For decades, I have (and still do) participated in, observed, run, trained and delegated various meetings. From my ongoing experience in the field, far too many “meetings” are either the “Coffee is for Closers!” fear based attempts to maximize efforts and expertise or are redundant and predictable.
Everything starts with preparation. You don’t have time to “not have time”! Our industry is progressing at light speed. The word “teamwork” is mentioned frequently but not always shown or felt that “We are a team!”
People will forget a lot of what we say, but they will never forget how we make them feel. Try my: Self Barometer Technique for your staff. Imagine (or remember when) how you would feel after doing your daily preparation, managing your real life stress before work, working hard and practicing, only to be made to feel weak or disposable in a morning meeting. Attitudes are contagious, both positive and negative. Is the overall attitude in every meeting and training session worth catching?
Success is no accident. As a team, success is a “we” not a “me” thing. Several elements of meetings can be adjusted and enhanced to produce a significant impact on your staff and yourselves. They have for me and countless others that have followed this road to success.
Well, just what is an “Accolade Sandwich”? I promise you it is the opposite of the Blues Brothers’ “Wish Sandwich” where you have two pieces of bread and wish there was some meat inside. It is quite the contrary.
First, schedule exact start times and the appropriate staff members that will be participating. I strongly recommend having everyone attend that are involved with sales, Internet and BDC. Next, prepare; have exact topics outlined for training in your meetings mapped out ahead of time. Speaking of time, always start on time and ban cell phones from your meetings. Nothing is more obnoxious than someone texting during a serious meeting! Allow for time to address new or recurring concerns as well.
Open the meeting with “the first slice of bread”: an accolade for the team, perhaps by pointing out what a good job was done on a call, appointment, sale, and referral; add infinitum. Don’t just say good job, applaud, and inject energy into your meetings like a true coach. Share with the team what they are doing well or are improving upon. Complacency is among our worst enemies. Share, don’t bark, it doesn’t work. Serious tone is one thing, but at the end of the day, to lead, one must command respect.
I conducted a one-on-one with an Internet sales specialist recently who had recorded a sales meeting, played it for his wife that evening, and said, “This is how my day starts… every day!” She urged him to quit. He is a true winner and one, I’m sure, who would be missed dearly (He stayed after we adjusted).
You can get twice the attention and results from leading a serious yet inspiring meeting if you open and close with a positive validation of your team’s time, effort and development.
Next, specifically address your training subject for the day. Give the team the truth, use examples and share your experience. Align with your team, show them, don’t just tell them how to make calls, build rapport, close deals, follow up or prospect. Give them solutions; don’t just point out the problem(s). Give examples, play calls, role play, track numbers vs. goals, and review all new advertising and marketing campaigns. Address concerns, review pending deals and give an exact course of action, timeline and explain why. Explain the what and how based on your personal experience. It will produce respect. Also use third party stories and clear examples of what must be improved upon and the tools to do it. Give them a solution; don’t just point out the problem(s).
Communication is not just essential as a skill for influence and persuasion but is the means of bridging the gap between departments. When accountability and daily focus on action items for pending or “heat deals” are a way of life, the habit of resolving issues immediately becomes a culture, and people (amazingly) sell more, increase CSI and earn more money and rewards. Overall, performance improves.
Now the final “slice of bread”: deliver a sincere, captivating and motivating closure to the meeting that instills additional tenacity, confidence and the desire to follow you like a coach does in sports before taking the field or court! Verbal and/or literal “high fives” go a long way in the hearts of people wanting vs. having to follow the leader(s).
Consistency is absolutely essential. Repetition is the master of all training. The key is in the delivery. If you don’t have meetings lead by people that believe in what they are doing, improving themselves and helping, you’re wasting everyone’s time.
Watch the body language of the staff, lighten up or tighten up when warranted. We are human after all and need each other to stay pumped. Maintain zeal for obtaining goals, have folks consider why they must succeed, and tap into their ambition, purpose, needs, dreams and reason for being there.
Before closing the meeting, ask the most important question of all: “Does anyone have any questions?”