The Green Sheet Online Edition
December 10, 2007 • Issue 07:12:01
Make the most of your sales meeting
Imagine a world without sales meetings - what would be the impact? Businesses would be much less organized, efficient and successful. Think about it - name one other thing you can do to significantly grow your business in such a short time.
I have always contended that attending company sales meetings is by far the best investment of time and money any ISO or merchant level salesperson can spend. Where else can you network with industry peers who are as anxious to talk to you as you are to talk to them?
There are four ways to benefit from a sales meeting:
- Determine your objectives.
- Meet new people.
- Be an active listener.
Even though most people go to their sales meetings, they rarely get the full benefit of attending. My goal is to help you identify the benefits of the next sales meeting you attend so that you can make the most of your experience.
Ready, set, goal
Before you attend your next sales meeting, determine why you are going in the first place. Ask yourself, "What does my presence have to offer? What do I want to achieve?" Is it to meet people, acquire specific information or become motivated?
Establish your desired outcome for the meeting. Write out your goals so you know ahead of time what you want to accomplish. Be prepared; don't leave the house without business cards, a notepad and pen. I can tell you a large percentage of attendees usually forget one of these essential items.
Now that you have figured out the reasons why you are going to the meeting, establish what you need to do at the event to achieve your desired outcome. What preparations do you need to make beforehand?
If one of your goals is to talk to a certain speaker, maybe there is a VIP lunch you can attend. It would be wise to set aside some additional time after the meeting to give yourself another chance to meet with the speaker and ask questions regarding the speech.
If there is a contact you want to spend some additional time with, fly in a day early. Exchange schedules, and make an appointment before you get to the meeting. Careful planning can win you extra time.
Make a connection
Once you are at the event, be prepared to network. I like to call it the "six degrees of separation" game.
It never ceases to amaze me how I can meet in an elevator someone who lives in a different city, and it turns out we know many of the same people.
Or I can sit down for lunch with someone I don't know and find out they grew up with an out-of-state friend. And no, I am not making these examples up.
Networking is important because it helps you bond with people and form relationships.
Over the years, I've done a lot of business based mainly on the fact that I held common relationships with the people I am working with, which gave me instant credibility. But don't be discouraged if you and a new acquaintance don't have a mutual friend or colleague; there are other ways to connect.
Whenever you meet someone new, hand out your business card. It can't hurt your chances of receiving more business. It's a handy way for people to remember your name and have your contact information accessible. Ask for their business cards in exchange.
Another important element to having an effective sales meeting experience is listening to speakers and actually absorbing the information they are imparting. All too often, people have told me they are so overwhelmed with the amount of information they are getting that they have no idea how to make sense of it.
Here are a couple of ways to manage your information so you can implement what you've learned:
- Never leave home without a packet of sticky notes. In your notes or handouts, mark pages with action items or ideas that you want to revisit. Then, when you come home, revisit all of the notes taken first, and add those ideas or action items to your day-to-day activities.
- Create a master action list. Take a couple of pieces of paper and put them at the very front of your seminar notebook. As you learn new things you want to incorporate, or you get ideas, jot them down on the list. Don't censor yourself, just write them down.
- When you leave the meeting, even if you don't have any notes, you will at least have a targeted list of action items to explore. Review your list. Decide if and how you want to move forward with each item, and check them off once you have tackled each one.
Get motivated, have fun and build your referral network. Sales meetings can be a great way to learn the latest techniques.
Being well-prepared for sales meetings, networking effectively while there and incorporating what you learn will ultimately give you that extra edge to make your next sales presentation the best one yet.
Maxwell Sinovoi is the National Sales Manager of the Western United States with United Bank Card Inc. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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