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Make Your Sales Meeting Count Take advantage of technology to rivet your audience and increase your ROI.

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You want to hold a sales meeting to introduce your company or a new product to customers and prospects. You're excited by the prospect, but also concerned: Will the cost of the meeting produce a positive return on investment?

You'll increase your meetings chances of success with a three-dimensional approach. Think of this meeting as one that continues indefinitely rather than one that is over at the end of the conference.

The goal of your meeting should be to deliver a powerful message for the face-to-face and online audience and make it accessible to as many people as possible. This can be done through a process I call the "Power of Three":

  1. Provide a powerful message at a physical venue.
  2. Give your meeting a second life on the internet (such as through a webcast).
  3. Distribute your meeting through social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

To achieve this, meeting planners must deliver a seamless mix of the various aspects of planning, production and follow-up:

  • Masterful event planning based on a strategic messaging framework
  • Flawless meeting production
  • A hybrid of in-person and webcasting presentations, and the utilization of social media and internet opportunities that reach potential prospects in the most cost-efficient manner.

A Strategic Message
Recognize that a sales meeting is not just a meeting anymore, it's a broadcast. In order for the meeting to be effective, it must be more than a group of people listening to speeches in a hotel room.

The most successful meetings deliver powerful messages. The message is the meeting--it is the key reason for the event, the driver of measurable results and, in turn, maximum return on investment. When you produce a powerful message, customers and prospects will identify the compelling value in what you have to offer and will view your business as a solution provider.

Setting the stage both on location and online is crucial so that the key message--the big-bang idea encapsulated in your company and its products or services--comes to the surface in a compelling manner and resonates with your audience well beyond the primary venue. What you say and how you say it are the most important elements of the meeting.

An Engaging Presentation
In order to be able to focus on the message itself, and not have to worry about the details, business owners should opt to work with a single firm that can manage all of the arrangements for both the in-person meeting and online distribution. A good provider serves as your partner in the endeavor. A good provider means you can be assured of a consistently seamless execution that exceeds expectations of quality, compliance and budget management while offering greater savings (through bulk purchasing capabilities) and an exceptional return on your investment.

While audio and visual elements remain a crucial element of any sales meeting, the introduction of high-tech capabilities, such as videoconferencing, webinars, social media and audience response systems, has completely changed the face of sales meetings.

Technological advances incorporated in 3D meetings enable staff to track attendee registration and activity, allow remote participants a more active and engaged role that maintains their interest, and enable presenters to better gauge the effectiveness of the messages they are relaying.

Recent technological advantages that have reinvented the sales meeting include:

  • Online, multi-lingual registration and air travel management with automatic ticket distribution that staff can access 24/7 to monitor participant activity.
  • Simultaneous translation combined with a state-of-the-art audience response system that measures the audience's understanding and retention of the information presented.
  • Vibrant broadcast or webcast meetings that allow you to create online 3.0 virtual conferences and presentations that can be accessed anywhere in the world.
  • Software that enables targeted social media penetration and attendance on demand, any time, anywhere.

Expanding the base of potential new customers has historically been a costly endeavor; the 3D sales meeting, however, enables business owners to target new audiences by leveraging the power of social media and the Internet at virtually no additional cost. The fact is, companies can reach millions of additional potential clients for less than $100. This is the key to the powerful financial leverage provided by the 3D sales meeting. Because the "meeting" remains available on the Internet, people can experience it online even years after the live event took place. Your sales meeting now has an infinite shelf life.

Joe Lipman is the president and Rob Lipman executive vice president of Summit Management Services , a leader in the design, planning, production and execution of world-class " Power of Three " business meetings, by providing a full range of services that consistently exceed expectations.

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