Strategies for more engaging sales meetings.
I may not quote Shakespeare during ERA King Real Estate’s weekly sales meetings, but I would definitely say we inject a bit of theater into these highly staged productions. Paying attention to how you produce a meeting should be just as important as the material you present. The more engagement opportunities you create will lead to a more inspired and productive team. That’s why we’ve invested so much in our weekly meetings and they have truly become a show.
Set the stage to set the tone
Our philosophy as a real estate firm is that ERA King the company does not sell properties, our people do. Our whole business is built around supporting our people and positioning them for success. Sales meetings are a significant component of that support. As a managing broker for the firm, I oversee agent recruiting and professional development. I’ve found that weekly meetings go a long way in setting the tone for the week, providing motivation and creating achievable goals to support sustained production.
That word production is important to us because we spend hours preparing to make certain our sales meetings aren’t just another meeting but an engaging, fun and productive event.
Preparations for each weekly meeting begin at least one month out: Each leadership team member is provided with their schedule for the month, and it’s up to them to determine what content they will cover in their time slot each week. Once topics and content are established, each presenter works with our staff designers to create visually appealing slides to support their content. They may also make song selections to accompany their content. We then do a 30-minute dress rehearsal the day before the meeting to work out any rough spots.
I learned that these meetings are critical, and you can’t just prepare for them the night before. You need to invest time and effort to create an informative, collaborate and valuable opportunity that drives a culture where agents want to—and do everything they can to—attend the meetings.
Entertain the senses
In real life, I have a DJ for our sales meetings, which creates a subtle musical undercurrent of energy and momentum for the hour and discourages chit-chat in the audience. We are currently working on a way to incorporate the musical component on Zoom because the platform only allows for one
One of the things we’ve been challenged with during COVID-19 is translating the incredible energy from our live weekly meetings. I design the meetings to be entertaining, fast-paced and highly motivational to keep our agents energized for the next six days. Moving to a virtual format has meant we needed to up our game, create more visually appealing slides—and more of them—to keep people’s attention on the screen.
One thing we noticed is that it was harder to keep people focused on their computer screen for a full hour. Studies show that it’s harder to digest material on a screen, so we shortened the meetings to 45 minutes to avoid screen fatigue. So, our presenters need to be tight and succinct, which has required us all to up our communication skills.
Another adjustment has been the audience participation factor. In real life, it’s easy to catch someone’s eye in the audience or invite them to the front to be acknowledged—breaking the wall between the actors and the audience. During virtual meetings, we had to experiment with ways to create connections between the presenters and the audience. We always start our meetings with an interactive game or quiz in which participants can annotate on the screen or type in the chat. We also encourage questions and comments throughout the meeting.
A quality production
We’ve been using Zoom for sales meetings for a few years now, letting agents attend in person or virtually. Because our agents were already comfortable and familiar with the platform, we didn’t have a technology curve to get over once we switched to 100% Zoom meetings during COVID-19.
Pre-COVID-19, we had about a 50% participation rate for sales meetings, but during the pandemic, we saw participation increase to 75%. Quality content that both educates and entertains has been a mainstay of our sales meetings, which is why we have a high participation rate both in-person and virtually.
Part of the increase we saw for the virtual meetings can be attributed to the fact that people didn’t have conflicts because they weren’t having in-person meetings. In addition, the convenience of logging into a meeting from home was a key factor. And probably just as significant was that the virtual meeting provided a much-needed place for our team to see each other and connect. We are a social bunch!
While it may seem like a lot of work to produce a high-quality show every week, note that what you put in is what you get out. We invest in our agents and we always have, which continues to be a formula for success. We may not get an Emmy or Tony for our work, but the reviews have been excellent!
Anna Marie Ellison is the managing partner for ERA King Real Estate in Anniston, Alabama.