Is your company still holding 3-hour sales meetings?
How quaint! How antiquated! How anachronistic!
We have all sat in three-hour sales meetings that painstakingly go through reams of data, dozens if not hundreds of prospects and countless slides outlining all the things everyone around the table hasn’t done. Some of us remember guessing how many people would fall asleep before the end. At least there was always a chance to catch up on your emails…but this was all pre-BC (before Covid).
Covid has Changed Meetings
Unless you have been living in covid-free Samoa, your world has changed drastically within the last couple of years. These changes have not only affected our personal lives (in often tragic ways) they have also impacted our professional lives. In particular, meetings have changed:
- Meetings were and often still are held via video conferencing.
- They were shorter, punchier and more focused on outcomes.
- Meetings were more frequent with each containing fewer but stronger short term action points.
Business priorities have also shifted since the onslaught of Covid-19:
- Winning new revenue outranks almost anything as the current top priority for businesses.
- Teams need focus, motivation and clear direction now more than ever.
Many of these changes were driven by necessity rather than strategy. However it is essential now that much of that necessity has past we don’t slip back into previous bad habits. Take note of what worked and what didn’t and make a conscious effort to embed positive change for the future.
What does that mean for your Sales Meetings?
Your sales meetings need to change to adapt to this changing environment. They need to be shorter, more efficient and more productive. But how do you do this? Take a look at the following practical changes you can start implementing today.
- Less Information: whatever data you normally include, halve it, then halve it again. Stick to essentials, if in doubt, leave it out.
- Pre-reading: Distribute well-written, accurately interpreted sales updates in a format that is easy to read and highlights key points.
- Replace the Agenda with Questions: Instead of an agenda send out a list of question and insist attendees arrive with answers.
- A Single Point of Focus: Give your meeting a single message, a single point of emphasis and a single course of action.
- Keep it Brief: Plan your meetings well so you can complete them quickly and get your sales team back to work faster.
- Motivate: Sales meetings are not a data transfer activity. Don’t over-complicate them. Make your meetings participative and enjoyable so your sales team leave the meeting feeling motivated and with a renewed sense of direction.
How should you plan your Sales Meetings?
A short, simple and effective sales meeting actually takes more planning than the long data-driven bore that we have all come to know and love. When planning your next sales meeting it is helpful to examine the following factors: Aim, Attitude, Facts and Timing (A.A.F.T.).
- Aim: What is the single most important outcome you want from this meeting. Focus everything towards that. If it is to get more closes, push on that, if it is finding new prospects, make that your focus. Have a single aim – and go for it!
- Attitude: How do you want attendees to feel? Motivated, confident, clear on the outcomes needed, excited, engaged, involved, important? Whatever it is, you need to design the meeting around this attitude and deliver it in a style and manner to achieve that.
- Facts: Ask yourself what information is really necessary to achieve the aim and attitude as stated above? Be minimalist. Make every piece of information tell a story and point your audience in one single direction.
- Timing: How can you make it shorter and punchier? Over the next 3 months should your monthly meetings be quick 30-minute motivating meetings every week, or every fortnight? Your meetings need to be varied, enticing, intriguing and above all, planned to bounce between input and discussion, you talking and them talking, serious points and a bit of fun. Keep it tight!