Avoiding unproductive sales meetings

Posted in Sales techniques and processes.

Weekly sales meetings can be tricky. On the one hand they are useful for catching up on sales figures, discussing future sales processes and sorting out potential issues. On the other hand, there is almost always that one moment where a meeting starts to go downhill and veer off the planned path. Having good intentions is not always enough, one needs to take the plan you have for that meeting and you need to execute it until the end every time.

Having a sales meeting? Then have a sales meeting.

A sales meeting is exactly that – a meeting where the sales team comes together to discuss sales-related topics. However, many times there are unrelated topics such as parking or company get-togethers that seem to enter into the discussion. These topics are not allowed in a sales meeting since there are other opportunities for these types of issues to be discussed. Allowing topics that are not sales-related to be discussed will make the meeting run longer than it should, waste precious discussion and planning time, and frustrate those that want to be productive.

Don’t waste people’s time

If you say the sales meeting will be an hour long, make sure it is an hour long. Having a meeting that overstays its welcome never goes down well with those attending. If a meeting takes up an inordinate amount of time, just think of all of the time being wasted that could be used to actually execute the plans discussed. If a meeting is threatening to overrun on time, make a note of what is currently being discussed and what still needs discussing, and carry it over to the next scheduled meeting. This makes the day less rushed for attendees and ensures that they do not feel unenthusiastic about the prospect every week.

Having a meeting for the sake of having one

Just because you always have a sales meeting every Monday doesn’t mean that you always need to stick to that plan. If you feel like there is nothing important to discuss, reschedule the meeting to later in the week or move it to the following week. This way you adhere to the previous point (not wasting people’s time) and you free up productive time.

Prepare your attendees

Save even more time by handing out any important documents before the meeting, not during. If attendees have the papers they need for the meeting beforehand, they will be more likely to ask focused questions and give productive feedback since they have had time to appropriately prepare.

Be clear about the objective(s)

Sales reps value their time. And if they don’t feel like they are going to get value out of something that is taking up that precious time, it can lead to a demotivated salesperson or one that doesn’t feel like participating (why would they if there’s nothing in it for them?)

Start off every meeting clearly setting the goal for the meeting. What is the objective of this meeting? What is the projected outcome of this meeting? Will each salesperson learn a new training technique or are they being taught how to better engage with a client? Are they going to be going through a new process? Basically show your attendees that they will be getting valuable information from the meeting.

End on a high note

Sales teams need motivation to stay focused. Not every item that will be discussed in a meeting will be positive (such as a difficult client or floundering sales figures). Avoid this type of disappointment and demotivating talk by making a meeting “sandwich”. No, we are not suggesting a buffet to be served at the meeting (even though food helps keep people energised and focused for longer). A “sandwich” refers to starting the meeting on a positive note, inserting the bad news in the middle of the meeting and ending off the agenda with another piece of good news.