When was the last time you attended a good sales meeting? Some may say never. Some may even say “good” and “sales meeting” is an oxymoron. So let’s take a look at what makes a BAD sales meeting.
First, there should be no planning. The meeting needs to be announced and started within minutes, if not seconds. That way no one, even the sales manager, has time to prepare for the event. Not everyone on the sales team may be around to attend. Thus, the information will need to be repeated over and over again. And, if this is a decision-making meeting, you just need those folks in attendance that agree with your idea(s). No need for dissention if it can be avoided. Most importantly, there should be no printed agenda with start times or end times. That way no one will know what’s coming next or when the pain will end.
Second, there should be no structure or interaction during the meeting. Let the sales manager rule the meeting. Since you don’t have an agenda to guide the progress, the free spirit of the cosmic universe will move things along and keep everyone from being bored by not taking a deep dive into a topic. Using an iron fist and harsh words will 1) inhibit folks from participating, 2) keep the team’s conflict suppressed to promote passive aggressive behaviors, 3) provide appropriate punishment to demotivate and 4) foster individuality as opposed to group cohesion.
Third, at the end of the meeting ensure that there is mutual mystification. No one should know what anyone else is going to do after the meeting or when the next meeting will occur. No one is to know if they are responsible for any actions moving forward.
Finally, think nothing more of the time you spent taking your sales team out of the field for the meeting. Don’t try to rationalize the value of the meeting versus the lost selling opportunities. Put your head on the pillow at night and sleep well. If there was a purpose to the meeting, it is only known to you and your Creator.
So, does any of this sound familiar? Been to any meetings that resemble what was just described? Are you going to do anything different after reading this blog?
DAVE HARMAN is an associate with Sandler Training. He has over 30 years’ experience in sales and sales management with Fortune 500 companies as well as small, family-owned organizations. He has held positions from sales to senior management with companies such as Conoco/Vista, Amresco and Ohio Awning, and owns his own business. He earned his MBA with a concentration in Marketing from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. You can reach him at
or (888) 448-2030.