ICS Magazine

Give me some SALES!

April 9, 2008


Take a look at the picture here. That’s what fun looks like. That’s what positive energy looks like. That’s what winning looks like.

It’s a picture of the University of Utah MUSS...Mighty Utah Student Section. These kids agree to sit together, wear their school shirts and cheer on the football team. A powerful student section can give a team the home field advantage...wherever they play. It’s all about energy focused on winning the game.

Imagine if this is what your weekly sales meeting looked like.

As the company owner, one of your duties may be sales manager. You may have implemented a weekly sales meeting. Good for you! It’s an opportunity to get the techs together to discuss what works and expose what doesn’t work in sales.

The problem is that your sales meeting may be as exciting as watching ice melt. I’ve been to some pretty painful sales meetings. Here’s a slice:

The sales manager shows up late and the techs straggle in. Some of them get dressed during the meeting or spread out their invoices so they can finish up their paperwork. The SM may complain about general poor performance by team members. Because it sounds like whining, the techs hear, “Blah blah blah blah blah.” Then, the enlightened SM turns off the lights and turns on a sales training DVD. The techs squint to see the TV, which is the size of a postage stamp and mounted at Mt. Everest altitude in a corner of the warehouse. Twenty minutes later, the lights go up, the techs awaken and shuffle off to face their day and customers. Ugh.

I picked on one of my clients about his “worse-than-a-sharp-stick-in-the-eye” sales meeting. He came back with, “Well, how do I put together a good sales meeting?” Below is what I shared with him. Take a look at this basic outline. Feel free to explore, edit and expand it. May this help you get your creative juices flowing!

Honor and Recognition

Basic rule No. 1 for team meetings: praise in public, criticize in private. Don’t nag about poor performance in a group setting. It’s irritating and ineffective. For those who are in compliance, or meeting the standard, it’s a waste of their time. For those who are out of compliance, the message sent is, “Apparently everyone is behaving as poorly as I am. I’m off the hook!” So, address poor performance individually and in private.

At the sales meeting, bestow honor and recognition to the winners! Do you keep score? Do you track key numbers like close rate, average sale, total sales and efficiency? If not, why not? It’s fun to play a game and win. But if you keep score, you must help team members be successful. The sales meeting is one part of an overall sales and service focused culture. And it is a great opportunity to celebrate the wins. Acknowledge the top performers for the key numbers for the week, the month, the year to date, etc.

You can honor good performance with a round of applause, a standing ovation, hootin’ and hollerin’ and a firm handshake. You can bestow the crown or scepter or pin signifying the current record holder or top finisher. Think Stanley Cup. It is nice to win, so make your acknowledgements significant and formal, and not just a throwaway.

Present bonus checks at the sales meeting. If you handle the tax requirements properly, you can deliver the cash amount. Cash is always popular.

Show and Tell

Basic rule No. 2: get your team in on the presentation. You don’t have to be the know-all-do-all manager. Your techs can teach each other. Did you notice a particularly great invoice from your daily review of your techs’ paperwork? Ask that tech to role-play – with you or another team member – how that service call went down. This is a great way to reinforce “right stuff” behavior and help your techs develop their sales and communication skills.

You can plug in a good sales training DVD now and then. Leave the lights on and watch it on a real TV. Then, role-play the concepts shared by the trainer. Have some fun and don’t take it too seriously. If they are laughing, they may be learning.

Contest Countdown

You are well served to have a simple, performance-based bonus program in place. In addition to your basis bonus program, you can engage one or two contests to keep things interesting. The key is to keep the energy up from the beginning through the conclusion of a contest. Start strong with a “Contest Kick Off.” Use scoreboards to keep track of the action and update prior to the sales meeting. Encourage team names and costumes. And, bring the game to a rousing conclusion with the announcement of the winners. Most contests start nicely and wither as the SM and the techs lose interest. Try running one game per quarter and have it last 45 to 60 days. Take a month off and kick in a new one.

Kick in the Cheer

Look again at those MUSS kids. They cheer during the game. They scream the team name until chords stand out in their necks.

What if you put together a cheer for your sales process? For instance, at Action Floor Care, you could shout...

Give me an A – Address your customer in a respectful, friendly manner.
Give me a C – Communicate! Ask good questions and listen.
Give me a T – Take the time to figure out a total cleaning solution.
Give me an I – Involve the customer in a discussion about their options.
Give me an O – Offer your professional opinion and get the job booked.
Give me an N – Neighbors are prime referrals.

You could require that a team member present one letter of the cheer each sales meeting. Encourage them to compete for the most entertaining and educational presentation. They could use skits, props, music and small animals.

The Marketing Mix

Ask your techs if they have ever had a customer present them with a coupon or an ad or an offer that they were totally clueless about. It never feels good to look stupid. Engage your marketing manager (that may be you in another hat!) to share what’s out there in advertising and explain how the offers work. Can you combine offers? Is there an expiration date on the offer? What services are included? Finish with an over-the-top role-play and have some fun with the presentation. Which leads to ...

Having Fun, Serving Friends and Making Money

Good sales feel good. Good sales are all about serving people: giving them what they need and want. Helping them feel comfortable and safe. The good news is that you can have fun doing this and make money all around. What’s not to love?

Have some fun at your sales meetings. Tell a joke. Adopt and play a theme song for your company. Share a funny video your teenage kid discovered on YouTube. Embellish a story. Have you ever been to a Dan Holohan program? He is the master! He tells stories about people and equipment and how to put those things together in challenging, hilarious and heartwarming combinations. Before you know it, you’ve learned something and had a human connection with the person sitting next to you. People buy from people they like. Use your sales meeting to make friends. It’s contagious.

If you aren’t a razz-ma-tazz guy, that’s fine. However, a little razz-ma-tazz is a good thing at a sales meeting. There may be someone in your shop who is extra energetic and fun loving. Enlist him or her to help you with your sales training. Put them in charge of infusing fun into your meetings and contests.

Tap Into Tradition

I attended a snappy sales meeting that opened with the Pledge of Allegiance. Nice. You could include a recitation of your Company Mission Statement or your Code of Ethics. Make it formal and it will add to the focus of the meeting.

Basic rule No. 3: Be true to yourself. Bring your authentic self to the party and be present. That’s required. Dale Carnegie said that a good speaker opens up his chest so that people can see his heart. Show your team your heart. Tell them, with regularity, where you started, where you are now in your business and your life, and where you hope to be in the future. Let them know your values, the few things you will absolutely go to the wall on. Share your story.