(By Wayne Ens) During the Consultant’s Corner at this year’s Radio Show, we unveiled the six high-leverage activities that managers can engage in to increase their sales. All of them revolve around selling your sellers. Your salespeople are beat up on the street every day with objections like “No one listens to radio anymore” or “Your rates are too high” or “I tried radio and it didn’t work.”
A key function of management, then, is to strategically and continuously sell your sellers on the power of radio and the results we produce for advertisers. One of the six platforms for selling your sellers can be your sales meetings.
Yet, in a recent survey we conducted, 89 percent of sales reps said that their sales meetings were “usually a waste of time.”
Properly planned sales meetings will prevent your meetings from being a waste of time and achieve four major objectives for you: communication, training, motivation, and entertainment — yes, that’s right, entertainment!
Planning to communicate and introduce new sales tools and new valid business reasons to make advertiser contacts at every sales meeting will encourage enthusiastic attendance and participation.
It’s been said that your only sustainable competitive advantage is to learn faster than your competition. Everyone on your team can learn from their peers in an open-forum meeting and by sharing success stories. The sales meeting is also the ideal place to consistently reinforce and promote the company’s mission statement or battle cry.
Last, but not least, entertain.
Communication is ineffective if your presentation is boring. Having guest speakers, new ideas, and interactive sales meetings will help you sell your sellers.
Here are our 10 Do’s and Don’ts for Productive Sales Meetings:
- Do plan and prepare meetings from a salesperson’s perspective. With every item on the agenda, answer the question “What’s in it for me?” from a salesperson’s point of view.
Do not use the meetings for a forum to discuss individual accounts receivable problems or other “downers.”
- Do start and finish the meeting with positive, upbeat topics. Have the salespeople each share a “good news” story about your station, your market, a sale, or a client’s success.
Do not dwell on topics that do not pertain to the majority in attendance. Such topics should be dealt with one-on-one.
- Do have an agenda, and circulate it to the staff ahead of time. This forces you to prepare for the meeting and gives the staff a chance to prepare for it as well.
Do not be the only speaker on the agenda. Bring in other staff members, suppliers, experts, department heads, or even clients to answer questions or help train the staff.
- Do take minutes of every meeting. Minutes document answers to questions and can keep other non-attending department heads and team members in the loop.
Do not circulate the minutes until you have approved them, to avoid misinterpretations or publicizing confidential information.
- Do recognize any group or individual staff accomplishments.
Do not reprimand anyone at a meeting.
- Do encourage participation. Ask questions. Get staff members to present or chair certain segments.
Do not let the participation evolve into “mutiny sessions.” Don’t ignore complaints, but answer them quickly, and move on.
- Do have your meetings consistently, on the same day and at the same time. This way the staff can plan around them, and you avoid the old “I thought the meeting was next week” excuse. (By the way, if you are getting excuses for non-attendance, chances are your staff feels your meetings are a waste of their time.)
Do not change the meeting day or time for any reason. Changing the meeting sends a signal that sales meetings are not important, and shows a lack of respect for your staff’s time.
- Do keep meetings as short as possible.
Do not try to cover too many topics at one meeting.
- Do hold morning meetings. Research has proven the human mind is much more receptive, and retention levels are higher, in the morning.
Do not always hold meetings on premises. Off-site locations can add excitement and impetus to special meetings.
- Do lighten up. Have surprise visits by Santa at a Christmas sales meeting, or have coffee and birthday cake if a member is celebrating a birthday.
Do not limit attendance to “sales” people. Everyone who has customer contact, from the receptionist to the accounts receivable clerk, should be invited when the agenda covers topics relevant to them.
Properly planned and executed meetings can be one of your most effective management and communications tools.
The litmus test is to ask your staff how they feel about sales meetings. If they say you have too many or they are too long, or if they are in the 89 percent who think meetings are usually a waste of time, yours probably are!
Wayne Ens is the producer of the SoundADvice radio e-marketing system. He can be reached at [email protected]