new business initiatives, sales techniques or technical solutions. Also, it’s your chance to show them your appreciation for their hard work and input. Always remember that time is your most valuable resource. Use it wisely. Don’t let dull, unproductive and disorganized meetings derail your sales efforts and dispirit your sales team. If your sales meetings do not generate a desirable outcome, figure out how to “spice them up” and make them more interesting, valuable and productive. Sometimes, all it takes to jump start your engines is to seek input from your sales reps who will tell you exactly how to solve the problem.