April 2012 | Click links (>>) below to read articles

  • Ten Suggestions For More Dynamic Sales Meetings by Jonathan Farrington >>
  • Are Your Salespeople Making Bad Sales Calls? by Brian Jeffrey, CSP >>


Ten Suggestions For More Dynamic Sales Meetings
by Jonathan Farrington


Suggestion 1:
Insist on punctuality, for there is nothing which detracts from a meeting so much as people coming in late with lame excuses or returning late from a coffee break. Not only is this disruptive for the meeting but it is bad for group discipline as well and each time a manager allows this, they relinquish a little leadership capacity. Start the meeting on time to the minute. Do not wait for late arrivals and whatever you do, do not be late yourself.

Suggestion 2:
Begin the meeting in the way you plan to carry on throughout - with a friendly smile and a dynamic greeting, do not commence in a flat uninspired monotone. Be informal, relax and encourage team members to do likewise. Do remember that a sales meeting is one of those few occasions where you can provide “collective motivation” so you need to be at your inspiring best.

Suggestion 3:
Explain the objectives and always ‘sell’ the objectives by providing the team with good reasons why each item has been placed on the agenda. It is likely that you will want to discuss performance(s) since the last meeting and it is essential that you highlight success. Whatever you do never, ever, hand out criticism en bloc because that is the most morale sapping thing you can ever do. Rather deal with sub-standard performance one to one. However, do feel free to deliver collective praise in copious amounts whenever appropriate.

Suggestion 4:
Use some kind of visual aid during each session. The most common and easy to use visual aid is a PowerPoint presentation; closely followed by the flip chart which allows you to be spontaneous should you need to be – one picture really does paint a thousand words!

Suggestion 5:
Make quite sure that you achieve full agreement at the close of each session. You should aim to get full commitment from all present at the meeting, that they will definitely do what you have asked them to do. At the end of the meeting an action plan should be prepared and circulated to everyone present at the meeting. The previous meeting’s action plan should always be progressed at the meeting.

Suggestion 6:
Make sure that at least fifty per cent of the meeting is taken up with some kind of sales training. You can deliver this yourself or you might consider using specialists from outside of the company.

Suggestion 7:
Plan the amount of time you can afford to allocate to each session well before the meeting and be sure to stick to your schedule. One tip I always pass on, is to avoid the dreaded “Any other business” at the end of the meeting. In reality, if an item is worth discussing it should be a full agenda item, allowing for proper preparation.

Suggestion 8:
Encourage everyone to participate by asking for their views and opinions or by giving them presentation projects to prepare in advance of the meeting date.

Suggestion 9:
Do not do all the talking yourself. Salespeople (and most other people) hate to be lectured at. Ask questions and listen to the answers. Ask for opinions, and always question the reason for a particular opinion. Do remember generally people comprehend:

11% of what they hear.
32% of what they see.
73% of what they see & hear.
90% of what they see, hear & discuss.

Suggestion 10:
Finally, do set an example as the meeting leader. The manner in which you package yourself, your cheerfulness, your positive attitude and the way in which you have planned and conducted the meeting - all these things will be noticed by even the least perceptive of your team. Do all these things well and you will strengthen your position as the leader of the group. Do them badly and you can forget about training and developing your people, for they will take not the slightest notice of anyone who does not practice what they preach.

As with all things in life, the success of your sales meetings will depend to a large degree on the amount of planning and preparation you are able to do, so do try to consider the following:

The Timing: Best day, time of the week/month/quarter, regularity.

Location: In relation to cost, facilities and transport.

The Room: Its lighting, ventilation, heating, degree of sound proofing, layout of table, comfort of chairs, seating plan, pencils and paper, flip chart, poster paper, markers, and of course, presentation equipment

Organisation: Arrange for breaks and refreshments.

The Meeting:

Prepare the whole meeting.
Prepare the visual side
Prepare the timing

About The Author:

Jonathan Farrington is a globally recognized business coach, mentor, author, consultant, and sales strategist, who has guided hundreds of companies and thousands of individuals around the world towards optimum performance levels.

He is the CEO of Top Sales Associates, Chairman of The jf Corporation and the creator of topsalesworld.com, topsalesmanagement.com and the annual Top Sales & Marketing Awards.

Jonathan is based in London and Paris.


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Are Your Salespeople Making Bad Sales Calls?
by Brian Jeffrey, CSP

Here's a terrifying thought for you: Are bad sales calls destroying your bottom line?

