Butch’s Mailbag: Tips For A Manager’s First Sales Meeting

Dear Butch,

I’ve recently been promoted to a Section Manager at (my company) and will be holding my first sales meeting that I’m responsible for on June 1. I’ll have 9 reps there. Any tips or ideas you can give a newbie?

Thanks and I enjoy reading your site.

Kris J.


Congratulations! This sounds like an exciting time in your career. Hopefully, I can give you a little something you can build on today.

First, I noticed your sales meeting is on a Friday. Is that mandatory? Who sets that time? I’m assuming it’s during the day? The reason I ask is that I would get away from sales meetings during a work day as fast as possible. If you have any input at all, you should change that to Saturday morning. Start early and get everyone out at a decent time, but I personally hate to take selling time for meeting time.

You have 9 reps there—with travel time let’s assume it’s going to be an 8 hour day with the meeting, wrap up and all. That means you’re losing 72 hours of selling time plus your time. On top of that, if your competitors find out what day your sales meetings are held (notice I omitted the name of your company), they’ll be all over your customers that day (if they’re smart). So, that’s the first thing I’d do—if you have the authority to make that change.

With that said, here are my 5 Rules of Sales Meetings (feel free to print this and copy it to all your reps if you like)

1-Be Positive: Attitude is truly everything. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t discuss problems or issues or stick your head in the sand. But, there is a proper way to openly discuss legitimate issues.

2-Be On Time: Maybe my biggest pet peeve. Be ready to go when the meeting starts. Not milling around at the coffee pot and drift in and start 20 minutes late.

3-Be Professional: This is a Sales Meeting, not a bull session. You and everyone else are there to learn, improve and grow. That’s not to say you can’t have a good time (I always try to make my meetings enjoyable), but first and foremost is professionalism.

4-Be Respectful: If you have a presenter, speaker or vendor show them the same respect you want when you are calling on a prospective customer. Sales karma is huge. Pay attention and listen, you might learn something.

5-Be Involved: Sales meetings should be dialogue not monologues. Get everyone involved and participating in some way. Everyone is there to learn and grow and the more they participate the more likely they are to ask questions. And, isn’t that what you want?

Kris, I hope this helps. Let me know how the meeting turns out.

Question: Do you have any tips for new Sales Managers? Or, if you have a question for the mail bag you can email it to me at butchbellah@gmail.com