November 9/16; Volume 30/Number 11
By David Romano
This column was inspired by a firm lecture from my wife after my third impromptu meeting of the day with my recruiting team discussing new sales avenues and changes to our pricing strategy. I gave her every excuse as to why I kept holding these meetings such as pumping up my team members, creating a buzz in the office and a lot of other things she didn’t want to hear. The reality was these impromptu meetings took them away from activities that generated revenue—the total opposite of what I really hoped to accomplish.
If you can relate to my slip in leadership you are not alone. I have countless friends in the industry who believe these impromptu meetings actually produce great results. In reality, it produces frustration.
Taking the time to properly frame your message and provide the right venue for communication can be a daunting task. However, the investment is much more likely to produce the results you desire and build a team that is eager to learn from you. If you’d like to learn more after reading this article, I highly suggest you pick up a copy of Death by Meeting by Patrick Lencioni.
Productive sales meetings should be informational, instructional and interactive. In addition, each meeting should be different. Expecting folks to get fired up for a sales meeting when the “same thing, different day” approach is used is impossible. Going over open quotes, new products, upcoming advertising and sales numbers is beyond boring after the second time you sit in one of those meetings. The content should be switched up, include participation and end with at least one actionable item.
According to a survey conducted by Benchmarkinc in which several hundred floor covering business owners participated over a three-year period ending 2013, independent flooring stores that regularly hold sales meetings experience:
- An increase in sales per associate of just over $43,500
- An increase in overall efficiency per employee just under $17,000
- 65.8% greater sales volume ($3.8 vs. $2.3 million)
- Owners earned $22,587 more in annual income
Following are some ways to ensure your meetings are productive, according to Entrepreneur magazine.
1.Begin your meetings on time and start with an energizer. Reward those who are punctual to help eliminate late arrivals.
- Keep it simply simple (KISS). Always ask yourself, “Does this item need to be in the meeting or can it be done another time?” Make sure the pace of the meeting is fast, create a fun atmosphere, add value by helping the team better execute a key sales strategy and have members share content.
- When discussing personal updates, make sure the topics are small and the answers are timed. I suggest using a “parking lot” where you write down topics that need to be addressed another time.
- Motivate and reward. You must build motivation into every team meeting. The sales team has a tough challenge and needs to feel supported and recognized. This isn’t about gifts or exceptional moments; the simplest “thank you” can have notable influence.
- Every sales meeting must stretch and challenge team members’ skills. Capability activities can focus on prospecting, networking, lead generation, client meetings, presenting solutions or closing.
- Create the framework once and have a standard agenda so building the content of each meeting will be simple.