Take a minute to think about all of the sales meetings you’ve attended or facilitated. Were you disappointed or delighted? Maybe you felt bored or even punished. Did the facilitator, AKA Sales Leader, drone on, pontificate, lecture, demean, or all of the above? Was it a one-voice meeting? What was the general engagement quotient of the participants?
The weekly sales meeting is the most critical of the week. Hopefully it’s early in the week so it can set a positive tone for the days ahead. When teams are “positively primed” they tend to perform better. (Boyatzis & McKee, the Positive Principles of Psychology, 2005).
The Sales Meeting is THE venue to ignite positivity. As a Sales Leader this is a crucial responsibility and the thought and planning put into the meeting is important.
Just as an athlete is taught to visualize the making of a foul shot or sinking of a long putt, the Sales Leader should visualize what he or she wants the outcome of the meeting to be before they create the agenda. What should the team to take away from the meeting? How should they feel?
See Teams as Customers
Sales Leaders should regard their teams as "customers”. How can they be engaged, be made curious, ask questions?
Creating an agenda is the roadmap for a successful meeting. It should be used to convey the timely information that salespeople need to know to conduct their business. It should be organized, relevant and interactive and not used to reprimand or demean the entire team.
Encourage the team to take ownership of the meeting. Assign topics to be presented by a salesperson. Ask a salesperson to present a compelling presentation. Allow 10 minutes at the end of the meeting for a brainstorming session where a team member can present a problem and the team brainstorms possible solutions. Invite other members of your organization to speak and take questions. Go around the room to celebrate successes or happy moments whether they are business or personal. Invite a client to speak. Diffuse negativity in the meeting. Cell phones are off! Change the “voice” of the meeting so it’s not just yours.
Leave Your Staff Delighted, Not Dejected
After several meetings like this, the team will be “primed to expect positivity and possibility” and will learn that that the meeting is meant to have an optimistic ending. Hopefully they will leave laughing! Laughter can set the stage for success. Laughter triggers “endorphin activation” and it’s actually a “physical mechanism to bond social groups” (NY Times, 9/13/2011), like your sales team. They leave your meeting delighted and not dejected. How great is that!!