It’s not that meetings can’t be useful

An interesting recent survey suggests that sellers think sales meetings are more important than their customers do. A third of buyers say vendors “rarely or never” add value to the purchasing process!

As somebody who thinks that meetings are pure evil, that made me smile. It’s not that they can’t be useful, but that the cost of them is just so conveniently underestimated. It’s not uncommon for company A, who wants to sell £500-worth of products to company B, to send a sales rep on a 2-hour drive to do so. Even if the sale was guaranteed, as long as the meeting took place, that makes little sense. The cost of the sales rep’s 5 hours, plus travel, is what? £200? Probably more. Would the profit on a £500 sale cover this?

Sure, there might be repeat orders which wouldn’t require further meetings, etc. But you all know what I’m getting at. Our motorways are jammed solid with sales reps travelling to meetings just because their competitors do too. As a buyer, this makes the whole vendor selection process drawn out and costly. No wonder so many buyers do so much pre-selection online.

Discussion

  1. Andy Harris

    So true – we’ve had people who want to buy what is a £49/month service but want us to travel to them (typically UK, but could be a long distance away) to “have a meeting”. Makes no sense – £49 x 12 months (£588) minus travel costs and value of the person going to the meeting: hey presto, no profit (in fact, a loss).

    But there are some people out there who really do think that people will travel to them to get the sale – bizarre!

  2. Peter Swanson

    I firmly believe that these statistics are the result of poor sales processes, not the meetings per se. Meetings which have well defined agendas and objectives mutually agreed beforehand, which are run to a schedule, and which generate a set of agreed actions from both sides, usually add value. This mantra applies to sales meetings too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *