[Podcast] How to hold a successful sales meeting

Sales meeting are usually stupid. It’s either a manager telling their staff what they “need” to do or it’s a vendor rep putting everyone to sleep while they ramble about how awful their competitor’s product is.

If you’re tired of the same ole same ole, here is an outline that will make your next sales meeting more effective.

If you’re not careful, it might even be fun…

Preparation the night before the meeting:

On a 3X5 card, write down one takeaway that you would like to get across to your team. This is your baseline; having one key takeaway will help you focus your meeting and keep you on task.

Think of a story that illustrates your point. People think in pictures so give them a picture. It doesn’t have to be long. The point is to get their mind going in the right direction.

Write two or three questions on a couple of 3X5 cards. These should be questions you would like them to be able to answer by the end of the meeting. These questions could be about anything. Product knowledge, sales process, opinion, etc.

Meeting Outline:

Lead with the story: Nothing gets the mind working like a story. Make it colorful and be expressive. Your team will never be more enthusiastic than you. Set the tone with a high energy level.

Divide into groups: You may want to be strategic about the groups. Having all the high performers in one group and the low performers in another may not get the intended outcome.

Discuss: Pass out the 3X5 card questions to each group and give them 10–15 minutes to discuss within their group.

Share: Once time is up, have each group share their answers with the rest of the team. After every answer, ask, “What do the other groups have to add?” This will make for great discussion and give you an opportunity to validate correct answers and address misconceptions. Resist the urge to break into a lecture. Allow your team to do most of the talking. Think of yourself as the facilitator not the presenter.

In almost every situation, the answer to the question is already in the room. So ask questions before you give answers.

There’s no need to state the obvious. Just ask. If someone asks a question, let the team answer. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to help your team perform at their highest level, not babysit.

Take-Away: At the end of the discussion, pass out a fresh 3X5 card and ask your team to write down one key take away from the meeting. Once everyone is finished, ask each team member to share what he or she wrote.

***Bonus*** If you want to go the extra mile, have them turn the 3X5 card over and answer these three questions.

  • What is your biggest take away?
  • As a result of this new information, (specifically) what could you do differently?
  • What result do they plan to achieve?

Congratulate your team on a great meeting and fill them in on any housekeeping items you need to address.

Close: Leave them on a high note. Don’t ramble. Give them some encouragement, share a commitment you made and close the meeting.

Give it a shot, you may be surprised by just how engaged your team will become.