Dull Sales Meetings? Read on…
If a Company Director was to challenge a team of sales managers and say to them, “How do you rate your sales meetings and is your team inspired by them?”…. There is little doubt that the answers coming back would be truly inspired and loaded with how excellent they are claiming they perfectly satisfy the need for sharing information, ensuring good communications, bringing everyone up to date with new developments, celebrating successes and so on… as well as the obvious and more practical elements such as the need to review achievement against targets and knowing exactly how the business is doing etc.
However, most of those answers, whilst accurate in terms of what they should be doing, would probably fall into the category of ‘what you want to hear’ when asked by a senior person. Because the truth would inevitably be closer to revealing that most sales meetings are pretty dull and all too often they descend boring and irrelevant ordeals where managers use sales figures and commercial facts to metaphorically beat people with, rather than using the meeting to inspire them.
Naturally if the figures are bad, then there’s no hiding from that and of course the numbers have to be reported accurately and honestly, but we are talking here about the more pragmatic elements which is information that has to be presented at sales meetings and so, is a must. However, there are other factors that can contribute to making the meeting harder work than they need to be.
At a recent development meeting we discussed this very subject and whilst everyone agreed that all of the above items are essential ingredients for enjoyable and productive sales meetings, why then, are they viewed so negatively by many salespeople?
This led to a very healthy debate as to why that might be the case and we identified a few items that we felt were major contributory factors in making sales meetings rather dull at times. The idea was that if we can articulate the key areas that are barriers to creating really enjoyable and powerful sales meetings, then we could avoid those things and focus on activities that really matter.
First up was everyone’s favourite – why does the person chairing the meeting have to speak so much and dominate the whole meeting? It’s a fair point and it happens more often than we’d like to admit. To prevent his, ensure that you have a strict agenda and keep to it. Make sure that everyone has a say in the meeting and if someone is dominating then find a way to let them know.
Years ago, I worked for a company where the manager chairing the meeting, actually had a system whereby, he threw a red handkerchief onto the table if someone was dominating too much and it served as a one minute warning to finish the point you were making. The same also applied to him of course, and he allowed it to be used on him if he was droning on too much as well! This was mostly done to lighten the mood and although it was meant to be a bit of fun, it did prove to be quite effective.
This sort of tactic can help avoid one of the other issues that was raised, which was keeping the meeting focussed on those specific areas that were essential components and not getting side tracked onto other issues. It’s important to be clear about the meeting objectives and essential to stick to the agenda.
A colleague in the discussion offered up the notion that sometimes salespeople just don’t give much credence to the weekly or monthly sales meeting and that unless attendance is compulsory then people used a whole manner of excuses to not turn up. It’s better to make your meetings worthwhile, informative, succinct and enjoyable than to make them compulsory. So, think of what you can do to ensure your sales meeting is all of the above and stay focussed.
The alternative to this are meetings where people drone on incessantly or you just end up having ‘meetings for meetings sake’. It can be more effective sometimes to issue a well written missive than to call a meeting, but if you do need to, then make it short and sweet if at all possible.
One of the other issues raised was that every person should go away from the meeting with something that they, either didn’t have, or didn’t know before they arrived. One of my first sales managers used to get us role-play a sales scenario where we would be given an object to sell in 2 minutes. The idea was to help us focus on features and converting them into benefits.
Another game was that we would have a random 2 minute period where you could only answer a question with another question. Although I have to admit, this can get a little annoying after a while, it did help us to construct sentences that had questions rather than statements in them. Always good for when you are in a customer meeting and require information.
There’s no doubt it made those sales meeting lively, fun and enjoyable. You risk boring your team if you can’t introduce something that allows a little brevity into the meeting or adds value or some sort or even just makes people laugh. Deal with the serious stuff for sure, but avoid being boring, keep the meetings succinct, relevant and try to make them as inspiring as possible. The opposite to all these things is far worse!
At Maguire Training, not only do we offer classroom-based courses and programmes, but we are also proud to offer a versatile and intuitive suite of over a hundred e-learning modules on our website, which covers a range of sales and customer service topics.
Have a look at the on-line module ‘Managing Sales Meetings’ which would be a perfect complement to the classroom-based sales management courses we offer.
If you need further information then you could always call us of course on 0333 5777 144 for a no obligation discussion about your training requirements. Alternatively, simply hit the ‘Contact Us’ on any page of our website at www.maguiretraining.co.uk and we’ll get right back to you.
Either way it would be great to hear from you.