Are You Running Fake Sales Meetings?

It’s the Monday morning group sales meeting. The sales team shows up, pop open tablets and computers, and pretend to pay attention to the sales manager and colleagues. They give a cursory nod or answer while checking emails and responding to texts.

What’s wrong with this picture? Everything!

Sales managers, this one is on you. Your group sales meetings aren’t designed for catching up on work. You hold them to make sure your team works more effectively. They are designed for:

  • Team building. But it’s hard to build relationships when no one is paying attention.
  • Training and development. Not going to happen. You can’t engage in intentional learning and practice while also multitasking. (Have you ever seen a college athlete check their smartphone during practice?)
  • Brainstorming on how to up-level products and services provided to customers. This requires multiple brains, not just those that decide to pay attention.

Companies waste millions of dollars because they conduct and accept fake sales meetings. This year, apply the best practices of good sales leaders that are dedicated to running effective sales meetings.

1. Turn off technology and turn on interpersonal skills. Avoid the pull of addiction, instant gratification and FOMO (fear of missing out).

Model and teach your sales team the No. 1 skill needed to accomplish sales goals: focus. Research shows that multitasking is really multi-averaging. Sure, your sales team thinks they are accomplishing more — and they are – but at an average level.

2. Get clear on your meeting objectives. We teach our salespeople the power of pre-call planning. Apply this selling principle to running team meetings.

Your sales team can’t conduct wing-it sales calls and you can’t conduct wing-it group sales meetings

What is the desired outcome of the meeting? Are there specific skills your sales team members need to learn and practice in order to win more business? Perhaps the meeting is geared towards training and education around unseating a strong incumbent. Or, maybe this meeting is for pure motivation.

3. Establish clear next steps. Salespeople don’t meet with prospects and clients without a list of action items. The same principle applies to running effective group sales meetings. Send a post-meeting agenda summarizing agreed-upon changes or improvements before the next meeting. A former mentor taught me a great lesson. He said, “When people see items in writing, they take those items more seriously.”

Stop running fake sales meetings. Show up as a strong, focused sales leader rather than one with the attention span of a gnat.

Good Selling!

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Colleen Stanley

Colleen Stanley is the founder and president of SalesLeadership, Inc. She is a monthly columnist for Business Journals across the country, author of ‘Growing Great Sales Teams’ and co-author of ‘Motivational Selling.’ Her new book, 'Emotional Intelligence for Sales Success,' published by Amacom, a division of the American Management Association, is available in bookstores now. Colleen is the creator of Ei Selling®, a unique and powerful sales program that integrates emotional intelligence skills with consultative selling skills. Prior to starting SalesLeadership, Colleen was vice president of sales and marketing for Varsity Spirit Corporation. During her 10 years at Varsity, sales increased from 8M to 90M. Varsity was named by Forbes Magazine as one of the 200 fastest growing companies in the United States. When Colleen is not traveling or training, she loves to hike, read and hang with her husband Jim, and friends.

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