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Use creativity for your sales meetings

From the Ground Up

Any business with a sales force has sales meetings. Sometimes it seems that the meetings are held just for the sake of having meetings. If you are in charge of the sales meeting, here are some ideas you might use to liven up your gatherings of marketing agents.

Advertising agency representative: If your company uses television advertising ask a representative from the advertising agency to make a presentations to your sales team on what makes a successful TV ad. Even if you don’t use advertising, agency representatives are a gold mine of information about what motivates buyers.

Advertising manager of local newspaper: This person can tell your agents what types of ads get results.

Agent’s choice: Assign one meeting per quarter to an agent(s) who volunteers to be in charge of putting on the program. You’ll be pleased with the results.

Ad-writing contest: Hold a contest for the best ad. Let agents vote without knowing who wrote what. Have a small prize for the winner.

Body language: Get a book from the library on this subject and make a presentation, or invite a local college professor to give a short program on the subject.

Case studies: Write a short (one-page) description of a difficult or controversial incident you have faced in your sales career. Have your agents break up into groups and report on how they would have handled the situation. You don’t have to disclose that it happened to you.

Chamber of Commerce: This group is loaded with information your agents need. Demographics, largest employers, local attractions, etc.

Elected official: You’ll be surprised how quickly your local council member or state representative will accept your invitation. Have him or her give a update on recent legislation and other items that affect your company.

Dressing for success: Get a copy of Robert Malloy’s latest “Dress for Success” book and do a program on it. How about a fashion show using your agents as models?!

Fitness and health: I’ll bet your local hospital has a speaker’s bureau on this subject. For variety you could have blood pressure and cholesterol testing. It might not even be a bad idea to consider first aid and CPR training as a program.

History of the city: There are lots of ways to approach a program on this subject. Call your local research librarian for the name of someone who can speak on this subject.

Non-profit organization: Pick one — Habitat for Humanity, abused children, halfway house, Salvation Army — and invite a representative to your meeting. Many companies are starting relationships with schools and non-profits. This is also a way to introduce the concept of having your company adopt a charity and support it on a regular basis.

Problem solving: Conduct a roundtable workshop. Ask agents to present problems they are having that need to be solved. Ask other agents to solve the problem.

Radio commercial contest: Divide agents into groups and have them come up with a one minute radio commercial about your companies. Don’t forget to tell them to use sound effects. A prize for the winner!

Telephone procedures: Have a skit using your agents as buyers, sellers and company agents. Blend a mixture of comedy and serious calls.

TV commercial: Divide agents into teams and have them produce a skit depicting a TV commercial for your company.

Test and discuss: Let’s play school. Have a 10-question quiz on issues that are important to your company. Use the quiz as your outline on the subject matter.

Video: Set up your video recorder and have agents give a personal testimonial. Then discuss how to use video as a sales tool.

A little creativity can go a long way toward making your sales meetings something to look forward to. These ideas should be considered as a supplement to your nuts and bolts meetings, not a replacement. Try one or two and see what happens. I predict that you will be pleased with the results.

Phil Hardwick’s column appears regularly in the Mississippi Business Journal. His e-mail address is hardwickp@aol.com.

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