Salespeople are generally gregarious and enjoy any type of meeting. However, many sales meetings don't offer the value reps are looking for--they fail to give attendees what they want and need to do their jobs effectively.
To make sure you maximize your next meeting, consider these five things every salesperson in attendance will hope to get.
1. More money
The rep's No. 1 desire going into a sales meeting is to learn something that will increase his or her income. Every meeting should reserve time to focus on this point at least once, and you could even make income-boosting the overall theme of many meetings. Look for fresh ways to show your salespeople how to make more money (and, of course, increase the company's sales in the process). For example, you could have successful reps describe to the group how they closed a big account and explain the specific techniques they used.
2. Straight talk
Salespeople work in the real world of success and failure, and they have little opportunity to succeed if you withhold the whole truth on important topics. In every sales meeting, you have to make sure you're giving them straight talk. For example, if there are problems with products or programs, disclose that to the sales team fully. You don't want them blindsided by customers later on just because you were afraid to give them the bad news. (And if you do have bad news to give in a sales meeting, the best policy is to get it out of the way first rather than saving it for the end.)
3. No wasted time!
Salespeople tend to be active and energetic. They don't like sitting for long periods of time, and they hate wasting time. Surveys have shown, in fact, that not wasting time is one of the key considerations of salespeople. To address this desire, keep the meeting's agenda focused on the critical issues and move from one topic to the next without delay.
4. Time to socialize with colleagues
At the beginning of this piece, I made the generalization that salespeople are gregarious by nature--and truly, most of them are. They enjoy meeting new people and sharing success stories and sales tips with one another. Work with this by setting aside time for socialization in and around the meeting. You can build in free time for them to visit, or you can structure the program to include team-building exercises and sharing of success stories.
Everyone thrives on recognition and rewards, and salespeople are no different. Regardless of the type of sales meeting you're holding, always include some form of acknowledgment for a job well done. This serves two primary purposes: First, it honors the recipient, which is also good for overall morale. Second, it sends the message that the boss is active in the business and aware of individual performance, both good and bad.
If you keep these five points in mind, your sales meetings will empower your salespeople, not bore and demotivate them. And, as all leaders know, an engaged and motivated sales force is a powerful competitive advantage.