I have attended some terrible sales meetings. They were disorganized, ran way past schedule, and provided me with little information. What was worse, I had to stay awake during these meetings or face the wrath of my supervisor.
A recent survey of sales people by JustSell.com asked, “What’s the worst thing about meetings?” The most common responses were:
- No clear purpose or objective
- Not organized. No agenda
- Too long
- Boring. Nothing new or interesting
- Not inspiring or motivating
- Doesn’t start on time, stay on track or finish on time
- Lack of interaction
- Allowing attendees to ramble and repeat the same comments and thoughts
- Weak presenter
- Repeating information for late arrivals
- No specific action items or walk-away points.
Sales meetings are important, and can be very effective. If you have a meeting scheduled, then you must do your homework and prepare. If you do not have the time to prepare, cancel the meeting. Both you and your sales representatives have better things to do than attend a bad meeting.
So, how do you prepare? Here are some suggestions:
- Make sure you have a clear purpose and objective for the meeting. Have a clear understanding of the information or training you are presenting.
- Prepare an agenda for the meeting, and send it to the participants in advanced, so they can prepare.
- Start the meeting on time. Make sure that everyone understands they must be at the meeting on schedule. (I have seen some managers fine late comers)
- Have a Sargent at Arms to help keep order, and if you have a break, make sure that everyone comes back into the meeting at the end of the break.
- If you meet for more than two hours, make sure you have a break.
- Attempt to change the activity every half hour. If you have a presentation, keep it to 30 minutes. If you have an activity, keep it to 30 minutes. Change up the agenda. I suggest an opening presentation, then some type of exercise or activity, then another presentation. Adults need a change every thirty minutes, or they begin to lose focus.
- If you are running the meeting, politely cut-off ramblers, and repeaters. Keep the meeting on schedule and focused
- Do let everyone participate
- End the meeting on time as scheduled
If you follow these suggestions, your meetings will be productive, instructive and worth while.