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Special Report



by Bill Lee

One on One Meetings:  Regularly scheduled meetings between salesperson and sales manager or whoever is managing sales.

Meetings Frequency:  Monthly with high-achieving salespeople, but weekly or bimonthly with marginal performers.

Meetings Rules: 

  • Calendared meeting times are respected by both manager and salesperson
  • Turn off mobile phones and pagers to keep meetings uninterrupted
  • Stay on task, follow the agenda, don’t allow small talk to dominate meeting time


Length of Meetings:  Approximately one hour with new or struggling salespeople, but perhaps 15 to 30 minutes with top performers.

Purpose of Meeting:  Establish goals for the month and determine specifically what the salesperson is going to do to achieve them and what the sales manager is going to do to support that effort.  Review of progress with goals and action steps since last meeting.

Benefits of Regularly Scheduled Meetings: 

  • Way for manager to uncover root causes for salesperson’s success or failure
  • Gives the manager an opportunity to coach and train
  • Opportunity for the manager to keep salespeople motivated and focused

Among Topics for Sales Manager to Review in Meetings:

  • Number of sales calls on existing customers
  • Number of sales calls on assigned prospects, status of each prospect
  • Next step with assigned prospects, how to move to next level
  • YTD sales to new customers versus plan
  • Total Sales actual versus plan
  • Gross margin actual versus plan
  • Quote to order ratio
  • Number of takeoffs completed
  • Percentage takeoffs that resulted in orders
  • Obstacles encountered
  • Progress on preparation for window presentation
  • Progress on listening to sales training CDs

One on One Meeting Process

  • Review of commitments made by salesperson at last meeting
  • Review of key performance benchmarks
  • Discuss individual goals with individual customers and prospects
  • What’s working and what’s not working so well
  • Set action steps for timeperiod between now and the next meeting
  • Manager identifies progress he perceives salesperson is making
  • Manager identifies any danger signals he perceives; i.e., work ethic
  • Manager suggests ways to overcome obstacles alesperson is facing
  • Manager makes training and educational suggestions to salesperson

Typical Obstacles that Prevent Salespeople from Achieving their Full Potential:

  • Poor time management                               
  • Too many takeoffs
  • Quote and hope mentality
  • Failure to plan day/week
  • Too much time with accts. w/ low potential         
  • Failure to follow up
  • Poor product knowledge
  • Poor knowledge of construction
  • Passive, low drive, poor work ethic
  • Low economic values
  • Weak sales skills
  • Weak negotiating skills and/or knowledge                                 

Salespeople need four ingredients for success in sales:

  • Product knowledge and knowledge of construction
  • Sales skills
  • Strong work ethic
  • High drive for success, high economic values, hungry, committed

Many salespeople in our industry possess excellent product knowledge and knowledge of construction, but they lack the personal discipline to learn the sales skills their profession requires; they’re lazy and perhaps complacent; that is, content with mediocrity.

The sales manager’s job is to see to it that the salespeople under his direction achieve agreed-to sales and gross margin goals, whether using the salesperson’s approach to the sale or a system designed by the sales manager.  And if the salesperson is falling short of acceptable performance, what are the root causes…lack of skill or lack of will?

Summary at End of Each Meeting:  Review your notes and review the specific action steps the salesperson agreed to complete before the next meeting.  And most importantly, set a specific date and time for the next meeting, making sure the time is marked on each other’s calendar.

Meetings with top performers will differ from meetings with salespeople who are struggling. 

Top Performers:

  • Top performers are like racehorses; just nudge them in the right direction and they take off running
  • Most top performers enjoy brainstorming with their manager and are quick to come up with innovative ideas of their own to overcome obstacles
  • Sales managers or sales coaches need only to fine-tune the top performer’s approach with individual customers or prospects

Struggling Salespeople:

  • Strugglers tend to resist new ideas, so the sales manager may have to insist that these salespeople modify their approach or stop doing this and start doing that.
  • More time is spent with hands-on sales training
  • Sales manager prescribes specific action steps to improve performance
  • More role-playing exercises are necessary as a teaching technique
  • Issues surrounding work ethic must frequently be discussed

Warning: Don’t allow struggling salespeople to dominate your time and energy to the point that you neglect your top performers.

Concept of Coaching

The position of sales manager is wide-ranging, but in the simplest of terms, the purpose of the person managing sales is accountability for seeing to it that the sales force achieves the sales and gross margin goals of the company in spite of the obstacles that crop up along the way.  The most effective sales managers don’t get their motivation from making sales themselves, but from seeing their sales force grow as professionals.  To accomplish this, sales managers must be willing to relinquish making sales themselves in favor of teaching, nurturing and coaching the people on the front lines.

Common Prospecting Language

Sales managers and their salespeople can cut through a lot of verbiage by agreeing upon the internal terminology they will use to communicate where the salesperson is with each prospect.

Prospecting is a process, not an event.  The most effective salespeople follow a proven process to meet their new business goals.

© Lee Resources, Inc. 2007


© 2006 Lee Resources, Inc.

Bill Lee is a South Carolina-based business consultant and author of 30 Ways Managers Shoot Themselves in the Foot. ($21.95) and Gross Margin: 26 Factors Affecting Your Bottom Line ($29.95).  Both books are plus $6 S&H. See Shopping Cart at Or call 800-808-0534 to order via voice mail.


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