Amanda is a comedy writer. The articles she writes here are meant to be fun, only somewhat information and completely funny. As with anything in life, don't take them too seriously.
If your boss starts the meeting off with a quote from Zig Ziglar, you should fake a bloody nose and get out of there. Due to the unforeseen pressures brought on by a weak economy, the holidays and the lull in sales during the summer, or any other explanation for low numbers, upper management is always thinking of clever ways to keep their sales teams motivated and excited to sell. And nothing says, “You can do it!” like motivational quotes, gold stars and food rewards.
Not since the first grade have sales people been praised with things they already have shoved amongst the clutter in their office desk. A Starbucks gift card! A bottle of wine! A trip to Cancun! Of course, we all know that with a little research on Groupon a luxury vacation can be done fairly inexpensively and it doesn’t require leaving the beach to attend a mandatory meeting with the team. Although pep talks, motivational quotes, sunshine and rainbow sprinkles are inspiring, the real incentive is a bigger bank account.
However, even the toughest critic would agree that because sales can be very nerve-racking, once in a while some solid inspiration from management who “sold long before the internet and cell phones existed” can break up the monotony. After all, with the exception of a career fireman who is only allowed to wear roller skates on the job, sales is one of the most stressful careers a person could have. So, a little motivating can go a long way. Keyword “little.”
When the boss encourages you to read books with titles like, The Emperor’s New Closers, Closer Encounters of the Sales Kind, Sales People Are Close-Minded, Sell Like an Over-privileged Girl Scout or Sell-a-bration Time, you know there’s some decent advice coming your way.
You may even get to borrow the boss’ own personal copy which, let’s face it, will get lost in the backseat of your car under the piles of demo swag and free samples. Then, after a month or so you’ll give up looking for it and either buy a new one or convince him you gave it back. Surely you’ll find at least one speck of stimulus from an author who wrote during their down time on a company sponsored vacation.
Jack Frazier, a salesman in Toledo had this to say about an exercise during a recentteam meeting
We were told to close our eyes and visualize selling grape Slurpees to penguins. This was a real challenge for me because everyone knows the best flavor is Very Berry Cherry.
But, upper management has high hopes their associates will get fired up with more than books. They see meetings as the answer to everything which is why they schedule them all the time. These obligatory one hour team meetings rarely leave attendees thinking, “That meeting was so great! Completely worth putting off cold calling prospects all morning. I needed to be reminded how to do everything that I’ve already been doing for the past 8 years at this job.” Even the rookie doesn’t walk out thinking, “Wow! I really needed that! I’m totally energized now!” The strategies that go into a “good” sales meeting are diverse.
To ensure the meeting is full of the best motivational techniques possible, you may find management has team building activities on the menu, complete with lessons built by fast forwarding through a few audiobooks on the drive into the office or lifted advice from the Zig Ziglar Fan-run Facebook page.
They assume that these meetings will not only transform, revive and jump-start the team, but the customer service end of sales will be revamped as well. Because, you are only as strong as the awareness, trust and respect you’ve earned. The reality is you and the rest of the attendees leave sleepy, bored, annoyed, and anything but encouraged. If anyone can muster up enough energy after crashing from eating one and a half overly glazed donuts and not moving for an hour, it’s simply to twirl a pointer finger in the air while shouting a sarcastic, “Whoopee!”
And those teambuilding exercises! Nothing like practicing selling to your sellers. Maximizing productivity and efficiency never looked so good. Spending 20 minutes partnering up with colleagues to discuss how they are inspired by them is only part of the agenda. Anyone who wants to stick around can have a jam session over lunch. But usually at the end of the meeting, everyone leaps out of their seats running for the door ready to sell, sell, sell!
Eliza Carlton, of Tallahassee described her experience with what her boss calls,
Moving-Forward Mornings.” She said, “As a 10 year sales veteran the only motivation I need in the mornings is for everyone to leave me alone until my coffee kicks in.
Despite constantly being told you’re part of the sales “family,” the truth is, sales success is somewhat individual. Whatever works for you, stick with that. Whether it’s a motivational mantra you used during your years on the High School wrestling team or a Post-It tacked up in your cubicle with a quote from Yoda, do whatever gets the job done.
Of course, you don’t have to let all those sales meetings and team building exercises go to waste. Team building exercises are fantastic party games and quotes like “Believe you can and you’re halfway there” can easily be applied to stomaching your Mother-In-Law's lasagna.