By Jeff Beals
Why do so many salespeople avoid sales meetings? Why do some reps consider sales meetings to be just one step above pain, suffering and disease? Part of the problem might be the structure of your meetings.
Too many sales meetings meander haphazardly from one topic to another without much purpose. Too many sales leaders wing it, showing up without a thoughtful agenda, and even worse, no real justification for holding the meeting.
During such meetings, attendees are generally disengaged until someone brings up a controversial subject. Only then, as the meeting becomes a gripe-fest, do people perk up and pay attention.
Never hold a sales meeting just for the sake of holding a meeting. If the meeting doesn’t improve skills, encourage communication and foster trust, you’re wasting everybody’s time.
Last week, I wrote about some ways you could entice people to show up for your sales meetings. This week, I’m going to talk about the essential components of a meeting agenda. You don’t have time for all of these agenda items at each meeting, so pick and choose which ones are best for you at any given time:
Celebrations of Success – In this part of the meeting, highlight the major sales that have been closed in the past week. Discussing these completed deals boosts morale and also provides an opportunity for other sales reps to learn from the experience.
Pending Deals – Highlight transactions that are in the queue but not yet closed. This will give everyone an idea of what business/revenue is on its way. Be careful about this section, however, as some sales reps are superstitious and don’t like to count their chickens before they hatch.
Announcements – Every sales meeting should have a “housekeeping” section in which you inform attendees about important details and events in the company. Communication (or lack thereof) is a major complaint of salespeople and a big cause of their discontent. While this agenda item is quite important, only spend the minimum amount of time necessary on it during the meeting. I’ve seen way too many sales meetings get sidetracked by unnecessary discussion related to simple announcements. Read the announcements quickly then move on! Send an announcement summary email immediately following the meeting in which you reiterate the important announcement details.
Rumors in the Marketplace – Open the floor for attendees to share what they’ve heard about competitors, potential clients and about macro issues that could have an impact on your company. Your sales force is out and about in the field every day, so they are collectively a tremendous source of intel.
Sales Training – No matter how long you’ve been in the sales game, you can always get better. You probably won’t have time to do this at every meeting, but periodically bring in an expert speaker to help your team improve its prospecting, qualifying and closing skills.
Lessons of the Week – Here is a chance for one or more of your sales reps to share their experiences. Use it as a way to educate the entire group about the pitfalls and barriers sales reps encountered and how they either successfully overcame them or failed because of them. This type of learning is immeasurably valuable and ultimately develops a set of best practices for your company’s sales department.
Internal Guest Speakers – Invite a key person from one your company’s operating units. Have him or her provide updates on important products or services. It is obviously important that sales reps are up on all the important aspects of what they sell.
Marketing Demonstrations – Regularly invite representatives from the marketing department to go over new campaigns. Ask the marketing rep to show new ads, videos, mailings, social media posts, websites, etc. Life is easier when salespeople and marketing employees work hand in glove.
Group Counseling – One way to get sales reps to bond with each other is to have them help each other out. During this segment of the meeting, ask a rep to bring up a problem he or she is having with a difficult client or prospect. Invite the rest of the group to give input, ideas and advice. This can be immensely beneficial for the person with the client issue and educational for everyone else. Perhaps most importantly, it brings the sales reps together as a team.
Discussion Time – Some sales leaders ask their reps to read an article before the meeting and then have the group discuss it. It could be an industry-related article or a sales-and-marketing article. If you do this, choose an article that is short, reads easily and has valuable content. An article that provides a new way of looking at a common problem tends to be received the most enthusiastically.
Jeff Beals shows you how to find better prospects, close more deals and capture greater market share. Jeff is an international award-winning author, sought-after keynote speaker, and accomplished sales consultant. A frequent media guest, Jeff has been featured in Investor’s Business Daily, USA Today, Men’s Health, Chicago Tribune and The New York Times.”
Here’s Why Should You Choose Jeff Beals as Your Next Speaker:
“Jeff Beals has presented four different topics at five of our internal events in 2016. At each event, the audience of commercial real estate principals and agents was completely engaged and motivated the entire time. Jeff facilitates his training sessions in such a way that each member of the audience was able to relate and understand how to apply it every day in the field. Jeff is brilliant, and we have hired him to continue speaking at our events in 2017!” – Lindsay Fierro, Senior Vice President, NAI Global, New York, NY
“Your workshop was a huge experience for our attendees by giving them the opportunity to improve their work in the critical environment in which we are living today. Your talent as a speaker and your qualities as a person made the difference during your time with us. I would certainly recommend you to anyone who asks.” – Ana Paula Costa, Educational Planner, Febracorp, Sao Paulo, Brazil
I’m in Phoenix and had breakfast earlier this morning with our semi-retired sales representative who is doing some continued work for us here. He attended your sales meeting last week and told me that in 43 years of selling, you were the best he had ever heard. Thanks for a great experience.” – Drew Vogel, President & CEO, Diamond Vogel Paints, Orange City, IA
“Our corporate partnership team had great takeaways regarding how to network smarter while also understanding the importance of our personal brand to current and prospective partners. Jeff does a great job weaving in real-world examples and how you can apply his teachings to growing your business and building long-term partnerships.” – Jason Booker, Senior Director of Corporate Sponsorships, The Kansas City Royals Major League Baseball Team