The number one rule for an effective sales meeting

With so much pressure on sales managers to conduct frequent and regular sales meetings, there’s a risk that your team will have to attend frequent and regular meetings that are highly ineffective, unless you design them well.

So let’s agree that you conduct a sales meeting for one critical objective:  to improve sales performance. And to improve sales performance, you are looking for a change in your sales team’s behavior. It’s that simple.

Now let’s look at behavior change. For those of you who are trainers, you know the three premises of behavior you use in instructional design, so you always ask these three questions:

  1. What do I want the learner to know, that he doesn’t already know?
  2. What do I want the learner to do, that he isn’t already doing, or not doing effectively?
  3. In what way do I want the learner to feel differently about what he does on the job?

That’s all there is to it.  So it follows that if you are designing a sales meeting you can simply make three columns, then create activities from there.

But here’s the finer point. For your team right now, which of the three performance areas is most important?  Let me make a guess.  It’s either two or three isn’t it? In other words, you have a team that either needs to polish or enhance its skills, or you need the team to be self-motivated to put more positive energy into the job.  There’s seldom content that an experienced sales team needs to know, but here are two examples:

  1.  You select a top performer from the current month. He’s having a heck of a good time bringing in new business and leading the team in sales. As a reward, you call on him to talk about some of his best practices, how he prospects, great questions he asks in uncovering needs and so on.  The other team members glean a lot of new information from him.  That’s a good knowledge piece.
  2. There’s some logistical or time management problem within the team, or some obstacle to be worked out, so you call a meeting to resolve it, giving everyone a chance to speak: What do we need to do? What gets in the way? What should we do about it? And you reach a conclusion and agree on best steps. A good outcome from this meeting will have everyone knowing what to do that they didn’t know before.

So as a meeting designer, when you are looking at the first of the three performance areas, what you want people to know, ask yourself this question: If there is information I need my team to know, is it logical that I could tell them in an email? Or do I need to say it in a meeting?

You can see that in my two example meetings, the outcome is increased knowledge, but there is also a motivational component too. In the first, team members are encouraged by hearing a peer describe success, and the speaker is rewarded for top performance, which is itself a motivator. In the second example, team members feel empowered to solve a problem. In both cases, there’s good reason for having a meeting.

But for all other areas where you need only to provide information, save yourself and your team time by sending it out in an email, and use meetings for skill enhancement, or motivation.

That’s a powerful rule to remember, as it will help you…

Think Like Your Customer

About Gregory LaMothe
I teach people how to sell things. I own the company ActionSystems. Visit my website at

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