12 Tips for Building the Perfect Retail Sales Meeting

Retail Sales MeetingsSince many retail outlets are open 7 days a week, planning team meetings and internal conferences presents some challenges. I had the privilege of spending the weekend with one of my favorite clients in the retail industry. Every 1 - 1 1/2 years, they bring the team from all locations together for a weekend meeting and internal mini-conference. We spent the last few months planning this year's meeting. Here are 12 take-aways for building the perfect retail sales meeting.

  1. Make it accessible.
  • Vary the location (e.g. Do it in the west one year and the east another. Pick a venue that is a short commute from the airport if some participants have long flights).
  • Be sure to pick a location that is accessible by public transportation if you have a lot of younger team members.
  • Provide refreshments and time for relaxation on the first afternoon. Participants will be coming in from retail outlets and sales calls so they will need time to freshen up and rest.
  • Select an interactive dinner format to accommodate associates from stores who may arrive later. (Alternatively, schedule a reception with hors d'oeuvres around 7:30 PM and start dinner service with the salad course pre-set at 8:30.)
  • Be prepared to offer dinner as a room service option if the flights of some participants are delayed and they are too tired to join the group.
  • Build the agenda around team member availability. For example, schedule sales training for Sunday morning when stores are closed.
  • Videotape core segments. 
  1. Update the troops re: corporate performance, strategy and targets for the coming year.
  2. Reinforce core values.
  3. Supplier PresentationProvide interactive sales and customer service training. Meetings are the perfect opportunity to provide 2-hour to 1/2-day training modules. You can build on these with webinars and online training throughout the year. 
  4. Build in lots of time for questions. Use a variety of formats from cracker-barrel sessions to shorter open questions periods that involve the whole group.
  5. Try team building with a twist. Some years you may opt to devote a portion of your meeting to a team building simulation.  This group is still talking about the winter survival team building simulation integrating outdoor activities that we did for them a few years ago. 
  6. Retail supplier displayInvolve suppliers. The stronger the bond between suppliers and the sales team, the easier it will be for the team to convey product benefits to customer. Select 1 or 2 suppliers every year. Build in time for them to make presentations, set up interactive product displays, and answer questions. Invite them to join the team for the dinner and entertainment.
  7. Ask the hotel to assign a dedicated on-site concierge for the group. It will make your life a lot easier and ensure that you can respond quickly and effectively to unforeseen eventualities.
  8. Seize the opportunity to recognize top performers or those who have provided long service. We have used a comedy roast format for dinner on the first night. It's a flexible, fun and interactive format for recognizing employees who reach the 20-year anniversary in front of their peers.
  9. Retail Dinner EntertainmentDon't forget the fun factor. One year, we took the group for 1-1/2 hours of whirly ball in bumper cars. Another, we did a write your own song and band challenge. Be sure to give the group some downtime to enjoy the venues'  facilities. Provide a hospitality suite for refreshments and relaxation.
  10. Make the final dinner memorable and interactive. We have used improv, sketch comedy, a mock Italian wedding and interactive dinner theater with a family  reunion theme that includes, music, and dancing. 
  11. End with a powerful keynote. 

​For more tips consult Re-shaping Sales Rallies with 10 Trade Show Best Practices and 5 Models for Dispersed Team Meetings.

Photo Credits: Meeting Facilitation and Event Planning, Executive Oasis International

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