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The Sales Shrink – I’m Glad It’s Not My Money

by Tina Cherpes, Featured Contributor

Behavior Therapy – #11

AMY SHRUGGED, “Okay so I was bored… I sat there thinking if I added up everyone’s salary in this room, this meeting probably costs the company about $750 an hour.  I guesstimated each of us spends about 90 minutes a day in various meetings; that’s more than $280,000 a year and we’re not the only people who meet; I’m glad it’s not my money.”

sales shrinkMany of us have questioned the value of meetings and now perhaps, we understand why; according to a 3M Network Survey, between 25-50 percent of the time people spend in meetings is wasted.  If on average those statistics are true, it means Amy’s team alone is responsible for a revenue drain on her firm somewhere between $70,000-$140,000 annually.

And while Amy shared her relief that it’s not her money (we’ll explore that topic in another issue) there are a few steps she and other members of her team can take to minimize waste and maximize efficiencies.  When meetings absolutely must occur, establishing a few simple ground rules for facilitation can help effect meaningful change.

1. Ownership: whoever called the meeting is in control of it and is responsible for defining the desired outcome(s).

2. Be Selective: invite key-decision makers; productivity goes down with increasing numbers of participants.

3. Be Transparent: be clear about why you’re meeting and make sure every meeting participant knows (in advance) why the meeting is being held and what role they are expected to play.

4. Create a Roadmap: create and follow an agenda; it provides the facilitator with a tool to stay on track and allows all participants to keep moving toward the desired outcome(s).

5. Honor Time Commitments: begin and end the meeting at the agreed upon times regardless of who’s late or if the agenda items haven’t been finished; over time, attendance behaviors will become more consistent.

6. 30 Minute Max: adult attention span is 20-25 minutes; exceed that, and we run the risk of counter-productivity.

7. Celebrate Success: find a sincere reason (teamwork, showing up on time, being prepared, etc.) to show appreciation and/or commend participants publicly; if there’s an opportunity to incorporate small gifts-take it.

If our meeting doesn’t move the sales process forward; enhance revenue; or increase net revenue through expense reduction, we may want to carefully consider whether it’s truly necessary. When meetings absolutely must occur, we can leverage the 7 tips listed above to help us improve our team’s effectiveness and add more bottom-line value.


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