To improve sales results, here’s one weekly habit to adopt

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The keys to managing and growing a successful, thriving benefits practice depend on some important habits — and questions to ask.

Here are a few: Do you currently conduct a weekly sales meeting? Why not? Are you inadvertently conveying that sales are not important to the growth of your business? Is that the kind of message you want to convey?

Some of you are saying, I know that I need to do that, but I’m so busy. It’s hard to fit that sales meeting in when there is so much else to accomplish. Re-read that and listen to how hollow an excuse that is. You need to make conducting effective sales meetings a significant priority.

To optimize your firm’s sales results, one habit should be running successful sales meetings. It’s your opportunity to educate, motivate and congratulate members of your organization. This activity needs 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 suggest that your weekly sales meeting be held on Mondays. By all means, avoid Fridays. It makes no sense to get your team highly motivated, only to send them home to enjoy a relaxing weekend.

Who should attend your weekly sales meeting? 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 lifeblood 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. They are uniquely qualified 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.

When should you begin planning your weekly sales meeting? Your planning should start several days in advance, preferably on the Friday before to allow yourself time to organize your thoughts and to develop your meeting content. By noon on Friday, you should in theory know the sales results your firm 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 sales success stories that can be shared with all your team members. Ask a team member to be prepared to share their case study and to provide details about their success. Praise in public; criticize in private. Right? So keep your meetings positive and constructive.

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

· Give an upbeat welcome
· Announce the prior week’s team sales results, including new accounts sold, seminars held and networking events attended
· Give recognition to any particularly noteworthy team accomplishments
· Recognize individual sales results
· Share sales success stories
· Provide product or regulatory updates

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. And your segment where you address new sales ideas, case studies and strategies for success, should be the highlight of each meeting.

During your meeting, consider talking about the following topics:

· Prospecting techniques
· Cross-selling strategies
· 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

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 goals and accomplishments. Over time, it will translate to increased productivity, new clients 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 share your best sales management ideas and strategies. Soon you will be reaping the rewards of your efforts.

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