You’ve been to these events before. You know you are going to have to sit through a session on where your company is going. You are also going to be forced to relive your collective performance last year. There is no way you are getting out of the room without applauding your peers who made President’s Clubs, and you know you will feel a slight tinge of something resembling envy when the rep who inherited all of their accounts name gets called, knowing he was given a gift that you were not.
Time is your single, finite, non-renewable resource. When you believe this is true and understand the implications, you’ll everything in your power not to waste your time. In this case, you can do meaningful work while attending your kickoff meeting.
Move Your Seat: You will notice that people tend to sit next to the people they know and with whom they are comfortable. You can make a better choice. You can sit with people you don’t know, and more specifically the people who are ahead of you on the stack rankings. Make relationships with people who can share insights about how they outperform their peers and make plans to develop that relationship post SKO.
Listen with Intention to Learn: When your CEO shared the company’s business and roadmap, describes the competitive landscape, and speaks on how you intend to create greater value for your clients in the next year, you are getting access to the strategic conversation she would have were she talking to her peer. You can learn from this and develop a talk track to have higher level conversations with your clients. You will find points of differentiation you can use, but you have to pay attention and take careful notes.
Track the Numbers: Listen, I have been in sales kickoff meetings where the CEO reviewed the final results, was followed by the CFO who provided a more granular look at the numbers, who was then followed by the Sales Leader who put all of those numbers under a microscope. One thing was certain, they really cared about these numbers. Your mission is to understand these numbers and figure out why they are what they are. If you notice that the reps that made president’s club also sold more of the new product, there may be a lesson that for you. Where there is a difference in numbers between one group and another, there is something you can take away to produce better results yourself.
Drink the Kool Aid: There are cynics in every crowd. There will be one at your table or in your row. They will scoff at each of the speakers, internal or external. They’ll com-plain about the quota and the change to the comp plan, even though they never do enough work to benefit from their compensation and couldn’t hit their quota even if you gave them a head start. The “rah rah” stuff? Say “rah rah.” The new program? Buy it hook, line, and sinker. If you don’t believe that your company is good, that it sincere in its attempt to create value, and that it is better than the options, you will never convince others what you are not convinced of yourself.
Open Your Mind to New Possibilities: Yes, you have been in sales for many years. But yes also, you have had the same year many years in a row. The trainers know you know how to sell. Be open to new choices and new ways of doing things. At conference, trainer told me his company had reps that send calendar invites to their prospects and 25% accept and attend the meeting. I would have never been so bold, but if it works, it is worth looking at, even if it makes your uncomfortable. Especially if it makes you uncomfortable.
Write Your Plan: The problem with most people’s engagement in kickoff meetings is that they have every intention of taking action but go right back to doing what they’ve always done. Don’t leave any session without writing down the first thing you are go-ing to do upon returning to work. Ideas are cheap, execution is priceless. Go back refreshed, recharged, and ready to do good work.