Sales professionals are inherently focused on closing deals and increasing the number of accounts under their purview. As such, they are often impatient when it comes to their time and meetings with superiors are no exception.
One-on-one sales meetings need not be inefficient. Sales managers that want to maximize the effectiveness of their sales team can do so with Individual Focus Meetings. Far from your average sales pow-wow, these intense sessions will motivate your sales team to meet goals that may have seemed impossible before.
Why Current One-on-One Meetings Aren't Working
Your current one-on-one meetings likely aren't working because you're not considering the needs of your sales team, and the meeting is probably not action-oriented. While outlining goals helps your sales team to know what you expect, it does little to show them to get there.
When they're pressured to perform, spending time meeting with you to discuss what needs to be done only makes them feel as though they're missing out. Even if you throw in a few motivational phrases, it's not enough to show sales staff that they are your priority.
Instead of boring meetings that feel more like being summoned to the principal's office, use Individual Focus Meetings to put the focus of one-on-one meetings where it belongs: on your sales team members.
The more motivated and encouraged they are from you, as a sales manager, the more likely they are to perform. Moreover, Individual Focus Meetings set the tone for the kind of open-door policy sales managers should have to cultivate a team of top sellers.
Tips for Successful Individual Focus Meetings
Make your Individual Focus Meetings successful by following a few best practices. Remember, each member of your sales team has their own personality. Learn how each one operates most effectively, so that your Individual Focus Meetings have value.
1. Listen More Than You Talk
One of the biggest mistakes that sales managers make is talking throughout the entire meeting. It's virtually impossible to learn more about what your team needs if you are talking more than you listen.
If you're not well-versed in the art of active listening, now is a good time to learn. Active listening means paying attention to more than just the words your sales person is saying during the meeting. You should also pay attention to how they are communicating and their body language during the communication.
2. Ask Your Sales Team Members How You Can Support Their Efforts
Sales managers may ask team members what help they need, but rarely do they do the kind of deep dive that makes it clear they are prepared to do whatever it takes to support the efforts of their team members.
If you want to make Individual Focus Meetings successful, be very specific in the questions you ask team members.
Ask sales team members how you can help support their efforts today?
Are they struggling with a specific client or could they use some practice on a big pitch?
The best sales managers don't mind serving as back-up for their staff. Be available for everything from helping to perfect a PowerPoint presentation to assisting with the preparation of pitch materials. A win for sales staff members is a win for the entire team.
If you communicate this during Individual Focus Meetings, your team will begin to trust that you are truly on their side.
3. Let Team Members Set the Meeting Schedule
Some sales team members are go-getters who need little more than a quick check-in every now and then. Others need a routine sounding board to ensure they are going in the right direction, and still others require a level of sales management that falls somewhere in the middle.
Let your sales team set their own Individual Focus Meeting schedules. This ensures that those who need more attention get it, while those who are confident in what they are doing are freed up to make those sales.
As long as you are having routine check-ins every quarter or so, and your team is performing, there is no need to meet more often than team members need.
4. Ask for Feedback on Sales Goals
Sales managers generally set sales goals based on the larger financial needs of the company. But sales people rarely get to have input on those goals. As such, sales managers never know if the goals in question are too high or too attainable before putting them in motion.
During Individual Focus Meetings, question sales staff members about their goals. If a staff members notes the goal is too ambitious, discuss why they feel this way to determine if their sales goals are properly aligned with their sales strengths.
For example, some sales people are excellent at hitting high short-term sales targets monthly. Others are longer-term closers that benefit from long-term sales goals calculated over a longer period than monthly targets.
5. Create a Plan Together
Once you determine what your sales people need, create a plan to address all of those issues. Set deadlines for anything for which you are responsible with assisting. Follow-up on tasks assigned to your staff members.
6. Keep It Short
Because Individual Focus Meetings accomplish a lot, it might seem like they could meander on for long periods. However, the purpose of these meetings is to get in and out while still ensuring that sales team members feel heard.
Don't drag meetings on if the sales person doesn't need the time or attention. Some sales staff members are comfortable with the structure of their workload and simply need a check-in. If this is the case, listen to what they have to say, offer what guidance is necessary and send them out to do what they do best.