I seem to regularly have conversations with sales teams where I hear managers talk about accountability, implementation, follow-up—all referring to a system, process, or new business development that is lacking. Most of the time, my response is: "let’s talk about your weekly meetings and your weekly sales plan."
Here is the tried-and-true guide to great one-on-ones.
It is the exchange of information. It is a progress reports on what is happening now. It is about account development.
Be consistent and predictable! Both the salesperson and the managers should know what to expect. Follow the same process for each meeting. Start with the same topic, then move to the next. For example, start with Target Accounts, then move to Key Accounts, then move to Secondary Accounts (if time permits).
Schedule your meetings well in advance and stick to the schedule whether that is weekly or biweekly.
One-on-ones should be a collaborative effort, but one that the salesperson leads. As a manager, listen, probe and find ways you can help meet the objectives on the account. It is easy as managers to fall into the Superman Syndrome. We feel like we have to have all of the answers all of the time. However, in doing that, we indirectly decrease professional growth and don’t facilitate skill development in our sellers.
So, in short, consistent and predictable works!
“Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least.”