I'm not talking about sales calls that went bad; that can happen to anyone. I'm talking about bad sales calls, the ones that shouldn't have been made in the first place or calls that should have been terminated before they got as bad as they got.

Some of those calls are probably being made by people who shouldn't be in sales in first place. If this is your problem, you have my sympathy because a serious housecleaning may be in order. As a sales manager, that's never a nice predicament to find yourself in.

Causes of bad calls
Here are the four major reasons for bad sales calls. I'm sure that there are others, but these are the ones I see most often.

1. Calling on bad prospects
These salespeople waste time and make bad calls to and on people who have no intention of buying. They seem to operate under the philosophy that a bad prospect is better than no prospect and it's better to be trying to sell a bad prospect than get off their duff (the lower part of the anatomy) and find a good prospect.

Compounding this problem is the fact that some salespeople have no idea of what a real prospect looks like. In their mind, if the person is breathing, he's fair game for a pitch. They figure that if they pitch enough balls, one is likely to hit the target, whatever it may be.

As a sales manager, you need to help these salespeople recognize who is—and equally as important, who isn't—a good prospect. Then you need to be sure that they take the time to qualify before they start selling, not when they're trying to close the deal.

2. Talking too much
Some people get into sales because they like people. They like meeting people and they like talking to people. In fact, they like talking period. These are the folks who wouldn't listen at all if they didn't think it was their turn to talk next. And once they get talking, it's hard to get them to stop. It's as though they don't even pause to inhale; they just keep on going and going like the Energizer Bunny.

These overly social salespeople are really nice people as a rule. It's just that they seem to think that they have two mouths and one ear instead of the other way around. They will talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime, about anything, and the anything rarely includes getting the sale.

If you've got one or more of these salespeople on your team, I've got some bad news for you. They rarely change. Their ability to gab is built in. It's inherent. You're stuck with them or at least until they move along or you move them along, usually for non-performance.

3. Not listening
A close cousin to the overly social salespeople are the ones that don't listen. It's as though they didn't have any ears at all. It doesn't seem to matter what the prospect tells them, these salespeople carry on trying to sell whatever it is they sell without much regard to what the prospect wants.

For whatever reason, you'll find a lot of these people making telephone solicitations. I still try to be polite when these people call and interrupt my meal, my tranquility, or whatever, so when I say, "Thank you, but I'm not interested," I expect them to hear what I said and terminate the call, equally as politely. There is a big difference between being persistent and being a pest and after the third, "I'm not interested," I have been known to resort to asking, "Which part of I'm not interested didn't you understand?" before terminating the call.

Companies who employ this type of salesperson and use these sales techniques stand a strong chance of alienating and annoying their prospects. Here's a gem of wisdom for these companies — annoyed prospects don't buy from you, not ever. In fact, many will go out of their way to buy elsewhere.

4. Turning off the prospect
Some salespeople just don't get it. They don't grasp the concept that people buy from people they know, people they like, and people they trust. Consequently, they make no effort to build rapport with the prospect before trying to extricate money from the prospect's wallet.

These are the guys and gals who have commission breath and the prospect can smell it at forty paces. Everything these salespeople do smacks of trying to make a sale. They seem to think that selling involves verbally arm-wrestling with the prospect until the other person cries "uncle" and gives in and buys.

Like the salespeople who won't listen, these people can perform but at what cost to you and your company's reputation?

If you've got one of these people on your team, take heart; they can often be molded into a professional with the proper care and feeding. Your best bet, however, is to avoid hiring them in the first place.

What can you do?
Get out of your office from time to time and make calls with your salespeople or sit with them when they are making telephone calls. Simply observe and resist the temptation to play a major part in the call. If it's a bad call, let it go. Talk with your salesperson after the call is over and use the event as a learning experience.

Help your people learn and grow because every sale these salespeople don't make because of their bad calls impacts directly on your bottom line.

The bottom line is — you need to protect your bottom line.

Until next time…

About The Author:

Brian Jeffrey has over 40 years experience in sales, sales management, sales training, and business consulting. He is the co-founder and past president of SalesForce Training & Consulting Inc, as well as Salesforce Assessments Ltd. Having sold both those companies, his focus is now on sharing his over 40 years of sales and sales management experience with companies and individuals who want help managing their sales.

In addition to running his own sales management consulting businesses, Brian is the author of 18 ebooks and over 100 articles on sales and sales management. He is also the author of the “5-Minute Sales Trainer” and “The SalesWizard’s Secrets of Sales Management” (now out of print).

Visit his website at: http://www.quintarra.com/

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