Best Way to Conduct a Sales Meeting

Every meeting should have a chairperson. This will normally be you, the sales manager. However, depending upon the purpose of the meeting, it can be advantageous to appoint one of your sales representatives to the chair. You may be pleasantly surprised to discover how well that person exercises control over his or her colleagues.

The chairperson

The role of the chairperson is to:

  • Open the meeting by defining the objectives.
  • Introduce each topic and speaker.

Conduct Sales Meeting Best Way to Conduct a Sales Meeting

  • Control the timings.
  • Ensure that questions are not hogged by one or two people.
  • Decide whether or not questions should be dealt with at the meeting or afterwards.
  • Make sure that the discussions do not drift from the point of the meeting.
  • Summarise the meeting at frequent intervals.
  • Agree all actions to be taken following the meeting.
  • Close the meeting on time, with a summary of what has taken place.

A chairperson should not

  • Dominate the discussions.
  • Be critical or judgemental of points raised.
  • Use the position to air his or her personal views.

Action plans

Most sales meetings will results in actions to be undertaken by those attending. In this case all such actions should be agreed between the parties concerned as follows:

  • The reason and objective should be clearly defined.
  • A standard should be agreed where applicable.
  • A monitoring system should be set up if necessary.
  • Authority should be given where needed, ie other people who were not at the meeting, but who will be involved in the action, must be advised.
  • When and how the results will be communicated to those concerned.
  • The above should preferably be in writing to act as a record. What makes a good sales meeting?

People should look forward to attending your sales meetings and regard them as of benefit, rather than a waste of time or an opportunity to have a good moan. Although you cannot ensure that everyone will have a positive attitude towards the meetings, you can help in these ways:

  • Only hold meetings when they are really necessary.
  • Prepare and distribute an agenda.
  • Start and finish on time.
  • Vary the methods of presentation.
  • Arrange meetings at different venues in your region so that the same people do not have a long distance to travel. When using outside venues, remember to include the costs in your expenditure budget.

Conduct Sales Meeting 1 Best Way to Conduct a Sales Meeting

  • Control questions and discussions.
  • Make the meeting informative and motivating.
  • Provide opportunities for involvement and participation.
  • Don’t make the meetings too long.

Sales conferences

Many companies hold annual or biannual sales conferences. These very often take place at a hotel and may last one or even two days. The objective is normally to review the past year’s performance and encourage the sales force to do even better next year.

I have attended numerous such events over the years and they fall into two distinct categories, very good or diabolical. So what makes a bad sales conference?

The bad sales conference

  • Poor venue – insufficient room, uncomfortable seating, poor lighting, lack of air conditioning, inadequate refreshments.
  • Badly organized – no agenda, poor preparation, no control over timings.
  • Too much criticism, not enough praise.
  • Too many presenters, many of whom have no sales awareness.
  • Too much talking at the audience.
  • Little or no opportunity for participants’ involvement.

Plan for success

Sales conferences require a great deal of planning and preparation. They should be expanded versions of the sales meeting. As well as ensuring that none of the above bad points occurs, the organizer needs to:

  • thoroughly brief each speaker
  • provide plenty of breaks for refreshment
  • make sure that the conference ends on a high note.

Conduct Sales Meeting 2 Best Way to Conduct a Sales Meeting

Much will of course depend upon the budget allowed for the conference. If finances permit, it may be worth while seeking help from professional conference organizers. Similarly, it can be highly motivating to the delegates if the conference is hosted by a well known but suitable ‘personality’. However, the main thing is to keep it entertaining and informative.

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