That time is fast approaching once again. It’s time to gather the troops for your next annual sales meeting. Most assuredly, your next annual sales conference will include the obligatory updates about products and the on-going marketing programs. However, there is a profound question that should be asked before the sales meeting agenda is created… “What do your salespeople truly want from your next sales meeting?”
Over the past couple of weeks alone I have interviewed a hundred top salespeople as part of my preparation for the keynote presentation I will give at their company’s sales kickoff. Based upon these discussions, here’s what the Heavy Hitters want from their next sales meeting.
The Latest, Greatest Sales Techniques. Salespeople don’t want to be continually reminded about the sales basics they already know. The best salespeople, the most respected salespeople, always tell me they want to learn something new about their profession of sales. They understand the process of selling and they’re tired of hearing about what they mastered a long time ago. They want to hear about the latest developments in the field of sales. That’s why I recommend sessions on recent sales psychology studies, the human nature of group decision-making, and sales neurolinguistics (the study of how the customer’s mind uses and interprets language). These subjects are not only fascinating, but also contribute to the continued success and personal growth of senior salespeople.
Renewed Mental Motivation. Let’s face it. These are extremely difficult days to be in sales. There’s a tremendous amount of doom and gloom compounded with anxious uncertainty out there. I know of several companies who have cancelled their annual sales meetings. This is a huge mistake because one of the most important aspects of every sales meeting is the care and feeding of the team’s mental health. This rejuvenation doesn’t come from a rah-rah let’s go get em’ speech. Rather, it’s the reassurance of knowing that you are not alone in your struggles and a certain amount of commiseration among colleagues is actually healthy. Don’t be confused. I am not suggesting you throw a pity party. However, the reality is that not everyone is going to make their quota during this recession (and this includes some of your best salespeople too). So, the goal should be to help defeat two of the salespeople’s’ worst enemies: depression and self-doubt. Most importantly, it’s imperative that your executive leaderships’ state of the union presentations lay out the future strategy and plans to deal with these challenging times in calm, cool, realistic terms.
Salesperson Success Stories. This is extremely important! While the marketing department goes to great lengths to provide customer success stories, salespeople want to learn about the where, why, and how their colleagues won key deals. The format of these sessions is key. I strongly recommend that salespeople are interviewed about their wins in a panel setting by an expert moderator. While this requires a great deal of preparation to be successful, it is the most critical part of the entire meeting.
FUN!!! Life’s too short not to have fun and some self-deprecating humor should always be on the agenda. Put together a funny satirical video about a fictitious sales call. Assemble a rock band that can belt out some of the greatest hits from the 80’s. Create a skit about a TV show like Donald Trump’s The Apprentice or play Jeopardy using questions about your products and company and attendees as contestants. Show that you don’t take yourself too seriously, have fun wherever you can, and always make sure there’s a great cocktail reception at the end of day!