Let’s face it, sales meetings are the worst
After a sales meeting, there's a spike in business, so you celebrate! Over the next two weeks, you notice the numbers begin to slip. By the third week, there is no evidence there was ever a sales meeting at all.
Sales meetings are like fruit. They're good at first and gradually they rot.
Let’s face it, sales meetings are the worst.
Boring, redundant and everyone has a bad attitude about being at work an hour early. Adding insult to injury, these meetings are often lead by a rep who would starve if he had to survive on a retail floor.
Why do we put our sales team through this? Is it really our only option?
If you want to have more effective sales that have a longer shelf life, consider these three principles when planning your next meeting:
1) You set standards, they set goals
It’s your company and you are responsible for its success (or failure). There must be a standard and it must be YOU who sets it. However, allowing your team to have a voice in setting goals is a whole other matter.
For instance, if you want your company to have 4% of total sales volume in Product Protection, you have to set that standard. But, if you want to actually reach that number, you’re going to need your sales team to accept it as a possibility.
Frank Blake (former CEO of Home Depot) has an equation for the effectiveness of his leadership (Q X A = E)
Quality X Acceptance = Effectiveness
Blake rightly believes no matter the quality of your product, program, idea or company, if you don't have the acceptance of your team, it will never be effective.
Once you set a standard for your business, make sure you are giving your people an opportunity to accept it.
Example: You may individually ask your team members, “The company standard is 4% for our product protection category, how can you help us reach that goal? Do you think you can do more than 4%?
(If they answer yes) “How can I support your efforts?"
(If the answer is no) "What barriers do you perceive and how can I help you take those barriers away?"
Allowing your team to have a voice in goal setting will give you the acceptance to make your quality ideas, products, and programs effective in serving your customers and creating profit for your company.
2) Give questions, not answers
When I come up with an idea, I usually think it's pretty great. Why wouldn’t I? I came up with it. Don’t pretend to be above it, you like your ideas just as much I like mine. That's the point, everyone likes their own ideas.
Our first reaction when we hear someone else's idea is usually, “Do I agree with that?”
If people favor their own ideas over someone else's, wouldn’t it be reasonable that we would get more cooperation if we helped them have their own ideas about what we would like them to do?
Instead of standing up in a sales meeting and telling your team what they should do, try asking questions and encouraging group discussion. Again, you set the standard, but allow them a voice in the execution. Come to consensus and move on.
A sales team that understands and agrees with what their company stands for is always more successful than the company that lacks acceptance from its team.
3) Value Cooperation Over Compliance
“Because I said so”, doesn’t work with anyone of any age. Ever.
Compliance happens when your employee does what you ask when you are watching. Cooperation happens when your employee feels like less of an employee and more of a valued team member. That’s why personal finance guru, Dave Ramsey refers to his people as team members instead of employees.
Like Dave says in his book, EntreLeadership,
“Employees come to work late, leave early and steal while they are there. You don’t want employees, you want team members.”
Who wouldn’t want a cooperative team that accepts the standards and produces effective results?
Your results are a reflection of the "A" in the effectiveness equation. If you have a quality company, product, and process and you still aren't getting the effectiveness you desire, take a hard look at the acceptance of your people. Odds are, they don't need another sales meeting, they need a better relationship with you.
Steve Lowsky, President/CEO of Middle Market Strategies on what makes a company great now