They buy the salesperson first, then the product

They buy the salesperson first, then the product

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at

UntitledMaking sales meetings productive and exciting.

Monday morning sales meetings. Hate to go? “Oh, just another boring sales meeting.” you say.

Meetings in a rut? Sick? Wanna make them GREAT?

Ask yourself these hard questions:
1. How much time do you spend preparing the meeting? Little or none?
2. Do your meetings have a purpose, or do you just “have them?”
3. How much of the meeting is sales solutions? Sales training?
4. What percent is boring, humdrum stuff?
5. How much of your sales meeting is negative “sell more or else” stuff?
6. How much of your meeting is salespeople complaining?
7. When’s the last time you heard someone say “Great meeting!”
8. Are your meetings setting the tone for success?
9. Are your meetings sales-making or spirit-breaking?

If your scorecard is borderline, you’re vulnerable to lack-luster salespeople, who will have lack-luster sales results. Which leads to higher than normal employee turnover. Rut-row.

Sales staff meetings are a vital link between what your company expects the sales team to do, and what actually gets sold in the trenches. It is a place where marketing is converted to sales. But how often is the opportunity these meetings provide lost? Too often. Biggest reason: Heavy concentration on minutia (reports, forms, rules) and problems (what’s wrong with the person, the customer, the product, or the service).

Sales meetings should be a forum for reporting, goal achievement assistance, encouragement, problem solving, training, sharing and communication. The purpose of a sales meeting is to get the sales staff primed and pumped to sell.

    Here are a few hints of what to do and what NOT to do so that meetings are more fun, educational and productive:

  • Avoid individual problems. Concentrate on group concerns and opportunities. Think: could I handle this one-on-one? If yes, do it away from the group. If the problem is a great lesson, share it and ask for solutions from each team member.
  • Avoid individual reprimands in front of the group. Why embarrass anyone? It makes EVERYONE uncomfortable, makes the boss look foolish, and makes the employee hate you and want to quit.
  • Avoid the statement: “OK everyone, we gotta have some better attitudes around here.” Start with your own and set the example
  • Avoid an over-emphasis on the negative. People know when goals are not being met – do something on the solution side
  • Avoid “product information drone.” Most product info can be written or recorded. Salespeople hate product-info-overload. HINT: A better idea is to tell them the best methods of getting prospects and customers to buy the new product.

The biggest overlooked issue in a sales meeting? The answer will surprise you: SALES TRAINING. The reason is that most sales managers aren’t great at training, or don’t have enough field experience to communicate real answers. Plus, great training takes time to prepare, and many managers don’t want to invest the time.

The easy answer is outside training. Use the internet. Now web-training in video format is available and can be accessed in your meeting room by high speed modem at affordable rates.

    In case you wonder what elements of a sales meeting will get the highest productivity from your sales team, here ‘tiz…

  • Salespeople will produce if encouraged.
  • Salespeople will produce if challenged.
  • Salespeople will produce if offered incentive.
  • Salespeople will produce if respected.
  • Salespeople will produce if rewarded.
  • Salespeople will produce if trained and educated.
  • Salespeople will produce if given answers.
  • Salespeople will produce if the atmosphere is positive.
  • Salespeople will produce if the sales leader leads by example.

Are these the elements of your meetings?

Is there a secret to get the meeting off to a GREAT start? Sure – GREAT FOOD. Salespeople crawl in at 7:30 or 8:00 and they need great coffee, fresh orange juice, hot bagels – the works. What you want to hear is a chorus of “Wow, great food!” It sets the tone for a great meeting.

The rest is up to you.

Free GitBit…Want to find out where to get GREAT web-based sales training? Want meetings at your place to be GREAT? Want a sample meeting agenda that will begin to fuel the sales fire? I got it all and you can have it. Go to – register if you’re a first time user, and enter the words GREAT MEETING in the GitBit box.

Jeffrey Gitomer, President of Charlotte-based BuyGitomer, Inc., gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. His book The Sales Bible is available in bookstores everywhere. He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or email him at