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Creating Killer Sales Meetings


Posted on March 12, 2007

By Warren Greshes, CPAE

As someone who has been a keynote speaker at sales meetings on a local, regional, national and international level for twenty-one years, I am aware of the challenges faced by meeting professionals in planning and delivering a sales meeting that your audience will still be talking about by the time the next meeting rolls around.

It’s not just a matter of finding the best venue that fits the budget, coming up with activities that everyone will enjoy, or picking the right presenters and speakers.  To me, a big key to pulling off a memorable sales meeting, is the meeting planner’s ability to pick topics, themes and subject matter that meets the audience’s needs, while also hitting on the biggest issues and obstacles they face on an everyday basis.

If you really want to know what an audience of salespeople wants and needs, act like a salesperson and treat them as a client, because, after all, your audience is your client. 

Talk to them; find out what they do, how they do it and who they do it to.  You could send out surveys and questionnaires, but remember: these are salespeople.  The biggest reason they became salespeople was; they didn’t like to do homework in school and paperwork is not their favorite thing. 

The chances of you getting back a sufficient number of surveys and questionnaires are not very good.  Make the survey a part of your research mix, but also add some “High-touch.”  Here are three more things you can do to get the information you need to put on that killer sales meeting.

• Spend a day with a salesperson.  Go out with one of your salespeople on their sales calls for a day.  This will give you a tremendous feel, understanding and appreciation for what they do.  You’ll share the highs and the lows salespeople encounter on a daily basis.  See the emotional side of selling and find out how personal rejection can be.
• Spend a day with a Sales Manager.  As opposed to salespeople, being a good sales manager requires an entirely different set of skills.  What better way to understand those differences than to spend a day with a sales manager.  Pay attention to the interaction between the salesperson and sales manager.  Pick the sales manager’s brain about the strengths and weaknesses of his or her sales force.
• Attend a local sales meeting.  Most local, district or regional sales managers hold weekly or monthly meetings with their 5 to 10 salespeople.  Attend one or two of these meetings.  Listen for the issues that seem to be the most important.  These meetings can also be a good place to find in-house speakers.

None of these suggestions will be difficult to implement and I’ll guarantee the sales force will be impressed with your commitment to making their sales meeting memorable.         

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Comments

Rob Carey

Warren,

These are very good ideas. I always hear about how marketing departments go into the homes of consumers to observe their behavior, to learn how they use the target product in relation to other products, what other tasks they are doing around the time they use the product, etc. It gives the marketers ideas they could never come up with by sitting behind their desks.
Perhaps planners could go with a sales manager on sales calls, or see how they travel and what their habits are on the road, how they use their technology to keep in touch with others, etc.
Besides better understanding his or her attendees, planners would become more strategic to the company as well.

Sales Meeting

You hit some critical points. I would also talk with people who are in contact with salespeople on a daily basis to get an outside perspective. When you are with salespeople they may be putting on their best face. Others that deal with them on a daily basis will offer a different perspective. Don't be too judgemental though. People who are not in sales do not comprehend the pressure that sales people feel everyday so they may not understand why the sales people are so demanding. You just have to strike the right balance.

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