It’s another Monday morning, and you find yourself surrounded by yawning colleagues, open laptops, and Starbucks disposable cups in the conference room while your sales manager drones on with the latest numbers and pipeline update. You check your email, check the news, and check your watch – can we get out already?
Why do sales meetings have to be so boring?
Weekly team meetings are a staple in the sales world, every rep has been a part of one. Yet as we all know, team meetings all happen with varying degrees of effectiveness and success.
It may seem controversial, but we believe sales reps should leave every team meeting having learned something new. They should have new knowledge, new strategies, or new tools that they can rely on to be successful. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. All too often, sales team meetings become humdrum status updates that get nothing done. Salespeople need to feel like the company and its culture and systems support their success. Instead of the holding the typical boring team meeting, put in some extra thought and effort and use it as time for engaging sales exercises to continually improve your team’s skills and knowledge. You shouldn’t use the same old sales exercises week in and week out, so try these nine creative sales exercises to keep your weekly team meeting interesting.
Identify all the different ways your reps describe your company and its products. Start by breaking your team into groups of three or more. Give each group five minutes to create a 40-second sales pitch about your company and its products or services. The pitch needs to state who we are, what we do and why our products or services are valuable.
Have a volunteer from each group present the pitch they created and discuss which elements are effective. You can use this information to craft a master pitch that everyone can use.
You can also have shorter pitches created by allowing two and a half minutes to create a 20-second pitch or one minute to create a 10-second pitch.
What’s in the box?
Allow your team to practice gathering information by asking close-ended and open-ended questions while demonstrating how much easier it is to obtain information by asking open-ended questions.
Pair reps into groups of two and provide each with a box containing a random item. During the first round, each participant is allowed to ask their partner 10 close-ended questions to determine what’s in the other’s box. If an individual was not able to guess the item, they’re allowed three open-ended questions in the second round.
You could vary this game by choosing one of your product’s features or find a common problem that you solve for prospects. Then have reps practice identifying that problem or feature using the same game format.
Identify common objections and practice effective responses with this exercise. Start by describing several different situations where your reps might encounter objections and put them on index cards. Distribute the cards to your team members and ask them to write a response on their card. Collect the cards and have team members role-play the various scenarios. After each one discuss how effective the response was and why.
In the news
Have your reps look for industry news and bring their top stories to each meeting. You may also have reps take turns reporting on what’s happening in your industry or key industries you serve.
This exercise encourages your reps to share knowledge and best practices while assisting in the development of a sales and account strategy. Start by asking each person to prepare an account or customer profile. They should include the current sales objective, the key players, history and any other relevant information around the current status of the account. Next, have each team member provide one idea, suggestion or question to add value for the customer and advance the sale. Keep going around the room until all ideas are exhausted.
Knowing about the competition can give your team an advantage. For this exercise, assign a competitor to each of your sales reps. Have them research the competition and prepare a comparison against your offering. Provide specific guidelines about what information they should collect. Every week have a different team member take a turn reporting on their findings and discuss the group’s conclusions about how the two measure up against each other.
Listen and learn
Listening is an important skill for salespeople to develop. It allows them to easily build rapport, uncover buyer needs, and show prospects they understand. This, in turn, helps them gain their prospects’ trust and advance the sale.
One way to help your reps develop their listening skills is by pairing them off, then designating a speaker and a listener. Have speaker talk about something they care about for 90 seconds. The listener needs to listen intently and then summarize what they heard. This is good practice for reps when listening to prospects and needing to confirm understanding of needs, concerns and desired solutions.
Customer empathy mapping
This is an exercise to help your team put themselves in their prospect’s shoes by better understanding their feelings, influences, tasks, pain points and goals. Start by selecting one of your company’s buyer personas then hold a brainstorm session with your sales team around it. You’ll paint a clearer picture of each prospect type if you answer questions like:
- What are they thinking and feeling on a daily basis?
- What are they hearing from friends, family, co-workers and others who influence their decisions?
- What are they seeing in terms of other products, services and people they interact with?
- What tasks are they completing?
- What are they saying to the people around them?
- What are their main pain points relating to your product or service?
- How might they gain from your product or service?
- What are the common questions they’ll have during the sales process?
Arming your reps with this information helps them sell more empathetically.
Meet the customer
Invite existing customers from various industries and job titles to a team meeting once a month. Use video conferencing or speaker phone to interview them. You’ll learn about their day-to-day, their challenges, their concerns and what they like about your offering, to list a few.
Give these nine sales exercises a try in your weekly sales meetings. They will keep them interesting while improving your team’s knowledge and skills. Respond in the comments below to let me know of any additional creative sales exercises you use to prevent your weekly team meetings from becoming monotonous.