Sales Training

This page is a database of articles and downloadable white papers on many different aspects of sales training. You can search for any particular topic (e.g. "cold-calling") by typing it into the search box above the list of contents to the right. If you use the productivity tools in Connect (Calendar, Contacts, Workshop, Dashboard) you can use your dashboard results to see which areas of selling you have the most weak spots and then come to this page to find training resources to help you improve.

12 Steps To An Effective Sales Meeting

We've all found ourselves in a sales meeting at 8am on a Monday morning that is little more than lackluster. Sadly this happens more often than not. We all know what a sap bad meetings can be, not only on time and energy, but also on the interest and interaction that a beneficial meeting is supposed to deliver.

However, good sales meeting practice, in both preparation and implementation, is a skill in which we can gain knowledge. For any sales manager in charge of a radio station’s weekly sales gathering, it's necessary to know the specific challenges that can destroy meetings and what to do about the management of these issues.

Punctuality: “Time is money” they say, but effective use of time is also about creating team discipline(s), respect for others, and focus. Sales meetings should always start on time even if some AE’s aren’t present (they will get the drift eventually), and never run over appointed end times. Set some policies and stick with them.

What’s the point? The meeting that goes nowhere is the meeting that takes us nowhere. Get an agenda, write it down and follow it. Be specific in the detail of your agenda, being vague about your determinations is as bad as having no point at all.

The flat earth society: Meetings that seem well executed may not foster imaginative, proactive and productive contribution. Encourage input from your sales team; they are at the coalface, so listen. Learn. It is important that a manager lead and facilitate the process and not be the process. Worse though are the flat earth-society who are fast to pass judgment on an idea before they have had a chance to hear it from beginning to end and give it due thought.

Relevance: Make sure the issues listed in your sales meeting agenda need to be discussed in the meeting. Can some of these items be handled via e-mail, phone calls, or private meetings with individual AE’s?

Direction: Singular focus on the most important components of any meeting helps ensure time-efficient and productive discussion. Create a to-do list, lay out key matters and keep the conversations focused on the issues at hand.

Verbal Diarrhea: Insist that your sales staff do not go off on a tangent when answering questions or discussing a point, but keep to the matter at hand, and deliver responses within a realistic time period.

Only One: Only one person should speak at a time. It is senseless, disrespectful, and confusing if everyone is talking at once.

If you’re the Manager, manage: Great sales meetings are created by good leaders. In general, try to be gentle. For example, prompt someone that they are ‘dragging on’ rather than just cutting them off, however don't be shy about enforcing time constraints either. A good idea is to rotate meeting facilitation amongst sales team members rather than controlling every meeting. New blood brings new ideas, and new enthusiasm.

Brainstorm: Don't just discuss sales quotas, targets, projections, and ‘could’da been big ones’. These are dull and unproductive issues for most. If you must discuss data then break it down, according to project, product, geographic region, industry, season, and event particulars. Ask an AE who needs help with a particular advertiser to bring the client file to the meeting. Invite open brainstorming to solve the prospective client’s problem. Have the AE report outcomes at your next gathering.

Prioritize: Important things first and lesser things last. If it happens that time is running out and the meeting must end as due, then the lesser issues can be carried to the next meeting.

It’s not concrete: Good meetings will nurture issues not originally on your list of items to discuss. If new ideas come up, explore and embrace them, but remember your time constraints and don’t forget your priorities.

Be effective: This is important for everyone in the meeting, not just the person in charge. Encourage positive response that, in turn, cultivates participation. Rather than saying, "That idea sucks!" consider, "I’m not excited yet, but tell me more." Diplomacy lets others know where you stand but doesn't dampen creativity or put people down, making for a more vital meeting.
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