InTents April/May 2023 - 36

business | tips and techniques
Tips to improve engagement
at sales meetings
By Jason Bader
A
t some point, as sales organizations,
we need talk about how all this selling
is going. In a recent group discussion with
some sales managers, we had a healthy
discussion about engagement and how to
make these gatherings more productive.
Salespeople, by their very nature, tend
to be independent free spirits. Forcing
them to stay seated for an hour or more
while the management drones on about
company performance and what they
should be focusing on will never gel
with their personalities. This is the rub.
Management wants to corral them and
the team would rather be doing anything
else with the time allotted. So, how do
we get salespeople to see value in a sales
meeting? How do both sides, management
and sales professionals, walk away feeling
that the gathering was not a colossal
waste of time? Here are some ideas to
start bringing both sides together.
Purpose
When associates are disgruntled with
management, the most common cause
is confusion about purpose. Why are we
doing something? Are the goals clear?
Probably not. If your meetings are stale
and lack engagement, it might be a good
idea to go back and revisit why you are
having them. What is the focus of the
meeting? Are we there for training? Is
the meeting going to focus on a particular
segment of the business? Are we going
to focus on financial performance?
Often, salespeople are pulled into these
gatherings with very little information
on what the ultimate goal of the meeting
36 intents april-may 2023
will be. This needs to change. How can we
expect people to engage when we don't
give them an opportunity to prepare?
Make sure to create an agenda and
distribute it well ahead of the meeting. If
you are going to talk about prospecting or
upcoming projects, give the participants
the opportunity to gather information.
People don't engage when they are
uncomfortable sharing on a topic. The
sales ego is a fragile thing. No one likes to
look stupid in front of their peers. Some of
you might be thinking, why do I need an
agenda if we talk about the same things at
each meeting? This leads me to the next
suggestion-variety.
Variety
Where is it written that all sales meetings
must follow the same format? I think
many of us have fallen into this trap and
justify it with the word " consistency. "
There is nothing wrong with consistency
as long as it doesn't lead us to professional
laziness. One of the best suggestions
that came out of my gathering of sales
managers was to vary the focus of the
meeting each week.
As an example, the first week of the
month could focus on the financials and
company performance. The second week
could focus on individual wins or challenges.
This is where we want the team to
really engage. The third week could be a
training session with a supplier rep. The
fourth week could be a discussion stemming
from an article or piece of media assigned
by the manager. I found this suggestion
fairly intriguing. One of the group

InTents April/May 2023

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of InTents April/May 2023

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