A step-by-step guide to conducting effective sales meetings

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Managing and growing a successful, thriving benefits practice requires sales management discipline. If you don’t conduct a weekly sales meeting with your team, you are inadvertently conveying that sales are not important to the vibrant growth of your business. Is that the kind of message you want to convey?

Often, advisers will say it’s hard to fit in that hour-long meeting in when there is so much else to accomplish, but this is a hollow excuse. Many hold sales meetings once a month. That’s certainly better, but you need to make conducting effective sales meetings a significant priority. Do this on a consistent basis so your entire team knows the schedule without even thinking about it.

As you consider how to optimize the sales results of your team, clearly one component is running successful sales meetings. It’s your opportunity to educate, motivate, inspire and congratulate members of your organization. Each of those activities is important to the success of your business.

Sales meetings need to be an important part of your managerial focus. Bringing structure and repetition to the somewhat chaotic and random world of sales is absolutely essential. We strongly suggest that your weekly sales meeting be held on Mondays, preferably late morning or in the afternoon. By all means, avoid Fridays. It makes no sense to get your team highly motivated and pumped up, only to send them home to enjoy a relaxing weekend.

Who should attend your weekly sales meeting? Well, at a minimum, anyone with production goals and client contact. How else can you emphasize your firm’s important sales goals for the week and month, and give appropriate recognition to those whose performance is outstanding?

New sales of a variety of products and services are the life blood of your business. So, all your personnel need to hear your sales management message. Why should account management and customer service personnel attend your sales meeting? Because they have constant contact with your clients and they are the “face” of your firm to your clients. They are uniquely qualified and in a position to know about existing coverage gaps and cross-sell opportunities. You want everyone thinking about the additional solutions that you can provide to every client that they interact with on a regular basis.

Advance planning
Your planning for the weekly meeting should start several days in advance, preferably on the Friday before to allow yourself time to organize your thoughts and to select the content you want to convey.

By noon on Friday, you should know the sales results members of your team had for the current week. You should know those results by individual and for the organization as a whole. In addition, you may know about particular anecdotes or sales success stories that can be shared with all your team members.

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If appropriate, ask a team member to be prepared to share their sales success story and to provide detail about the sales approach and process. Remember your goal is to educate and motivate. Praise in public; criticize in private. Right? So keep your meetings positive, upbeat, and constructive.

You might consider the following format for your weekly sales meeting:

  • Upbeat welcome
  • Announce the prior week’s team sales results, including new accounts sold, current clients retained, seminars held, networking events attended, etc.
  • Give recognition to any particularly noteworthy team accomplishments
  • Recognize noteworthy individual sales results
  • Sharing sales success stories
  • Administrative announcements
  • Product or regulatory updates
  • Key account announcements or activation updates
  • Sales education content focused on: prospecting techniques, handling objections, closing techniques, developing centers of influence and referral sources, case studies, etc.
  • Sales contest or recognition program results/standings
  • Closing remarks

Try to have a consistent format to your weekly sales meetings so that you address the same topics each week. The repetition will reinforce what you consider to be most important. Obviously the specifics will vary, but the same topics should be reinforced. And your segment where you address new sales ideas, case studies and strategies for success, should be the highlight of each meeting. And it’s not a bad idea to devote several meetings to the same topic to reinforce its importance, and for the activities that you advocate to become a constructive work habit. In other words, you might talk about a particular aspect of sales or marketing for 3-4 weeks, but vary the commentary and elicit success stories from your staff to re-inforce how this can and is being successful for those that apply the strategies.

During your sales education segment, consider talking about the following topics for instance:

  • Prospecting techniques
  • Cross-selling strategies
  • New consulting or sales approaches
  • Developing benefits strategic plans
  • Pursuing centers of influence
  • Seminar selling
  • Public speaking opportunities
  • Optimizing attendance at networking events
  • Charitable activities as potential lead generators
  • Pro-actively asking for referrals

So spend some time preparing your very best, informative and motivational content for that 20-30 minute segment. With some preparation your meetings will be informative, motivational and productive. Your staff will enjoy the creativity and the challenge of learning new approaches. And sales success will have everyone on the team feeling good about your firm’s mission, goals and track record.
Over time, it will translate to increased productivity and sales revenues. It will even positively impact your recruiting efforts. It will ultimately become the best hour of the week. Eventually, your team will be sharing their very best sales ideas since success and winning are infectious. So spread your best sales management ideas and strategies around. Soon you will be reaping the rewards of your efforts.

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