According to EcSell Institute research, one-to-one meetings with your reps may be one of the most critical factors in helping them perform. In our Through the Eyes of the Rep survey, we see strong relationships between reps that rate their one-to-one meetings with their managers as effective and reps that rate their managers as excellent leaders, coaches and effective at motivating them to greater sales importance. These relationships indicate that one-to-one meetings are one of the most critical activities you can do with your reps. So how do you make them effective?
We encourage you to use a consistent format. You can make your one-to-ones much more efficient and still create a positive impact if you know what you want to accomplish. EcSell Institute has found that the following topics should be covered in a good one-to-one meeting:
- Personal updates – Letting your reps know you care about them as a person, not just a sales rep is important to establishing trust with them. Take five minutes at the beginning of your one-to-ones to talk about what’s going on in their lives. Listen to what they did this weekend. Hear about their family. Ask about their hobbies. Just get to know them better.
- Activity/goal/pipeline updates – Discuss the performance data you have. Look for trends with them. Talk about areas where they are doing well. Talk about what can be improved. Staying on top of the execution of activities drives accountability, as well as ensures that you are dealing with any performance issues as proactively as possible.
- Customer/prospect updates – Many managers and reps spend nearly their entire one-to-one on this topic. While that is too one-dimensional, it certainly is important to talk through issues and opportunities regarding current and potential customers. When talking about customer/prospect issues, your main purpose should be to ask questions to help your reps learn how to diagnose and solve these issues on their own.
- Questions/where they need your help – This last category is basically an open-ended discussion. Give your reps the opportunity to ask questions about anything that’s been weighing on their mind. And be sure to ask them how you can help them in their work. Creating an open forum encourages them to feel comfortable discussing needs and issues with you and works to strengthen the trust and partnership between you.
Overall, one-to-one meetings can be a highly effective coaching activity with just some minor tweaks in how you spend this time with your reps. Try using the above format with your reps in 2014 and see if you are able to create a better dialogue that ultimately leads to better results.