One of the most critical factors in successful selling is consistency — consistency of effort, consistency in the message, and consistency in the quality and service that are provided to the customer.
The idea of consistency is reinforced in the fact that you hold your sales meeting at the same time, on the same day of the week, every week. The agenda for your meeting is also essentially the same, as every sales meeting is made up of the same components.
Here are the guidelines for conducting an effective sales meeting:
1. Start and finish the meeting on time. Being on time actually starts with communicating the meeting time in advance to those who should attend. This ‘announcement’ should also include the fact that the meeting is not optional. The next part of being on time has to do with always starting and ending the Sales Meeting when you are supposed to. Failing to do so shows disrespect for the other attendees and throws their schedule off. Finally if all agenda items have been covered before the allotted time for the meeting is up, end the meeting early.
2. Everybody must participate. No wall flowers or hiding out. Everyone is expected to contribute something of value to the meeting, and to come prepared to do so.
3. Everybody takes notes. Showing up at a meeting without a notepad and a pen or pencil is like showing up at a flood without an extractor! Being prepared is professional behavior and reinforces the consistency that our sales people should be prepared for every meeting – whether internal or external.
4. Keep the meeting focused on sales and marketing issues. It’s easy to get pulled off track discussing non-Sales topics like cash flow, technician issues and equipment. That dilutes the effectiveness of the meeting and causes people to “check out” mentally. Remain focused on sales opportunities. Business problems have a way of taking our attention away from business opportunities. The problems have to be solved, but the Sales Meeting might not be the best place to do it. Make a note of important issues that need to be addressed off-line.
5. Track professional development of the sales rep’s. Use opportunities in the discussion to check technical knowledge, communication skills, poise and confidence, and listening skills.
6. Track progress with customers and prospects — especially strategic accounts. It is important that information sharing includes input from the sales staff on our customers, our markets, and our competitors. They are the eyes and ears of our Company in the market. How happy are our customers with our service? Are there services they need or would like that we don’t currently offer? What are the hot issues in their industry? Are our competitors targeting specific customers or markets?
Effective Sales meetings are a critical element in reaching your revenue goals. Consistent, well-run weekly meetings will help you build teamwork, develop skills and techniques, motivate your people, and keep your sales team focused on the markets and prospects that offer the greatest opportunity for success.
Tom Cline has a 28-year background in sales, marketing, and operations. He is currently a Business Development Advisor for Violand Management Associates (VMA) where he works closely with business owners and their key management staff as both a business consultant and an executive coach. To learn more about VMA”s services and programs visit www.violand.com or call (330)966-0700.