It’s costly to meet each month with your sales team, after you figure in the payroll expended sitting in a room and the time not spent dealing with prospects or customers.
So, are you and your sales team getting a good return of investment on this time? Or is it just another roll call, a what’s-in-your-pipeline meeting or one with everyone present but spending most of their time answering emails?
Most sales managers haven’t learned how to run an effective sales meeting. (And they certainly don’t see any good modeling from other internal meetings at the company! ) So salespeople think they are a waste of valuable time.
Conducting great sales meetings is similar to running effective meetings with prospects and clients. Apply the same fundamentals and you’ll start improving your sales meetings today.
#1: Mindset. Focus on the “one thing.” This principle really hit home for me after listening to an interview with Joel Osteen, pastor of the Lakewood mega church in Houston, Texas. Thousands of viewers attend his services and watch him on TV.
Joel was asked, “What do you attribute your success to?” He shared several reasons but emphasized the most important thing that continued to grow his church and ministry: Deliver a GREAT sermon on Sunday.
He devotes a lot of his time to this one thing. Joel researches material on Wednesday, writes the sermon on Thursday, rehearses and memorizes the sermon on Friday, and delivers it to two audiences on Saturday before the main service on Sunday.
How much focus and attention do you give preparing for your monthly sales meeting?
#2: Pre-call planning. We teach sales teams to do pre-call planning to ensure a productive sales meeting with prospects and customers. We debrief our salespeople by asking questions such as:
- What is the purpose and objective of this meeting?
- What is your desired outcome?
- What resources will you need to conduct this meeting?
Ask these same questions to prepare for your monthly sales meeting!
What is your purpose and objective for holding this meeting?
- Are you trying to improve your sales team’s selling skills? If so, which ones? Do you have role plays, practice sets or games designed to test specific competencies?
- Does your sales team need help with time-management skills or business-development skills?
- Is this a meeting that is designed to motivate your sales team? What resources can you use to augment this meeting? Perhaps a great movie clip, stories or testimonials.
A boss taught me a great lesson in running effective meetings: Develop a written agenda with specific times, goals and outcomes. “People tend to take the event more seriously when they see things in writing,” he said.
#3: Plan questions to stimulate thought and actions during your sales meeting. We expect salespeople to write out questions prior to a sales call to ensure a high-value call for them, and their prospects and customers. Show your team the same respect and plan thoughtful questions to ensure a high-return-on-investment sales meeting.
If you are thinking about a new initiative, ask your team these thought-provoking questions:
- Is this initiative in alignment with our core values?
- Is this a top priority for the quarter?
- If we do this, what will we need to place on the back burner?
- Is this of value to our clients?
- Does this make us better than our competition?
- Is this the highest and best use of our time?
#4: Follow-up. Good salespeople set clear next steps with prospects and customers. Good sales managers model the same behavior with their teams.
Send out a follow-up list detailing action items discussed and agreed to during the sales meeting. Assign responsibility and a deadline to each idea. Documentation ensures alignment and accountability. Again, when people see their name on paper, it raises their sense of responsibility and follow through.
#5. Create heroes and teachers. When you have your entire team together, it’s a great time to point out what each salesperson does well. This doesn’t have to be some extraordinary endeavor. It can be as simple as, “Jane really does a great job of sending a summary after each conversation with prospects and clients. Many have shared with me how much they appreciate this added level of professionalism.”
Ask team members to teach success strategies to their teammates. There is a lot of brilliance in the room, so tap into it. They can address such topics as dealing with objections, planning an effective day or creating the WOW factor for clients.
It’s time to raise the quality of your monthly sales meetings. Make it a goal to have your team thinking and saying, “I don’t want to miss this — I learn too many good things that help me personally and professionally.”