“It was a good meeting.” As a sales manager, how many times have you heard that from your reps after they meet with a client or prospect? Every time I hear about the “good meeting,” I start by asking WHY it was a good meeting.
What is your typical response? Do you just say, great! Tell me what happened? If you do, then at that point, you’re likely listening to some endless amount of detail coming at you. The full download of who showed up, what was discussed, every bit of the conversation dissected and reviewed. Wow – that’s a lot of data to digest for a meeting that may not have been as good as you think.
Here’s the problem. If you’re managing 10 people and they each have 3 meetings a day, how much time do you have to digest all of this information? Do you want to hear about all meetings, or just the “good” ones?
Let’s do the math. If that’s 30 meetings a day across your sales team, and each one takes at least 15 minutes to review, then that’s a minimum of 7.5 hours a day to review the details of all these good meetings. Do you have time for this? And, how do you keep track of all these meeting details in your head? Let’s step back a minute and decide on the definition of a “good meeting.”
A good meeting is one in which your sales rep plans for an outcome (getting the buyer to do something) that progresses the deal forward, and that outcome is successfully accomplished.
This way, when they tell you it was a good meeting, you can ask what their expected outcome was and whether or not they accomplished it. If the answer is yes, then it took all of 2 minutes to explain and you can move on to other things, such as how to escalate the deal further. If the answer is no, then discuss how to overcome the obstacles that may be in the way.
To turn a good meeting into a great one, your sales reps just need to be a bit bolder in setting and achieving the outcome of the meeting. They can set both an outcome and a bolder outcome. It’s still a good meeting if they meet the agreed-upon outcome. But if the buyer meets an even bolder outcome, then that good meeting turns into a great meeting.
Now, I’m not saying that the details of a meeting are not important. But you’ll want to discuss them in a broader sense as they relate to a particular account strategy or opportunity pursuit. There is a time and place for meeting reviews, and typically they should involve multiple people so sales reps do not have to continually repeat themselves. But when you ask your rep about a meeting and they say it was good, then make sure they can qualify it by achieving an outcome that moves the deal forward.