All us sales managers love our power point slides.
In fact, we love them way too much its killing our sales management leadership.
As soon as you fire up the LCD projector, find the right setting so your presentation actually shows on the screen instead of only on your computer (hit “function f8″ by the way)…chances are pretty good, you’ve already lost them.
As Jerry McGuire might have said, you lost them before you even said hello…
Unless they’re in the mood for a nice afternoon nap, salespeople by and large, hate power point slide presentations. They just don’t want to hear you talk to the screen about sales figures from Q4 in yet another snazzy pie chart engineered by Bill Gates’ programmers.
By the way, power point slides are not your personal teleprompter…you actually gotta look at the crowd…but that’s another post for another day. :-)
Anyway, your sales people would just much rather hear themselves talk instead of hearing you talk.
Pulling a Sales Management Audible
I was watching ESPN the other day and there is a new show on there called “Audibles” in which the entire show’s format is entirely based on questions either tweeted or posted on the Audibles Facebook page.
Anyone from “loneyboy21″ to “diehardpackerfan” to “tragiccubbie” can post a question on Facebook or Twitter and the panel of former NFL stars will answer and discuss the question live on the show in real time.
I have no idea how the show is doing, but I thought it was a tremendous idea. And of course, as a sales management training guy, as soon as I saw the show I related it to what we all do as sales managers.
Probably like you, I used to have monthly sales meetings where the entire sales region gets together, sits down for a day and listens to power point presentations…
At the end of the six hour sales meeting, we were then divided into our “district breakouts” where the sales manager could have his group to himself to talk to.
Most times, I had a set of thirty or so power points carefully crafted to reiterate my very important sales management message, ready to cram it down their throats in the hour that we would have together.
This time, after the incredibly long sales meeting filled with too many power point presentations to even count, I decided to pull my own “sales management audible”.
Sensing my sales group could not possibly stand yet another power point, I canned my meticulously planned power point speech, pulled out a flip chart, sat on one of the desks a few feet away from my sales team and started asking my salespeople what their biggest issues were.
To prevent total anarchy, I had one ground rule: if you bring up an issue, you need to have at least ONE idea for a solution. Otherwise they were not allowed to bring it up.
It didn’t even need to be a good solution, but it had to be a solution nonetheless.
Once we decided on two or three of the biggest issues, we started discussing solutions.
With everyone talking, we wrote the solutions on another flip chart. And after some initial bitching and moaning, we came up with some pretty good solutions.
Of course, you as the sales manager need to monitor the conversation and steer it accordingly. Its up to you to make sure it goes in the right direction.
After an hour or so of this, one of my sales reps came up to me after (and this was one of the ones who was not a brown-noser) said it was the best sales breakout she had ever been in.
I think I used power point slides maybe once or twice after that day until I left the company.
Sales Management Training on The Evils of Powerpoint
Do you have a power point slide addiction?
If you do, don’t sweat it. We all do. But there’s still time to change.
Why does the strategy outlined above work so well?
There are a few reasons:
1. It shocks them because its different
2. It gets your salespeople talking and it gets them talking on solutions….and most of your salespeople love to talk about their issues.
3. They came up with better solutions than I ever could have.
4. Because of the ground rules, it never turned into a “bitch session”. That’s why the ground rules are so important. When a bunch of salespeople sit around and talk about issues, watch out! The ground rules solved this however.
5. It was not a power point presentation
So the next time you have a sales meeting, turn the power point slide idea on its head…ask your salespeople what they want to talk about instead.
Kill the sales management power point slides and get out a whiteboard or a big white paper easel and start writing down their issues. Then openly discuss it with your sales group.
Talk about the issues of the day and then come up with solutions by discussing it among the group. Make it lively and make it fun. Get every one involved.
I guarantee you it will be one of the best sales meetings you’ve ever had.
What’s your best idea for a sales meeting?
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