Leave the PowerPoint at Home: How to Really Have A Productive Meeting with a Rep

Meetings with sales reps are an integral part of any online buyer’s day. But how many buyers really now how to do it right?

The key is to make rep meetings as productive as possible. When sales reps come to visit, media buyers need to be sure that the meeting centers around how to best use the represented media property to further a client’s goals. The meeting should be an exchange of ideas, rather than a one-way presentation by the rep to the buyers.

To this end, the media department at my agency has created one of the most famous media conference rooms in New York. Known as the “Leather Lounge,” this room puts sales reps at ease, but at the same time makes it tough to launch into the traditional PowerPoint presentation.

Upon arriving at K2 Design, sales reps are taken into the conference room where they are seated on one of three leather couches that face toward the center of the room. One of these couches, affectionately referred to as “The Catcher’s Mitt,” is similar in appearance to the Johnny Bench baseball glove that I had as a kid. It’s really soft and squooshy, and it adds to the living room feel that we want to promote in the meetings.

There are several formal rules for the Leather Lounge. Most are designed to ensure that sales reps don’t get a chance to go into their run-of-the-mill sales pitch:

  • No PowerPoint. Nuf said.
  • No computers. If we need to look at a web site, there is a WebTV next to one of the couches.
  • No telephones. There should be no distractions during the meeting.
  • Casual dress, relaxation and putting your feet up on the furniture are all welcome and encouraged.

Although it looks like we’ve gone out of our way to make rep meetings unproductive, we’ve actually paved the way toward getting to the real meat n’ potatoes of the meeting, which is deciding how the media property can be used to help K2 clients. Before the meeting, sales reps are given the following:

  • A list of clients.
  • A description of media campaign goals for those clients.
  • Possibly some examples of what is being implemented on other sites.
  • URLs for client sites.

In turn, K2 media planners ask beforehand for the media property’s URL, targeting capabilities and audience characteristics. By the time the sales rep comes in for a meeting, we’re all ready to have a conversation about how we can work together to further the client’s goals.

Careful preparation for a rep meeting is the key to efficiency. Don’t be content to sit passively in a meeting and get the traditional demographics/site traffic/banner specs presentation. Be interactive. Ask questions. By the time that sales person leaves the building, he or she should have a firm understanding of what it will take to get on the media buy. And the planner should know all the key points about the site, what it does, and what the site’s audience is all about, so that future clients can benefit from that knowledge.

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