One-on-One Meetings: To Have or Not to Have

Sales leaders, how often do you schedule one-on-one meetings with each of your direct reports? Are you making it a priority to have individual meetings with each of your salespeople on a regular basis?

Lisa recently held a private leadership training for a group of sales managers and was surprised to hear that they don’t regularly meet one on one with their direct reports. Despite knowing the importance of holding these individual sessions to plan and develop each individual on their team, they mentioned that they simply don’t have the time to meet one on one with everyone weekly, monthly or even quarterly.

“Are One-on-One Meetings Really That Important?”

In Lisa’s nearly 30 years of experience in leadership, it always shocks her when quality one-on-one meetings between managers and direct reports are lacking. If given the choice of selecting just one task that managers could perform regularly to have the greatest impact on the individuals on their sales teams, Lisa would without a doubt choose scheduling, planning and conducting frequent, quality one-on-one meetings.

These meetings provide an opportunity for sales leaders to discuss an individual’s performance privately and on a higher level than they’d be able to otherwise. It gives everyone an opportunity to:

  • Review progress against goals
  • Discuss challenges that they are facing
  • Debrief on past successes and failures
  • Strategize on upcoming opportunities
  • Coach or role play to fine-tune key sales skills
  • Set new S.M.A.R.T. goals, tactics and strategies
  • Provide encouragement and motivation

While most sales leaders do interact with their team consistently on an ad hoc basis throughout each day and may even meet occasionally with everyone as a group, one-on-one meetings provide necessary quality face time with each individual.

“But I Don’t Have Time”

We get it – time is our most valuable resource and there never seems to be enough of it. If you are a parent or caregiver of more than one child, for example, you likely understand the importance of spending quality time with each one individually. The same goes for your direct reports; spending quality time with each person on your team is by far one of the best uses of your time and there is no other activity you can do as a leader that can provide a larger return on your investment.

The good news is that you don’t need to schedule these meetings weekly. Depending on their performance and experience level, the cadence doesn’t have to be as frequent for one person as it is for another. At a minimum, it’s recommended that you meet with each person monthly. However, some salespeople may require bi-weekly or even weekly meetings with their managers. Once you determine the cadence for each person, you can then plan out the meetings on your calendar as a key priority and initiative.

When you do start to hold these individual meetings, you’ll see the results of your efforts soon after and begin to truly understand why they are a critical component to the success of not only each individual but to the entire team as a whole.

“But They Don’t Want Meet with Me”

When asked, salespeople will often say that they don’t want to or need to meet one on one. Salespeople don’t want to feel micromanaged or that their manager is “looking under the hood.”  However, accountability, consistent reinforcement and development is needed to help them achieve their goals. As managers, we are tasked with helping everyone maximize their performance and potential. This means that even your top performers need your continuous guidance, motivation and development to be the very best that they can be.

This quality time you spend also indicates to your sales team that their success is your number one priority, and it allows each person to feel properly cared for, supported and developed while learning and improving on their job responsibilities and career. They’ll also have an opportunity to provide feedback for you, and you’ll be able to gather valuable intel on how you are performing as a leader. Don’t schedule regular individual meetings and you’re selling both yourself and the people who work for you short.

“I’m Not Sure Where to Start”

You can begin by setting aside some time in your schedule to meet one on one with each person. Even if you can’t block out a full hour, you can start with 30 to 45 minutes. Once the meetings are scheduled, it is important that you set yourself up to get the most out of the time allotted. As with any other meeting you’re running, it is critical that you review key information ahead of time, determine what you believe to be the top three areas of focus that can have the biggest impact on their performance, and make a list of what you want to accomplish in the meeting so that you can be purposeful and methodical.

“I Need Some Help!”

We’ve got you! Download our Coaching Session Form for guidance on how to run an effective one-on-one meeting, including key agenda items to cover and questions you can ask during your time together.

Need more help? Over the years, we’ve helped hundreds of sales managers determine how best to support their direct reports, help them maximize their performance and potential, and achieve next-level leadership success and we’d be happy to help you as well! Contact us for more tips, strategies and ideas you can implement right away to see results immediately.

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