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You Don’t Need a Laser Show to Run an Effective Sales Meeting

If your sales force is anything like most teams, when they realize it is time for the weekly sales meeting, they probably cringe. We have all sat through monotonous speakers with PowerPoint presentations that go on for slide after slide about updates, motivation, and the keys to success.

The problem is that a lot of the information obtained from these meetings is not entirely helpful when it is time for staff to go out to snag new jobs and contracts. While you do not need to go out and get celebrity guest stars, have a Pink Floyd laser show, or bribe everyone with free breakfast to show up, there are some things you can do to run an effective sales meeting, no matter how big or small the meeting may be.

Here comes the morning eye roll

It can be disconcerting to realize that much of what goes on during a sales meeting brings a sense of dread to those in attendance. Have you felt that way, too? The sales meeting does not have to be something that everyone tries to avoid, yet it happens week after week.

Why is there so much dread about sales meetings? More than likely it is because of things like:

  • The meeting is unorganized and lacks structure. With no agenda it is hard for anyone to stay on point and focus.

  • Going off on tangents: This happens frequently. Someone starts to discuss something that is completely unrelated to the central topic, and it completely derails the whole meeting for everyone.

  • Rehashing old items: When you spend 20 minutes each week talking about the same things and never getting to the new information and topics, it can make the meeting unproductive for everyone involved.

How can you avoid these things from happening, while ensuring that your sales force wants to have these meetings each week? There are some great solutions to help keep things on track and make these meetings productive, fun, and something the staff looks forward to.

Planning your meeting

There are a couple of basics you want to start with when planning your sales meeting. Keep in mind things like:

  • Start and end times: Your sales force is likely working on a tight schedule. They have calls to make, clients to see, and contracts to handle. Make sure that the meeting has a start time that works well in everyone’s schedule and has a definitive end time. Try to stick to both as best as possible.

  • Keep it timely: While you certainly do not need to have a three-hour sales meeting each week, it needs to be more than 10 minutes if you want it to be productive. Set aside at least an hour for the meeting to give yourself time to cover everything. You do not want to spend time simply re-hashing the past weekend’s event; your operations meeting can take care of that. Instead, make this hour aboutinformation, teaching, inspiration, and ways to achieve goals.

  • Choose the right day: Scheduling a meeting on Monday morning is the worst time for you and your sales staff. Everyone needs Monday to catch up after the weekend and they do not have the time or energy to devote to a meeting right away. Friday can be just as bad as everyone will be swamped with all that needs to be accomplished for weekend events. Pick a day in the middle of the week at a time when there might be a lull in the schedule.

Your sales meeting in four acts

You can break your meeting into four 15-minute blocks that will work well for everyone, keep the meeting moving, and make it productive. Try a setup such as:

  •  Tracking: Don’t launch your sales meetings on a down note. You want to make the meetings a positive experience, so use the first 15 minutes to praise everyone for the numbers they achieved during the past week. Congratulate individuals for hitting and exceeding sales goals. Make it a big deal because, well, it is a big deal! A round of applause from the group is great for motivation. You can even use this time to distribute gift cards as recognition for great work. For those that may have missed their goals, now is not the time for chastising or reprimands. They know they missed the mark already and with the right motivation will strive to do better.

  • Opportunities: There are sales opportunities all around, so devoting 15 minutes for everyone to share ideas and leads can be ideal. Have each person bring a sale that they want to focus on that week. It could be something like an advertisement about the new mall coming to the area and how they want to go after the bid to handle the grand opening event. Or, maybe it is a gala they had bid on and did not get this year and want to go after it again. This is a good time to share that information.

  • Education: Your sales meeting can also be a great teaching moment. Take 15 minutes to review different and effective sales techniques. Do some role playing so that the sales force can see how to work with different clients and situations; talk about how to build solid relationships and how to make a proposal; or teach the best way to work on closing a deal. The information learned here can be a big help to your team.

  • Wrapping Up: Take the last 15 minutes to go around the table and let everyone say what the best takeaway from the meeting is for them. The key to doing this is that each person must say something different and not repeat someone else’s answer. It will make everyone think about the meeting and what worked best for them. Additionally, they can get important points reinforced to them by others, which in turn helps them retain more information.

Your role in all this

Your role as facilitator is important. Make sure the meeting starts and ends on time each week no matter what. If for some reason the meeting must be cancelled because of an event, make sure you reschedule it for that same week. If you cannot be there for some reason, have another staff member fill in as the facilitator. There may be times when a particular topic needs to run longer for greater emphasis; let the team know about it so they can adjust their schedules before the meeting.

It is your job as the leader to make sure the sales meeting is a good one each week. Encourage everyone to participate so the meeting is more productive for each person. You want your team to feel excited about going to the sales meeting each week and leave the meeting each week feeling inspired. Don’t be afraid to assign homework for the next meeting so your staff can think about it and be ready for the next time. Once the meeting is over, arrange a time to meet with each salesperson one-on-one for about 15 minutes each. This gives each individual time to ask questions, get advice, talk about strategies for new business, tweak individual techniques, and go over their numbers.

Sales meetings do not have to be the groan-inducers or eye-rollers that everyone dreads going to. If you make the meetings purposeful, interesting, and inventive, everyone will be sure they can attend each week and the company will benefit overall. 

Meryl Snow

Owner, Feastivities Events, Philadelphia, PA and Senior Consultant, Certified Catering Consultants

With nearly 30 years in the special event and catering industry, Meryl Snow is the co-founder of Feastivities Events and the creator of The Triangle Method.  As a Senior Consultant for Certified Catering Consultants, Meryl travels throughout North America training clients in the areas of sales, marketing, design and branding to help businesses get on their own path to success.She is the author of Booked It! and Cha-CHING!

Meryl Snow

Catersource Advisory Council Member

Founder of