By Josiane Feigon
Salespeople know that every second spent away from sales-related activities impacts their ability to meet their revenue targets. You can’t just stumble into your next team meeting unprepared. At the same time, you should not think that meetings ought to give everyone a “Kumbaya” feeling, when everyone gets together to share success stories and daily challenges.
Good salespeople are good because they are productive and focused on quota attainment. When their daily activity is interrupted by needless, dull, and long meetings, they shut down. (As I explain in this video below, recently one manager told me he tries to keep his sales meetings “under two hours.” Two hours is way too long!)
Here’s the deal: call a team meeting only when you have something really important to say. Otherwise, just email your team and call it a day. Used wisely, team meetings can be a source of enormous influence for managers. Talent 2.0 is all about group dynamics, career advancement, acknowledgment, and breaking news updates. Use your meetings to send a unified message, make a statement, set the tone, and deliver your message loud and clear. Here are a few tips:
1) Start strong, stay strong.
YOU are in control of your sales meeting – and all eyes are on you. Your role is to facilitate healthy dialogue, inform your team, present new ideas, and encourage buy-in from team members. It all starts with you. Be prepared; don’t wing it.
2) Own your meeting space.
Remember, you own that conference room for the duration of your meeting. Don’t let anyone kick you out, and don’t get pushed out if the room is double booked. Just say, “Mine,” and use the room for whatever time you have in it.
3) Watch your body language.
Body language, or nonverbal communication, can speak much louder than words. It can make you look uncomfortable, stressed, distant, stiff, or stale. No matter what you say and what you want your meeting attendees to do, your body language may be screaming, “I’m outta here!”
4) Let your tone set the mood.
The last thing you want to be is boring. If your tone is too serious, you can throw your team members into the panic zone and prevent them from hearing what you’re saying. If your tone is too light, they might not take you seriously.
5) Make it all about the meeting agenda.
The more organized your agenda, the better your chances of creating a healthy discussion and getting your people to talk. Distribute an agenda in advance so that your team comes prepared, and ask team members to vote on a few ideas to help prioritize the flow. The more you can educate and reinforce concepts in your discussions, the more you demonstrate the desired behavior, the more it will all sink in.
6) Create cohesive team dynamics.
The life force of a team is so much stronger than each individual. The more you value your team members’ worth, the more they will outperform your expectations. Lift them up and hold high standards when it comes to creating a cohesive team dynamic.
7) Ask compelling questions.
“Any questions?” Forget asking that. Questioning and qualifying sits at the heart of your team’s sales effort, so you must model master questioning skills. The more compelling the questions you ask, the more you will encourage richer discussion and exchange of ideas. Ask open-ended questions but stay away from broad questions that require reflective contemplation.
8) Listen from the observation deck.
“Let me stop you right there – I know where you’re going on this one.” This manager just turned off the brains and ears of every rep in the room. If you want to build trust and commitment, you need to listen to what they say.
9) Set late penalties that sting.
“If you can’t make the meeting on time, the door will be closed and you can’t come in.”
Don’t you wish you could say that? You probably do, but it’s actually not the best strategy. Instead, try preventing tardiness by setting the ground rule: Be on time. It’s definitely not OK to roll in five or 10 minutes after the meeting starts with an excuse about not being able to end a call. Make sure everyone knows the ground rules beforehand so they have no excuses.
10) Invite compelling speakers.
Guest speakers should empower your team members, not bore them or make them angry, so choose carefully. If they don’t like the speaker, or if the speaker is boring or off track, it will reflect poorly on you. A great speaker shares power with you and helps you glow. Make sure that your invited speakers understand your group’s charter and knows your group’s world. Ask them to keep their remarks short and focused on benefits. You can help ensure this by giving speakers a seven-minute time limit to help them organize their presentation.
11) Close with energy!
“Alrighty, it’s time to end our meeting.” Look down at your laptop, put your papers in order… Wrong move. No matter how good your meeting is, if you don’t close with positive energy, you will inevitably lose some of the enthusiasm you worked hard to generate. Participants should leave the room with more focus, enthusiasm, and understanding than when they came in.
What do you think of these tips? Share your thoughts in the comments section.