Here’s a scene that is played out in dealerships everywhere every single week. It’s time for the sales meeting, and the sales manager can’t bear the thought of another one. The only people dreading it more are the sales staff. It seems like every possible topic has been covered in the last few months. Inevitably, the manager goes into the meeting unprepared, and an hour of everyone’s time gets wasted.
I think it’s a shame that this type of sales meeting occurs so frequently, because quality sales meetings can be an essential link between managers and the sales team. Typically, these meetings are used to update everyone on products, advertising, sales goals, and admin details. If you really want to drive sales, they should be seen as opportunities to encourage, reward, and coach the dealership sales staff by honing their selling skills. We seem to forget that Salespeople can take an emotional pounding from customers and coworkers. They ought to be able to look forward to a productive, fun, and organized sales meeting. Sadly, that’s not always the case.
On consulting visits across the nation, I hear comments from salespeople about their meetings. Frequently, I’m told that sales meetings are:
- Have no agenda
- Only cover the same old stuff
- Take too long
- Unorganized, and the manager doesn’t know how to run a meeting
- Always turn into a gripe session and never cover solutions
- Have too much emphasis on paperwork
- Managers criticize the salespeople without providing help
- No one asks us what we need to succeed or reach sales goals
- and worst of all… These meetings don’t help me sell more cars!
We can do better… a lot better. There is no reason your next sales meeting can’t be your best sales meeting, and I want to help get you there. After meeting with 100’s of sales managers, there are a few commonalities that separate the best from the rest.
1. Have a Purpose and an Agenda
The best sales managers will distribute the agenda the day before the meeting. This enables the sales staff to get their thoughts together and gives them the time to develop and ask better questions. State a purpose for the meeting and present what the benefits are for the salespeople. Think of it as an advertisement for the meeting.
Compose your agenda with a less is more attitude and try not to pack too many items into it. It’s always better to go deeper in 1 or 2 areas than skim over half a dozen, so your information will have more impact and be retained. The agenda format is a simple outline of what will be covered, and who will be presenting to the team. It should be short enough to be read easily on a cell phone.
Be sure to select sales staff as presenters so they are engaged, and be prepared with handouts, audio visuals, or any other materials that help presenters make their point. Be wary of visitors taking over your sales meeting. If a Rep wants to talk to the team, make sure they are there to help them sell more cars, and not just pitch products.
2. Stay on Schedule
Always start and finish on time. Finishing on schedule shows respect for your sales staff’s time and enables them to set appointments and tasks effectively on meeting days. Instead of trying to punish people who are late, reward people who are on time. Need an example? Here is one of my favorites.
One dealer I work with lets people leave their shift in the order that they show for the sales meeting. The first person in the meeting is first to head home. The last one to arrive will be the last one to go home at night.
3. Celebrate the Wins
Nothing starts a meeting better than praising performance. Take a few minutes to congratulate and thank the people who are team players, hitting goals, and making customers happy. At least one positive story should be a part of every sales meeting. Again, rather than you doing all the work, pick an exemplary team member to present. Their story doesn’t have to be a David vs. Goliath epic, just something that reinforces your training, process, and culture.
Select the story in advance and help the salesperson with some guidelines to make it effective:
- Tell us about the customer
- Describe the challenge
- What you did right (and wrong)?
- Who helped in the sale? Make sure they give credit to other sales reps, managers, BDC, finance, etc.
- What was the positive outcome for you and the customer?
- Tell your story in 5 minutes (or less)
4. Who’s Closest to the Next Sale?
At your next meeting, pull up your CRM on the big screen in front of everybody. Have each salesperson review their unsold and identify their hottest prospect. Additionally, check to make sure all their CRM tasks are up-to-date. Peer pressure is great to foster sales activity on the team. The sales meeting is a coaching session, so talk about where the team is vs. forecast. The goals of the team should be discussed with a positive vibe, including what management is doing to help them sell more cars. This is a perfect opportunity to share best practices that will help the team sell more. Even better, try and get salespeople involved by having them share their best sales tips at each meeting.
5. Have a Little Fun
Assign some fun tasks to the more creative members of your sales team. At the end of the meeting, schedule your fun presentation to spice things up and ensure you finish on a positive note. Sales meetings should be an event your people look forward to. With some structure and purpose, they can work better for you, your salespeople, and your dealership.
Improving the performance of variable operations has been a staple of NCM since 1947. With decades of experience, our team of moderators, instructors, and consultants are ready to help you succeed. If you are interested in scheduling in-dealership consulting, attending industry-leading automotive training, or are looking for a suite of benchmark and software solutions to help your team perform at their best, the experts at NCM Associates are ready to speak with you!