Both sales team meetings and meetings with clients can feel like a drain on productivity, especially when team members arrive late, engage in idle chatter, or prove themselves unprepared. Executives spend as much as a third of their working week in meetings, and having a bad meeting can waste a substantial amount of time. Meetings don’t have to be such a drain, though. These meeting tips will help new and experienced managers alike lead their sales teams to greater efficiency, better communication, and overall sales improvements.
Tips for Meetings with Teams
Most sales teams meet at least once a week to discuss ongoing issues in the sales department, requests from other departments, and otherwise organize. These tips can help make a weekly sales meeting less of a chore and improve the efficiency of the team afterward.
- Don’t make attending feel like a chore. Little things, such as coffee and donuts, can go a long way toward making a meeting feel less miserable. In small teams, going around the table and retelling one triumph from the time since the last similar meeting can also help team members get energized. These do come at the cost of a little time, but positive, enthusiastic team members are less likely to engage in side conversations or otherwise drain time later on during the meeting.
- Try shortening the meeting. Meetings, like a gas, will expand to fill all available space. If a weekly meeting consistently drags on or gets bogged down, try cutting the scheduled time by half for a week. Though some teams will always try to kill time rather than work in a meeting, many managers find that making a meeting shorter markedly improves its efficiency, and in turn frees salespeople up to do their jobs for more of the rest of the day.
- Start on time. Sticking to a schedule seems obvious, but many managers let people filter in and start late. Making sure to start at the same time, on the dot, every week, however, will get the team into much better habits and encourage more attention during the meeting. Some people will be embarrassed at having arrived late while someone was talking and start improving their attendance in subsequent weeks.
- Prepare for the meeting. Spend time each week going over the agenda. Have something valuable to say about each topic, and if there’s a topic that doesn’t pertain to more than four out of five attendees, cut the topic. Individual business should be carried out in smaller, individual conversations. Time spent in a meeting is time salespeople aren’t selling.
Tips for Meetings with Clients
Meetings with clients, such as pitch meetings and feedback meetings, have some things in common with weekly team meetings, but have some needs of their own as well. These tips can help in the specific realm of meetings with those your business serves.
- Do as much research as possible ahead of time. Review the client’s online presence, if applicable, and gather all the information necessary to a successful pitch beforehand. Asking questions with seemingly-obvious answers wastes time and effort that could be spent making the sale, and some clients will take offense. If necessary, take notes or use CRM software to organize the information before meeting with the client, whether the client is an individual, small business, or large firm.
- Turn your phone off. There are few to no good reasons to have a phone on during a face-to-face meeting with a client, whether it’s for a pitch or a different discussion entirely. Opportunities for distraction abound, and clients will almost certainly be upset at a representative who takes a phone call during a meeting.
- Take notes. Even if your memory is strong, things will slip through the cracks. Though this can help bring out the potential of weekly team meetings as well, it is essential during meetings with clients. There will be more opportunities to contact other members of the sales team, whereas there may not be a second chance with some clients. Notes will improve follow-through on any task.
Other Special Tips?
Put these tips into practice and both types of meetings should go much more smoothly in the future. Have you made a change to your meeting format that improved team efficiency and reduced burnout? Do you have a meeting pet peeve to share? Let us know your stories in the comments.