Posted by Kristi Shoemaker, EcSELL Institute
I came across this article in the SmartBrief on Leadership newsletter written by Katie Morell . Sales Managers understand the importance of holding 1:1 meetings with their direct reports. Katie's article provides some important tips to ensure those sessions are impactful. In addition to her tips, I have woven in some preliminary data from our "Through The Eyes of a Sales Rep" Sales Management Study in bold type. Consider having your sales reps take this survey - I guarantee you, as the Sales Manager, WILL learn something about your sales coaching, leadership and management style that you weren't aware of. (Email firstname.lastname@example.org if interested in having your sales team take the survey)
Request a clear agenda
Ask your employee to prepare a list of talking points prior to the meeting.
Ask them to come to the meeting with things you need to know about, challenges they are facing and items that they need your help with. If the responsibility is on the employee, it will change the dynamic of the meeting in a really good way and the employee will come more engaged.
In addition to asking an employee to come with an agenda, it is important for a sales manager to also be prepared for a one-on-one meeting. If you are prepared, the conversation will be much less stressful. It is also important to prepare for how you will end the conversation and move forward with advice or next steps for the employee.
Clear your desk
Most people will agree: talking with someone who is constantly checking their smart phone is beyond annoying. That frustration can also surface during one-on-one meetings.
Make sure you are clear of distractions before you meet with your employee. If you keep your phone on or are constantly glancing at your computer, your employee will feel belittled.
Meet often, but not too often
It is important for sales managers to meet with direct reports on a regular basis.
Setting up a standing meeting will help employers delegate more effectively; help employees think more clearly about what is important to them, their success and the company’s success; and the meting will turn into a normal course of business instead of a nerve-wracking event.
That said, make sure you aren’t meeting too often.
In the EcSELL Institute Sales Management Study, Through The Eyes of a Sales Rep, we asked "How often do you receive feedback from your direct sales manager on ways to improve your performance?" Shockingly 27% said NEVER!
We then asked, "How often would you prefer to receive feedback" and 53% said at least monthly or more! Ask your sales team this question.
Have you ever had a boss who loved to hear the sound of his own voice?
Guard against the tendency to talk all the time; instead, really encourage your employee to talk during a one-on-one meeting. Letting your employee talk is a great way to find out what is going on with them and in your business.
In the EcSELL Institute Sales Management Study we asked sales reps to rate "The importance of sales coaching skills versus their sales manager's actual coaching skill." 88% said sales coaching was important or very important to them but only 32% said their sales manager was strong or very strong in this area. This is a big gap that must be addressed in this profession.
If you and/or your sales management team need to brush up on your sales coaching skills, be sure to join us at our Sales Coaching Summit in Scottsdale, AZ on April 7-8, 2011.
After you have registered (hint hint) here is another fun article titled "5 Signs that Your Meeting Is a Waste of Time." Enjoy!