Concise and consistent meetings can boost sales

score Question: Should I have sales meetings? If so, how whould they be structures?

Answer: If you are an owner/salesperson, investing an hour a week in a sales meeting with yourself could give you a tremendous return over time. And if others sell for you, meetings are essential toprovide growth and long-term success.

Think of a sales meeting as a kind of huddle where the quarterback calls the next play which gives everyone their assignment, compliments the receiver on a good catch, and motivates the team to win. Can you imagine a football team not having huddles? What happens when the quarterback doesn't provide the leadership?

Over the years I have led, or participated in good and awful sales meetings. To have a good, or great one, spend the first 30 minutes on a topic that's applicable to your sales people that week. Talk about issues such as how to create a sense of urgency, how to handle a specific sales objection, or how to best use a presentation on a new product or service.

In the second half of the meeting, focus on the numbers. Challenge your salespeople to talk through their strategies on the sales opportunities they have coming up. Encourage success stories, try to make the meeting enjoyable.

It takes time to develop a culture that learns to depend on sales meetings. Give your self a couple of months to perfect a winning system. But keep them consistent, or they'll never work. Our sales meetings evolved into the highl ight of the week, but it took time to create that value.

Here are some tips that could help you organize your sales meetings:

  • Meet the same place and same time. Don't call a meeting only when you feel as if you want or need one. Have at least one meeting each week at a scheduled time. The best days are Monday and Tuesday during non-peak selling hours.
  • Keep it short. Meetings that go beyond an hour become much less productive.
  • have a purpose and stick to it. The bottom line is a sales meeting should be wither a "Show me the money" or "Where's the money?"

Find out how many appointments you or your salespeople have and whether they can handle more. What jobs are going to close this week? What are the odds of really closing those jobs? What, if any, are the impediments to closing on those jobs?

How important are these orders to meeting individual goals?

By asking what percentage of orders actually close, you get to know the capabilities of every member of your salse force. You can also get a sense of how accurately your salespeople are able to forecast. Asking them how important the sale is to meeting their sales goal helps them prioritize their time and energies.

Your responsibility is to make sure your team gets the job done. If you go with the salesperson on the critical jobs, it increase the odds of making it a record-breaking week.

Bill Bryan is a counselor with the Service Corps of Retired Executives. SCORE offers counseling, workshops and seminars on small business operations. You can reach Bryan through SCORE, 515 N Court St. 815-962-0122, for information and appointments.

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