Friday, September 21, 2007/
Meetings with your sales team are not just important, they are essential for survival.
Have you ever sat through a pointless meeting and calculated how much of the company’s money was being wasted on individuals sitting around a table completely zoned out?
Sales meetings in particular are an important tool for helping you to keep your team’s performance on track. Effective sales meetings don’t just happen, and improving your meetings isn’t just a case of ordering drinks and a plate of muffins. Successful meetings require a range of skills, a disciplined approach and an effective leader.
Here are some handy tips on how to prepare for and conduct effective sales meetings so that you and your team get the most out of them.
How often should sales meetings be run?
The regularity of when you run sales meetings may vary depending on your specific work environment, the geographic spread of your sales team and the nature of the work that you do. However, generally speaking in most sales environments, it is important to have a weekly and a monthly sales meeting as a minimum. This certainly provides a strong foundation and can be supported effectively by individual and regular sales coaching of both a formal and informal nature.
In addition, your meetings may vary depending on when they run.
The weekly meeting – focus on:
Go through previous week’s results.
Share in successes of previous week.
What do we want to achieve this week?
Key actions required before next meeting.
The monthly meeting – focus on:
Go through previous month’s results.
Share in successes of previous month.
What sales results do we want to achieve?
How do we go about achieving them?
Changes, improvements and innovations.
Sharing of knowledge and information (individual presentations; could include product, process, market, customer info).
Review current sales objectives, confirm if still relevant and adjust if appropriate.
Re-link focus to overall sales goals, strategies and performance targets.
Key actions required before next meeting.
Preparation for the sales meeting
Gathering team results and reconfirm or redefine sales targets. Notify people of the meeting with plenty of notice. Often it is best to organise a standard day and time when you meet. This creates consistency and sets expectations.
Running the sales meeting
- Always start and finish on time. Reward people who are on time by starting the meeting as scheduled. When you wait for latecomers you penalise those who have arrived on time – and you inadvertently reward those who come late.
- Stick to the agenda. A meeting is held for a purpose, so keep its main objectives and desired outcomes clearly in mind at all times. Be prepared with handouts, questionnaires, overheads etc. Distribute the agenda several days before the meeting. The agenda is considered a commitment of what will be covered, by whom and for how long. Most salespeople complain that meetings have no agenda and it goes nowhere far too slowly.
- Announce the successes. Take a few minutes to congratulate and thank the people who are contributing, meeting goals and closing deals. Get them to tell their successful sales stories to the group so people can learn from their experiences. Make sure you share this around from meeting to meeting. A person who may be struggling can still have some successes, so encourage them by having them share their successes too. What you pay attention to will grow – catch them doing something right!
- Make it fun (while still being professional). If you are not creative on the fun-making side of things, assign fun to one or two of your sales team who are. Take advantage of the creativity of your people. This will cause some anticipation throughout the meeting.
- Get staff involved. Have a Timekeeper, a Notetaker, a Whiteboard writer and a Presenter.
- Good meetings have leadership; bad meetings do not. The success of a meeting will depend largely on your ability as chairperson to get things done efficiently and to reach group decisions in minimum time. Reflect on the questions below in relation to how your role as chairperson affects the outcomes of your sales meetings.
Avoiding the ‘zzzzz’ factor in sales meetings
Check your meeting format:
Is the style of your meeting a good match for the personality of your team or is it just a match for your own personality?
Have you spent time reflecting on the type of rapport or atmosphere you want to create in your meetings?
Do you tend to conduct meetings in the fashion you do simply out of habit?
Reflecting on these questions will provide you with an appropriate direction to take to ensure you and your team are engaged and gain the most out of your meetings.
Sue Barrett is Managing Director of BARRETT Pty Ltd. Sue is an experienced consultant and trained coach and facilitator. Sue and her team are best known for their work in creating High Performing Sales Teams. Key to their success is working with the whole person and integrating emotional intelligence, skill, knowledge, behaviour, process and strategy via effective training and coaching programs. For more information please go to www.barrett.com.au
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