Every one-on-one meeting with someone who reports to you is unique. Each will have its own priorities and its own dynamic, based on the personalities, experiences, and professional roles of the participants. That said, there are some important topics for sales leaders to cover during each weekly one-on-one meeting with any salesperson.
Here are the five critical topic points that we share with our clients.
1. “Where are we in relation to goal?” Here, we are trying to get an update on what the status is regarding progression toward a given, mutually understood, mutually accepted goal. This question might connect to a behavioral goal, such as how many voice-to-voice discussions with new contacts took place since the last time we met; or it could connect to a goal to bring a certain number of qualified leads into the pipeline; or it could connect to a goal to close a certain amount of business by a certain point in time. But the end result is still the same: we’re trying to get a snapshot of where we are now compared to where we were at our last one-on-one meeting. We also are gauging the confidence we hear when the salesperson speaks about progress toward the agreed-upon goal – does tonality and body language match with what they are telling us? Do they really believe what they’re saying? Do they have good, actionable, next steps in place?
2. “Where do you need help?” A one-on-one meeting is the perfect opportunity to ask a salesperson where they need help. This is extremely important. They may need tactical help; they may need organizational resources you can send their way or help them track down; they may just need someone to talk to about what’s going on in their lives. Whatever the case may be, take a look at what’s going on between their ears – not just what’s going on in terms of revenue since your last discussion.
3. “Let’s look at the behavior plan.” It’s important that, during one-on-one meetings, we look closely at the leading indicators – the measurable behavioral targets that support business development – and not just the lagging indicators, like closed sales and total revenue. Setting performance targets for the leading indicators should be the focus of the salesperson’s behavioral plan, or cookbook, as we call it here at Sandler. We should be inspecting the cookbook at every single meeting. It will reveal whether we’ll be looking at a well-rounded book of business down the line … and also tell us from a coaching perspective where the person may be having problems. If the salesperson is doing the behaviors but still struggling, it may be a sign that there is a coaching or training issue.
4. “Let’s look at the coaching plan.” Discussing the salesperson’s ongoing coaching plan is another vitally important part of the one-on-one meeting. Salespeople want to improve over time, and, as managers, we need to provide coaching (and training) to support their goals. Of course, we want to coach them to help them hit their income goals. In addition to supporting those immediate targets, though, we should also be coaching (and training) them to support their long-term professional development. This should include identifying the next professional role they may want to move into, determining how realistic that is and, if possible, helping them to prepare to move into that role. Focusing on the long term in this way helps us to improve the relationship with the individual salesperson and it also strengthens our bench.
5. “What are the most important calls you have coming up?” We should review pre-call planning during the weekly one-on-one meeting. Let the salesperson tell you about their big upcoming discussions … and then decide which ones you want to plan for together. During your weekly meetings, get into the habit of planning at least one joint call. That will help you assist your sales team take their game to the next level – a win-win for everyone.
Cover these five topics during your weekly one-on-one meetings with salespeople, and you will both stay focused and on track.
Learn more about coaching your sales team in this blog post.