To Meet or Not To Meet?
Salespeople are generally award based on the amount of revenue they are able to bring in. For this reason, it is in the best interests of sales professionals to only be engaged in activities that further this goal. Unfortunately however, things don’t always work this way. Sometimes, salespeople are able to fool themselves into thinking that they are being productive when in fact, they are just wasting time on tasks that don’t generate revenue: cleaning out their desks several times in a week, spending inordinate amounts of time talking about strategies with co-workers around the water cooler, and worst of all, going to unnecessary meetings.
If you want to be successful in complex sales, you need to make sure that every meeting you attend is somehow helping you to generate revenue. Unfortunately, most organizations leave plenty of room for “feel good meetings.” These are meetings that might make you feel like you’re being productive, or might be fun to go to, but that don’t really help you close deals or generate revenue. We like to call these “Barney meetings,” appropriately named after everyone’s favorite purple dinosaur. A lot of positive, sunshiny feelings are spread around, but nothing useful is actually accomplished.
Here are the three most common types of “feel good” meetings that you should try to avoid:
1. Partner Meetings
Now don’t get us wrong, partner meetings aren’t always time wasters. However, if you find yourself going to meetings with partner companies that don’t generate any useful leads, eliminating these meetings might be a good idea. At the very least, always make sure that you are getting something specific out of these meetings. Be ready with contact information for your accounts that you can exchange with your partner’s sales people. Hopefully, they will come prepared as well and you can generate some leads. Otherwise, it might be best to avoid these meetings.
2. Sales Calls that Go Nowhere
You might be surprised by the number of sales calls you go on each month that generate little to no revenue. Many sales people continue to have meetings with accounts that fail to perform even after months of meetings, simply because going out and having a meeting makes them feel productive. At the end of every sales period, look back at the accounts that you meet with the most. Are any of these accounts severely under-performing? If so, it might be a good idea to cut down on the amount of time you’re spending with them.
3. Meetings with The Wrong Department.
As a salesperson, you need to be meeting with people in your client’s company who have the authority to purchase your product. Don’t go to a long meeting with your client’s R&D department when you really need to be talking to management. Unless your product directly addresses issues that affect the R&D process, this could be a waste of time. Make sure that the people who you are talking to are the people who have the power to push forward the buying process.
All in all, the best policy is to cut out any activity from your schedule that is not ultimately helping you to increase revenue. It’s always a good idea to take a look at last month’s calendar and to try to spot any meetings that didn’t produce. Cut these out of your schedule for next month and replace them with more useful activities.
Share with us meetings you have attended that were not productive.
This post was inspired by a podcast titled “Eliminate the Barney Meetings!“
Mike & Joe