Can Your Sales Meetings Be Sold?
As a sales manager, you should be able to sell your sales meetings using the same techniques that you advocate your sales team using.
That said, how many sales meetings have employees gone to over time and been less than wowed? Worse yet, underperforming sales meetings can lead to fewer clients and a smaller revenue stream for your company.
As the following article shows, Ideas for sales meetings: sales skill development, should not only be part of your sales meeting message; it should be part of your sales meeting method.
Demonstrate Your Authority
Just as you expect your sales team to show prospective customers that they know what they're talking about, you should show your sales meeting attendees that you have proficiency in sales.
Demonstrate your authority in sales by bringing all your years of sales experience to bear. Show that you understand the obstacles they may encounter while making the sale, and give advice as to how to conquer resistance to the sale.
Use Anecdotal Stories
Stories engage your listeners in a humanistic way.
Use anecdotes from your sales days to bring listeners in and help them relate to you and to one another.
Instead of saying, "do this, do that," use real life stories to show how you handled certain situations.
Be honest about when your young sales efforts succeeded, and when they failed. Your sales team will respect you for it.
Recognize Modern Tools
Don't attempt to disconnect your sales team from their favorite modern devices.
Sales people well understand the value of being mobile and connected, and if you try to dissuade them, they will see you as a dinosaur.
Recognize the value of modern tools like social media, social apps and mobile devices, and work together with your team on finding ways to make those tools work for your company instead of against it.
Make it Tactile
Incorporate fun elements into your sales meetings and watch your attendees wake up. Toss a ball around the room as you share ideas with one another.
Have everyone stand up when they want to add something to the discussion. Bring a puppy into the meeting if you have to. Touching and seeing a puppy will promote feelings of goodwill and make people come alive.
The key is to ignite all the senses in order to ignite all parts of the brain.
Be sure to use images like stock photographs, graphs and illustrations in your presentations.
Some people respond to images more than words and vice versa. When you include images in your sales pitches, you're sure to be using a medium that will relate to everyone in the room, not just a select few.
Images should evoke feeling whenever possible. Stark, static images are less effective than images with contrasting elements that reflect dissimilitude.
Give Everyone a Voice
You are more powerful when you exhibit the confidence to allow everyone else in your meeting room to voice their opinions.
Related: Your Sales Staff Needs a Refresher
As long as attendees are being respectful and helpful, there's no reason to squelch anyone's voice. You don't have to necessarily act on every idea that's verbalized, but if you want to be heard, you must allow others to be heard.
You'll find that if you follow these tips, you'll enjoy your own sales meetings almost as much as your team will enjoy them.
About the Author: Kate Supino writes extensively about best business practices, including sales, marketing and human relations.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.