[Sales] How to conduct a great sales meeting

As a professional working in various sales and sales management positions for over a decade, I’ve been part of, or directed countless sales meetings. Some of them have been great, others have been a collosal waste of time. It is my objective to offer insight and poiners into creating a great sales meeting, to help you avoid any pitfalls I’ve encountered along the way.

Sales meetings exist in pretty much every sales organization. They frequently happen on Monday mornings, and the purpose is to bring everyone together to establish a feeling of teamwork and camaraderie, celebrate recent successes, offer training, and set goals and expectations for the next week.

There are effective practices for sales meetings, and there are less effective practices.

Effective practices:

  1. Train your staff. Sales is a profession which requires a professional to constantly be “on their game”. Frequent training ensures your reps always feel like they are growing–which is a contributing factor to overall job satisfaction.
  2. Celebrate successes. The life of a sales rep is rife with rejection. It takes a strong spirit to fight through it all and to stay hungry, motivated, and focuses. Sales reps, more than perhaps any other professional, THRIVE on recognition.
  3. Emphasize life skills, or a cause. If you can make sales about more than just making money, your reps will respect you even more. Because sales requires constant effort and improvement, it is a perfect environment to being a better parent, spouse, friend, or person in general. It has been said, “Men will work hard for money, men will work harder for other men, but men will work hardest most of all when it is for a worthy cause.” These words are perfectly applicable to sales meetings.
  4. Be positive, yet unafraid to demand high performance. If you expect more from your sales organization, be clear about that.
  5. Set clear goals and expectations for the week.
  6. Avoid repetition. I’ve been in a lot of meetings where they went 3-4 times longer than they needed to be, because the same axioms and goals were repeated over and over and over.
Less Effective practices:
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  1. Individual criticism. The old axiom, “praise in public, criticize in private” is very true for sales professionals.
  2. Focusing purely on numbers. As previously stated, sales reps flourish when you show you care about their development through training and showing how they are developing as human beings.
  3. Focusing on your own or your company’s pressures. Your reps do not care if you can pay your mortgage, so don’t ever bring it up. They have financial concerns of their own that are far more important to them. I’ve literally heard sales managers say things like “Make me a paycheck today,” as if that was supposed to inspire me. Don’t bring up your paycheck, ever. Lack of vision. This is closely related to the cause, but employees, especially sales professionals, need to hear the vision of the company or team.
  1. Showing up without an agenda or visual aids. Even if you use the whiteboard, it is better to see and hear than just hear.
Sales meetings can go a long way to unifying, training, and improving morale of your team.  Even though you have countless other responsibilities as a Sales Manager, dedicating a few hours to preparing for your sales meeting will yield high returns in your organization.
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