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Critical Keys to Successful Sales Meetings

Here are the success keys that will make your next sales meeting a winner!

Ask Participants For Input

Check with them to find out what issues they would like to have addressed and get them involved in the meeting early. This is a great chance to learn about their expectations for the meeting so you won't disappoint them.

A great survey question includes asking them for their three biggest sales obstacles. If you can address even one of them during the course of the meeting, you'll be their hero without having to wear the gaudy Spandex suit and cape.

Plan In Breaks

Most salespeople are not used to staying in one place for very long. They're wired for managing multiple tasks in small increments of time.

Plan in breaks at intervals of no more than 1 1/2 hours. By that time their butts will be talking to their brains louder than you are and they'll be ready to get up and call a customer or check on the status of an order. Let them.

Build In Recognition Any Way You Can

Even though an awards night may be in the works anyway, include recognition opportunities every day, all day long. Give salespeople credit for the sales they've achieved, the ideas they've generated, the team contributions and virtually any behavior you would like them - and others - to repeat.

Include Contests

Salespeople don't care what they win, they just want to win something. In sales meeting contests money is not the object. But money doesn't hurt either. Better yet, let them pick the prizes. Use contests to help achieve objectives as well as for fun brain breaks.

Send Out An Agenda In Advance

Let the selling organization know what will be covered to whet their appetites. Tease them with partial information on provocative topics. Let them know what obstacles you're planning to address for them.

If you have taken a pre-meeting survey of the sales team, share some of the results with them as justification for the agenda content. Make it clear that the meeting is for them and things will go smoother than glass after a botox treatment.

Show Them The Money

Make it clear to them how attending the sales meeting will be a good investment for them. Let them know in advance what they're going to get out of the meeting that will offset their lost production time. Salespeople are willing to invest time to sharpen the axe if they know they'll be better able to chop wood later.

Accompany New Product Introductions With Third Party Proof

Salespeople will be initially excited about new products and will enthusiastically learn about their application. However, after the meeting they'll be reticent about sharing their excitement with their best customers unless they're sure their customers aren't being used as crash test dummies.

When making the new product announcement, provide testimonial letters, video and audio tapes and quotations from customers who have already used the products . Better yet, bring some of these customers to your sales meeting and let your salespeople talk to them at cocktail hour.

Include Sensory Experiences To Reinforce Key Concepts

Take the time to develop metaphors and images that will help them reduce complex topics to simple concepts. Don't do a data dump and expect them to digest it. Get their senses involved by moving, doing, and thinking about how to apply what they're learning. They'll pick up the content faster than a bullet on amphetamines.

Keep The Handouts Light And The Reference Material Deep

The program notes that you present attendees should be no more than you intend to cover in the meetings. You may have binders of reference material for them as well; ship those to their offices and let them access that content when they need it after they're back in the field.

Give Them Opportunities To Apply Learning

Activities built around case studies or situation mock-ups allow participants to synthesize, evaluate, and demonstrate what they've learned. They'll feel more confident that good stuff is being accomplished...and so will you!

Stick To Your Schedule

If you are going to start at a certain time, do it. Don't reward latecomers by starting a few minutes late. Instead, reward the punctual by starting exactly on time. Don't let your credibility slip before you even begin.

Follow Up On The Important Stuff

Decide what the key points of the sales meeting are and distribute those to the field in the weeks that follow the meeting. Perhaps you can share success stories that reinforce the importance of those messages and help your sales team pay attention to them.

Survey The Sales Team A Week Or Two After The Meeting

Help them remind themselves of what they personally gained. Ask for the top five to ten things of benefit that they took away from the meeting (besides the tee shirt, tan and free sleeve of golf balls). Then ask what they would have liked more of as well as what they would have liked less of. Use this as an opportunity to plan better future meetings.

Leadership Stays

If the meeting is so darned important, leadership should participate in more than just the beginning and the end. The effects of sales meetings stick best when some leadership is always visible and accessible.


Using these keys to put together an effective sales meeting will be well worth the effort. A successful sales meeting can dramatically impact the top line of any organization, creating positive change that lasts. Employ these critical success keys for your next sales meeting and you'll deliver a positively memorable and exhilarating experience that everyone will be raving about!

Need Some Help Planning An Upcoming Sales Meeting?

As you can probably tell, we've been around this block more than a few times. We'd be happy to apply our extensive experience to help you plan a sales meeting specifically designed to accomplish your most critical objectives. Simply give us a call on or send us an e-mail. We will be happy to schedule a no-obligation telephone appointment to discuss your specific situation.