Every profession has a defining moment where the world can see whether you are truly a professional or just an amateur. It only takes listening to a few bars of a song to tell whether the person singing is any good. Think about going out to a karaoke lounge and noticing someone stepping up to the microphone. How long before you know if they are any good?
In the past 25 years we have seen thousands of sales meetings conducted by managers throughout the world. You can generally tell within a few moments whether a sales manager is a professional or an amateur by how they begin a sales meeting. Of all the things you do as a manager, this is the most public thing you do in your business. Holding an excellent sales meeting is a great chance to motivate the team and disseminate information, and it is also a chance to lose momentum in a hurry!
The Essential Ingredient in Every Sales Meeting
Sales managers who have decided to run a sales meeting because they have something important to convey have passed the first test for a successful meeting. They have a purpose! I realize this test seems obvious, but think back to all the meetings you have been to that had no value or agenda whatsoever. The first step to leading a successful sales meeting is to have a clear reason for calling one.
Common reasons for holding a sales meeting are:
- To inform the sales team — Give information on what is happening at the company, like a new product being announced or a new advertising campaign being launched.
- To plan with the sales team– – Discuss future goals and objectives, assess trends in the marketplace and discuss how the company can plan to meet challenges.
- To educate the sales team — Training is a crucial component of any successful sales organization. I find the best companies make training and education a part of every sales meeting.
- To inspire the sales team — Like training, inspiration and motivation should be part of every sales meeting, but sometimes the whole purpose of the meeting is to get people revved up!
- To reward the sales team — Sales meetings are great places to bring everyone together to give out praise and recognition. Remember to praise in public and criticize in private. Never use a sales meeting to criticize an individual salesperson. Use sales meetings only to praise an individual or team.
- To build teamwork among the sales team and the company — Sales meetings can be excellent venues to build teamwork as well as to integrate parts of the company that don’t always work together. Schedule segments of the agenda that the administrative team can participate in as well. This is a great way to build an understanding of what each group does so that each can have more appreciation for the other. We highly recommend that you work participation time into your sales meetings if you have an accounting group, an installation team, a customer service team, or any other groups that work apart from sales. The payoff is a more understanding and cooperative organization.
By following these tips you will be well on your way to running great sales meetings that inspire your team. The most important principle is to prepare thoroughly. This is no time to “wing it.”
Effective Sales Meeting Checklist
After each meeting you conduct, take a few minutes and ask yourself these questions to review what happened and how you can grow as a meeting leader.
- Was I really prepared, or was I “winging it?”
- Did I start the meeting on time?
- Did the participants respond freely and easily to my questions?
- Did I keep the meeting on track? Did we stay focused?
- Did I refrain from lecturing or playing the expert?
- Did I maintain healthy control of the meeting?
- Did I keep the interest of the participants?
- Did I make full use of the audiovisual tools?
- Did I give them clear action items?
- Did I end the meeting on time?
Make sure you are ready and your team will know that you value them and their contribution to your team!
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