If you’ve ever found yourself stuck in a pointless meeting wondering, “Couldn’t this have been covered in an email?”, you’re not alone.
In a survey of 182 senior managers in a range of industries, the Harvard Business Review found that 65% of respondents said meetings keep them from completing their own work and 71% said meetings are unproductive and inefficient.
And bad meetings aren’t just frustrating; they’re bad for business. More than $37 billion per year is spent on unproductive meetings according to an eye-opening infographic from Fuze. Each minute spent in a meeting is one you’re not working deals and building relationships.
We’ve been talking to a number of small teams recently (ie. a few senior brokers, a junior broker, a transaction manager, and an assistant), and we’ve been inspired to bring you advice on how to make the most of the team meeting so every individual gets something useful out of it. While there’s no one size fits all solution for commercial real estate, there are certain tenets that hold true for everyone. Ultimately, a good meeting will make each broker more productive.
The do’s and don’ts of successful sales meetings
Do: Assign pre- and post-meeting “homework” to key stakeholders to ensure the meeting stays on track and doesn’t get sidetracked.
To make this easier, create a templated meeting outline so that everyone knows what needs to be prepared each week (or month, or day) and then have someone circulate the meeting notes post meeting, calling out any action items.
Don’t: Let meetings drag on forever.
Meetings should facilitate the sharing of knowledge in a productive and invigorating way. They are not for getting work done.
To stay efficient, consider setting strict cut-off times for meetings. Appoint a timekeeper who checks in at the midpoint and endpoint of the meeting. If the meeting is way off track by the halfway point then it’s time to move on to the biggest priority items to avoid disrespecting people’s time.
Do: Leverage technology to run more efficient meetings.
Aside from supercharging your prospecting and keeping your sales pipeline neat and organized, technology can serve as a powerful visual tool to make meetings less boring and more productive. Be sure to pull up your dashboard and use it as a reference throughout the meeting.
Don’t: Forget to test all your IT before the meeting starts.
There’s nothing worse than showing up to a meeting on time, only to sit for 10 minutes as someone struggles to get the conference phone to work. Bad IT leads to bad meetings. Assign someone to be the IT setup person and come to every meeting five minutes early to set up and test any necessary technology.
Do: Be conscious of the various seniority and product lines being represented in the room.
According to Fuze, upper management spends up to 50% of their time in meetings each week. On top of that, Fuze also estimates that people spend upwards of four hours each week preparing for status updates.
Meetings take up a huge chunk of the average professional’s time, so only invite those members of the team that will actually benefit from them. If senior level management could be kept up-to-date with a simple recap email, then cancel their meeting invite and let them get some work done.
Don’t: Make all-company meetings into deep dives.
While sales meetings can be a time for meaningful discussion, decide to what extent these discussions should happen and set limits. For example, if a topic spins off into one that is relevant only to a few members, suggest that they take the conversation offline and settle it in a 1 on 1 to avoid wasting everyone else’s time.
Do: Celebrate big victories.
According to one senior broker we interviewed, “The sales meeting is about setting tone for the week, getting people excited and getting them moving.” What better way to do this than to highlight the major victories of the week by calling out team members involved by name.
Don’t: Shy away from failure.
Just as important as celebrating the big wins is exploring failure. Without this key step, your team risks making the same mistake again and again.
Consider highlighting a loss in every meeting and determining what could be done differently next time.
Do: Take time to discuss industry happenings.
Meetings should be a time to leverage the collective knowledge that comes with working with a group. Make time to report on current events or market trends affecting the business.
Don’t: Make one person do all the talking.
Much of the monotony caused by weekly meetings can be attributed to speaker fatigue. When people become accustomed to the same person saying basically the same thing each week, they lose interest. Mix things up by appointing different team members to present each week, just be sure everyone knows what is expected and follows the predetermined meeting outline.
Whether you’re a junior associate or a seasoned leader, everyone plays a role in making sales meetings successful. Follow the basic do’s and don’ts to ban bad meetings forever.