The next time you conduct a sales meeting with your team, write down the cost of holding it. Be sure to include the payroll costs AND the conversations not occurring with prospects and clients. Take a look at the final number and ask yourself: Is this meeting going to pay for itself?
Sales managers coach their salespeople to apply delayed-gratification skills and put in the work to plan for effective prospect meetings. It’s time to apply the same advice and put in the work to create a sales meeting where salespeople leave and say, “That was a great use of my time.”
Here are five ideas to get you started.
1. Invite your CFO to the meeting and ask him or her to share what’s important to them when making a buying decision. Ask them how they measure return on investment or specific key performance metrics when making a buying decision. Then ask your sales team members to use this information to design compelling questions to ask in order to uncover this criterion at their next prospect meeting. This critical-thinking exercise teaches them how to show up as a trusted advisor, not a transactional salesperson.
2. Invite a client to attend a meeting, on the phone, through video or in person. I had a CEO invite one of his clients, a CIO, to the meeting. Her testimonial about why she continued to work with the company increased his sales team’s belief in their product and services. They left the meeting fired up to sell more and sell better.
3. Conduct a sales meeting where each person brings their biggest failure in sales and the lessons they learned from it. It’s a humorous activity and one that teaches your sales team that even the best salespeople screw up. It also demonstrates that you actually do learn powerful lessons from failure and that there is life after failing.
4. Focus on mindset training. Many sales managers are good at the mechanics of sales management. However, a salesperson’s failure to execute isn’t always about selling skills and strategy. Salespeople are human beings, and human beings accumulate self-limiting belief systems as they roll through life. Have your team members examine self-limiting belief systems that are holding them back. Such belief systems could include age, gender, number of years of experience or perception of their ability. Change your salesperson’s belief systems and you will change their ability to execute the right selling behaviors.
5. Hold a gratitude sales meeting. In the busyness of life, it’s easy for everyone to simply forget to say thanks. Buy some thank-you notes (this is not an exercise done by email). Ask your sales team to slow down and think about people that have helped or are helping them in their personal and professional lives. People such as:
- Internal team members that are providing great service after the sale.
- Mentors that provide wisdom and support.
- Parents that didn’t ship them off to Siberia when they were teenagers.
- A teacher that showed patience when you weren’t grasping a concept.
- A boss that showed you tough love.
- Colleagues that provided important sales advice when you were in a sales slump.
- A customer that continues to do business year after year without bidding or price shopping.
- A partner or spouse that picks up the slack when the salesperson has a heavy travel or delivery week.
Take a look at your sales meetings. Avoid the pull of instant gratification and put in the work of planning a sales meeting that produces a high return on investment for your sales team and the company.