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Sales Tip - Making Your Sales Meetings Meaningful

What can managers do to make sales meetings valuable?

I've found four simple rules seem to work very, very well:

1. No purpose, no meeting. Only hold meetings when there is a REASON to hold a meeting. That may be once a month, once every two weeks, once a week, or as needed. That the company is no longer paying for coffee is not a reason for a meeting; that's a memo. Reviewing the pre-call planning steps is a reason for a meeting.

2. No preparation, no meeting. If for any reason the person managing the meeting has not had time to thoroughly prepare, the meeting is canceled. There is no excuse for wasting the team members' time because the manager didn't get their job done.

3. A sales meeting is not the place for individual coaching. A sales meeting is a group activity. Address the group's needs and issues, not individual salespeople's. There is no excuse for denigrating anyone in front of the group or for wasting the group's time for individual coaching. Each team member should have coaching time scheduled outside the sales meeting. The rule is, if a meeting degenerates into individual coaching, the team members are free to leave (note, however, that answering a specific issue a team member has with the subject matter being discussed is not individual coaching).

4. Set a time limit, stick to it. Salespeople need to be selling, not attending meetings. Under normal circumstances, sales meetings should be kept to an hour or less. Only under extraordinary circumstances should a meeting exceed an hour.

Your sales meetings should concentrate on helping team members sell. Reviewing market conditions; presenting new products or services; reviewing sales skills such as prospecting, making presentations, asking questions, pre-call planning, and the other aspects of selling and the sales process; role playing activities; and other core content should be the heart of the meeting.

Seller recognition and reinforcement should also be an integral aspect of your meetings. Leave the meeting on a high note, not a downer.

Source: Sales trainer/consultant Paul McCord