Sales meetings are important for your teams, yet your salespeople usually dread them. Why? Because when meetings are bland, redundant, and unfocused, your team will resent them (and you). After all, they’d rather be out selling than sitting around a conference table and they can’t wait to get out of that room.
Now imagine a sales meeting that has your team so fired up, they can’t wait to get out of the room… for a very different reason. They’re not bored. On the contrary, they are excited to put what you’ve taught them into practice and blow their goals out of the water.
Doesn’t that sound better?
There’s an art to hosting successful sales meetings that your team members will look forward to. You’ll need to be concise, look to the future rather than rehashing the past, and most importantly, you need to provide value. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your team’s time.
How do you create a sales meeting that rocks? Read on for some tips to make your meetings unforgettable (in a good way).
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There are some specific rules you should follow to ensure that your sales meetings are as productive as possible.
Before you schedule a meeting and plan the agenda, figure out what you want to accomplish with this time. Are you teaching your employees something new? Brainstorming new ideas for a product launch? Perhaps you’re congratulating your team on a job well done and motivating them to reach new heights. No matter what your intention is, make sure that you have a clear goal in mind for the time you’ll spend together.
You’d think this goes without saying, but in many offices, meetings are something you have because you “should” have them, not because you actually “need” one. Before calling a meeting, figure out if you actually need to interrupt everyone’s day or if this is something that could be handled with a quick email or a walk-over to one or two specific employees’ offices.
If employees have the opportunity to review an agenda before stepping into the meeting room, they’ll be able to prepare whatever information they need and any questions they might have. Additionally, they’ll understand the flow of the meeting and what will be covered and will also know how long to block out of their day.
Even if your meeting isn’t specifically focused on education, you’ll want to provide something that will help them increase their sales. That way, even if you do have to cover something that perhaps doesn’t pertain to everyone in the room, they’ll still walk away feeling as if they’ve learned something that will make them better at their jobs.
No one wants to be lectured to. Create a format for your meetings that encourages participation from everyone in the room and gives them the opportunity to voice their questions, concerns, and ideas. Keep in mind that when you do this, you’ll also need a way to get people back on track if they start to derail the meeting. Consider a “Parking Lot” where you can write down ideas that need to be revisited at another time or place. That way, employees feel heard yet you don’t lose control of your meeting.
If you’re looking to motivate your sales team during meetings, there are a few aspects you should include (or exclude) each time you meet.
There’s a good chance that your team has been working together for a while, however, if a new person happens to join the crew, you’ll need to allow for short introductions. Give each person 20-30 seconds to say their name and something interesting about themselves like “if you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life, what would it be?”
Emphasis on the “quick.” If the team is doing well, celebrate the win. If the team could be doing better, identify where the challenges are and find a way to support them toward their goals. Always keep it positive, no matter how they’re doing. Screaming at your team and threatening their jobs is not a motivational technique and it will just end with them losing respect for you.
While it’s great for you to tell your salespeople how they’re doing, getting a “thank you” from their fellow employees will go a long way to motivating them. Perhaps they helped out another salesperson with a deal or provided support in some way. Give them time to share.
As you review your goals during the month, you may identify one or two employees that are really struggling to meet their goals. Rather than calling them out in the meeting and embarrassing them, speak to them privately and arrange for a more successful salesperson to act as a mentor.
Once you’ve gathered your team together, created a structure, and identified your reason for holding the meeting, how do you keep their attention and motivate them to be the sales rockstars you know they are capable of?
Yes, ultimately your salespeople work for you and should have the best interests of the company at heart. However, if you don’t give them a reason to care about the company and the products, they won’t be motivated and they won’t be loyal.
Chances are, your salespeople all hear similar objections as they go through their sales days. Brainstorm a way to overcome these objections with their sales pitch or identify if there really is a challenge with the product that needs to be addressed.
When a new product or service is released, make sure that your salespeople have the knowledge and experience necessary to sell it. Provide demos, allow them to test out the product for themselves, and teach them all of the features so they aren’t left staring like a deer in headlights when potential customers have questions.
Perhaps the product has changed and your salespeople may need a refresher course on the basics of selling. Or perhaps there’s a new technique that you can show them to improve their closing rate.
Keep an open floor for salespeople to ask questions about products, commissions, challenges, etc.
You may not have all the answers, but other people in the room might. Ask the more successful salespeople to share their best practices and what they’ve done to get where they are.
What makes your product different than others on the market? What about your company? What about your salespeople? Help each employee figure out what it is that makes them different so they can stand out above the crowd.
Perhaps you have one specific “ideal customer” for all of your products and your people, or maybe they would each resonate with a different type of customer. Find out who your employees would like to target with their sales and help them clarify how and where to find them.
Once again, the answers to improving your sales may be in the room. Allow salespeople to voice their concerns and brainstorm solutions with the group.
Good or bad, testimonials and reviews can provide a font of information for your team members. Read them aloud and congratulate employees when it’s appropriate. When it’s not, see the complaint as an opportunity to improve.
Even if your team isn’t producing the way you hoped, leave the meeting on a high note. If they exit the room with their tails between their legs, they won’t be motivated to do better. If you give your sales team hope and leave them excited, their performance will likely improve.
Sales meetings are incredibly important, but be careful about falling into a meeting rut that has your employees nodding off in their chairs. Make your meetings purposeful, succinct, and valuable for employees and you’ll inspire their inner sales rockstars!