Insist on punctuality, for there is nothing which detracts from a meeting so much as people coming in late with lame excuses or returning late from a coffee break. Not only is this disruptive for the meeting but it is bad for group discipline as well and each time a manager allows this, they relinquish a little leadership capacity. Start the meeting on time to the minute. Do not wait for late arrivals and whatever you do, do not be late yourself.
Begin the meeting in the way you plan to carry on throughout – with a friendly smile and a dynamic greeting, do not commence in a flat uninspired monotone. Be informal, relax and encourage team members to do likewise. Do remember that a sales meeting is one of those few occasions where you can provide “collective motivation” so you need to be at your inspiring best.
Explain the objectives and always ‘sell’ the objectives by providing the team with good reasons why each item has been placed on the agenda. It is likely that you will want to discuss performance(s) since the last meeting and it is essential that you highlight success. Whatever you do never, ever, hand out criticism en bloc because that is the most morale sapping thing you can ever do. Rather deal with sub-standard performance one to one. However, do feel free to deliver collective praise in copious amounts whenever appropriate.
Use some kind of visual aid during each session. The most common and easy to use visual aid is a PowerPoint presentation; closely followed by the flip chart which allows you to be spontaneous should you need to be – one picture really does paint a thousand words!
Make quite sure that you achieve full agreement at the close of each session. You should aim to get full commitment from all present at the meeting, that they will definitely do what you have asked them to do. At the end of the meeting an action plan should be prepared and circulated to everyone present at the meeting. The previous meeting’s action plan should always be progressed at the meeting.
Make sure that at least fifty per cent of the meeting is taken up with some kind of sales training. You can deliver this yourself or you might consider using specialists from outside of the company.
Plan the amount of time you can afford to allocate to each session well before the meeting and be sure to stick to your schedule. One tip I always pass on, is to avoid the dreaded “Any other business” at the end of the meeting. In reality, if an item is worth discussing it should be a full agenda item, allowing for proper preparation.
Encourage everyone to participate by asking for their views and opinions or by giving them presentation projects to prepare in advance of the meeting date.