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I have been reading sales books as long as I can remember. I have noticed something over the years – many of the accepted principles don’t hold up well in the real world. Holding long meetings and having very detailed conversations with clients was one of the biggest mistakes I saw salespeople make.
Many salespeople seem to believe that their sales conversion rates will be higher if they spend a lot of time with their clients. Lisa Gschwandtner, Editorial Director for Selling Power Magazine shares my view and states that this misconception needs to be put to rest.
“Time spent in meetings could be time spent making sales. So don't waste it. If your meetings aren't productive, your salespeople won't be either. Use these time-honored time-management tricks to keep your meetings focused, succinct and on track,” Gschwandtner states.
Here are some reasons this thinking is flawed:
Your time is valuable, so it is important to use it wisely. Here are some tips to make sure your sales meetings are concise and productive, so you can spend more time generating sales.
Have a Clear Goal and Focusing Agenda
Your time is valuable. Your client’s time is valuable. You don’t want to waste it.
You need to have a clear goal for every meeting or call. The goal may be to close a sale during the meeting itself. It could also be to make the customer aware that your brand is an option or to inform them about several key benefits of several of your products. It could be to touch base with your sales team to see how close they are to meeting their quotas.
It is also a good idea to have a focusing agenda. Come up with a list of three to five questions to bring up by the end. If you are meeting with your sales team, important questions may include:
Keep the discussion brief and limit it to getting the information you need.
Get Important Information from Existing Data Instead of Your Meetings
Inc. contributor Ian Altman states that many salespeople he speaks with have wasted a lot of time getting information that could be obtained from their CRM data.
“The problem with these questions is that Sue (and you) could answer most of them just from reviewing the CRM and doing a little preparation in advance. You've been taught that people do what gets measured or monitored. But, why does everyone have to be there to know that Tim met with the client last week and that the client will likely push off their decision to the following month?”
You can also use sales data from your outsourced accounting to spot trends. Rather than asking your sales staff to discuss their sales trends over the past year, you can easily find the data yourself. Your accountant should have a special software that can break sales down by region, salesperson and other important factors.
Break Information into Manageable Chunks
People can be overloaded with too much information. It is better to break it down into smaller pieces of information that can be easier to digest.
People in the sales profession tend to enjoy talking. Unfortunately, that can be their kryptonite, because they often waste time on long meetings that could be better spent finding and reaching out to new leads.