Sales meetings are necessary when conducted smartly and with a clear agenda. Your sales people are needed out there in the field to sell, so while a sales meeting is indeed part and parcel of the job, you must make sure that no time is wasted so they can get back on the field as soon as possible.
If you need to inject something new into your sales meeting, here are some suggestions to prepare for one.
Make it interesting, positive, and necessary to the performance of the job. Simply stated, your sales people must get something that can be of great use in selling.
Start early. It’s nice to have a meeting when everyone is snappy and fresh so start your meeting in the morning. If work starts at 8:00AM, call the meeting on that time.
Jumpstart the meeting with breakfast. Your troops will be very appreciative of the fact that breakfast will be served during the meeting. Hot coffee, tea, juice, croissants, and bagels will get everyone off to a good start.
When everyone is accounted for, begin the meeting with a prayer of thanksgiving. Offer a prayer of thanks to the Lord for your team’s safety, health, and contribution to the sales efforts.
Set the tone of the meeting by recognizing the team’s efforts. Thank your people for their tireless effort and contribution to the goals of the company, successful deals, and bringing money into the company. No matter how big or small, everyone is worth recognizing.
Always give your team time to share their stories from the field. It isn’t easy being in sales and everyone who sells anything for a living will tell you it isn’t a cakewalk but it shouldn’t be used as an outlet for a pity party. Instead, take this opportunity to encourage your team to share positive stories so that everyone can gain new insight and inspiration from it.
Give your team ample time to prepare for the meeting. Aside from preparing and distributing the agenda ahead of time, you must make sure your team is given the time they need to prepare sales reports and forecasts for the coming period. You might have your own way of presenting but whatever your guidelines may be, just relay the format properly and in a timely manner.
Ask every member of your team to give one sales tip during the meeting. Especially if you have team members who are fairly new in sales. Tips for closing sales, creating leads, or soliciting referrals will prove invaluable once they are out selling. Part of the tips should also deal with mistakes that can be avoided or corrected.
Invite a customer to share his testimonials. It’s very encouraging for everyone to hear someone who is not a member of the sales team share why he deals with your people and your company. Good or bad feedback, everything this customer says must be received with a desire to make things better.
Make it clear that this is positive reinforcement. Ergo, any member who attempts to sour the atmosphere by presenting problems instead of solutions will be shot down (with a smile, of course). There are problems but there are solutions. If a team member encounters a problem and wants to share, that’s fine as long as he has a solution to present as well.
If all goes well after these suggestions are picked up, you might find your team to want to attend your meetings instead of finding excuses to ditch it.