When sales are down and it is your responsibility to improve them, it could be a challenging situation to get your sales people pumped up. You have to have a meeting about this topic, and the tone you set is very important. You can be angry and threatening or you can try something else!
The tone you set for this meeting is very important. Your salespeople already know sales are down and probably are saddened and embarrassed. They don't need to be beat down any further. The goal here is for your people to leave this meeting with a renewed confidence to do better.
Be positive; greet everyone personally and with a smile. Remove the tension from the room. Maybe some refreshments would be in order. Get people to relax.
Go over the negative sales numbers, but don't point anyone out who didn't do well. Accentuate the positive. Mention someone who did well and a compliment may be in order. No one wants to be put down in public, but everyone enjoys praise.
Explain your current position. If you are a middle manager, you may let them know that your job is at stake if sales don't improve. If you are the owner, maybe the threat of closing the doors looms, which would mean everyone's loss. Be honest and open with your people, being careful not to paint a depressive gloom and doom picture.
Go over current marketing materials, products and services. Open up the floor for comments and suggestions. Involve everyone so they feel they have a voice. Maybe the latest piece of marketing material needs improvement? What can "you" and the company do to make things better? Take notes on any valid ideas.
Mention any new products or services due to be introduced in the future along with benefits that would occur with increased sales. Have those who have been doing well with their sales talk about what has worked for them.
Describe new sales goals and gain realistic commitments from everyone. Pie in the sky, out of reach goals, when not accomplished, will only further depress your people. Keep the goals within reach. Sincerely offer yourself to work with anyone who needs your additional guidance. The goal for this meeting is to lay your cards out on the table -- the consequences and rewards of their upcoming performance -- with everyone leaving that meeting knowing their responsibilities, but with a positive attitude and a willingness to do better. You don't want them to leave feeling threatened, beat down or negative. A salesperson needs to feel positive and important and supported in order to sell -- not the opposite!
- Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images