Make Your Meeting Short and Sweet

By William Kendy

According to Tom Asher, a senior investment advisor for Salomon Smith Barney in Atlanta, good sales meetings have to be brief and provide a reason for a salesperson to attend.

“We have a 30 – 60 minute sales meeting every Tuesday,” says Asher. “Because our financial consultants’ primary compensation is based on results, they need to see real benefits in attending the meetings because, in our case, time is money.”

Asher points out that managers need to have a written agenda, start and finish on time and demonstrate leadership abilities while “on the platform.”

“Preparation is key and ‘winging it,’ or waiting until 8:00 to decide what is going to happen at an 8:30 meeting, just doesn’t cut it,” says Asher. “A manager has to offer some very specific new information at every meeting, even if it’s fairly short.

“It’s up to the manager to scour the news for things, either good or bad, that are important to us and our clients,” adds Asher. “Nobody wants to hear a rehash of what they heard last week.”

“The manager has to have respect for other people’s time and start and finish the meeting on time,” says Asher. “I’ve never seen anyone get angry at a manager for finishing any presentation early.”

“We have ongoing training for our managers where they learn the ingredients of a good sales meeting and platform skills – we expect them to execute both,” says Asher. “A sales meeting is a forum where the boss can present new ideas and inspiration. It’s standing in a leadership role for which they’re paid and an opportunity to provide positive reinforcement and motivation.”

“Sales meetings should be a pleasant experience,” says Asher. “For example, a manager could make a brief birthday announcement and offer cake for breakfast, or show a short, humorous video clip or pass a cartoon around that the consultants find lighthearted.”

“Bring in a guest speaker or have them on a conference call,” says Asher. “Find out if there is someone on the team who want to share something. Sales meetings should be open forums.”

“The goal is to have your staff walk out of a meeting with a feeling that it was valuable, informative and worth their time,” says Asher. “If they feel that way, they’ll be there next time.”

For more information on meeting success click here.