Sales meeting don’t have to be boring. You can organize better sales meetings with just a little bit of revised thinking.
- Please advise on how to make weekly sales meetings “kick.”
- Need some help in supercharging my boring sales meetings. Can you lend some wisdom?
As you can tell from the two inquires above from two different people, this is a common question. Believe it or not, most sales managers don’t want to hold boring, unproductive sales meetings. In fact, they want to do just the opposite.
Let’s start with just one idea. I could write a book on this one. (And maybe I will.)
First, don’t have a meeting for the sake of having a meeting. There should always be a specific purpose for the meeting. The purpose should be described in terms of the outcomes you want from the meeting. And the outcomes should always be described in terms of specific behavior on the part of the sales people.
For example, in creating the agenda for a sales meeting, a lot of sales managers will say something like this: “I’m going to present our new product.” You envision yourself talking for an hour or so about your new product and then answering questions for a few moments.
The problem with that is that the focus is on you, not the sales people. Don’t start there. Instead, start by thinking about what change you want to see in the sales people. Why are you going to present the new product?
You may say, “Because I want the sales people to be familiar with it.”
And why do you want that? “Because I want them to sell it.”
And if they are going to be able to sell it, what specifically do they need to know how to do?
“They need to know what applications the product fits, the features and benefits it brings to the customer, how to present it as a solution, how it fits with our other products, and how this product compares to the competition.”
OK, that is much more specific. But, how will you know if they got it? If that is the outcome you want, then, at the end of the meeting you ought to be able to measure that somehow, and determine whether or not you achieved your objective.
So, let’s break your objectives down and develop specific ways to measure them.
They need to know what applications the product fits.
We’re talking about knowledge here. And knowledge can be tested. So, why not have a test they take at the end of the sales meeting that measures their knowledge of applications?
The features and benefits it brings to the customer, how to present it as a solution.
Presenting it implies a role-playing event. So, how about having everyone role play a presentation in which they must describe a number of features and benefits for a specific customer?
How it fits with our other products, and how this product compares to the competition.
This, again, is knowledge. Knowledge is measurable. Throw this into the exam.
So, at this point, you have decided to end the day with an exam that measures certain aspects of the knowledge you want them to gain, and a role-play in which you grade their ability to make a features & benefits presentation.
There is still something missing. Why not add a little sizzle to the day by creating a small contest? Something like:
Everyone who sells six or more of this new product in the next 60 days will earn a gift certificate for dinner for two at an expensive restaurant. We’ll keep track of everyone’s progress on a chart in the lunch room, and email everyone’s progress to all the sales, management and customer service people in the company at the end of every week.
Let’s start assembling what we have. Your sales meeting agenda now begins to take form.
- You are going to start the meeting with an explanation of the sales contest.
- You then announce that at the end of the meeting, everyone will be tested for their knowledge of the new product and will do a role-play presentation which you will grade. You expect grades on both to be 85% or higher.
- Now, you present your new product.
- You give everyone a quiz. Break the group up into pairs, and have each person coach the other on the questions they did not answer correctly.
- Do a couple practice role-plays.
- Give the final exam.
- Do the final role-play.
If you do this, I’ll guarantee you will feel better about the value of your sales meetings, and your sales people will not be bored.
I realize that some of you are thinking a couple of thoughts:
What! I have never really expected any specific outcome from the sales people. I’m not sure I can do this.
Don’t you pay them as professionals? Why not treat them as professionals? Perhaps part of the problem has been your lack of specific expectations for them. Time to change that.
What if they don’t pass the test or the role-play?
Then you’ll know what the problem is. If they can’t do this with you, how do you expect them to perform in front of the customer? Remember, you said the purpose was to get them to sell the new product.
My sales people have never done this kind of thing in a sales meeting before.
I thought you asked the question of how you can make your sales meetings less boring, and more valuable. If you keep doing what you always did, you’ll get what you always got. Something has to change. If you don’t change it, who will? If your sales people aren’t up to meeting some specific expectations regarding their knowledge and sales skills, perhaps you don’t have real sales people.
And this is just one way to energize a sales meeting. Stay tuned for more. (QA-SM-29)