Rule #29: Don’t Chase Purple Squirrels
Rule number 29, don’t chase purple squirrels. Stay focused and stick to the agenda during sales meetings. People are pretty predictable and purple squirrels are defined as things that they throw onto a meeting that has nothing to do with the topic. They’re really ways to distract the real purpose of the meeting. Sometimes this is done on purpose and sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it’s done by you and sometimes it’s done by them. Let’s talk about this one on one. If you’re showing up without an agenda and no real purpose of the meeting, then you’re going to talk about lots of different things. You’re actually, psychologically, showing up with a big cage of squirrels. You’re going to let them up and say, “Let’s talk about this, this, this, and this.” It’s a good conversation but people leaving say, “Why did I spend an hour here? What just happened?” You’re all over the place.
Now, we don’t want our salespeople doing that. You don’t want them to show up at a prospect saying, “Well, what would you like to talk about today?” No. You want them to have an agenda. You want them to lead the call because a sales call should have purpose, should have process. So should a meeting that you run, so, show up with an agenda. Show up with a plan. Figure out who should be at that meeting. Figure out what that agenda is so you don’t show up with a cage of purple squirrels. If it doesn’t fit the agenda, then don’t let the squirrel in the room. Keep it out.
During the meeting, set the stage. Here’s how much time we’re going to spend for the meeting. Here’s the purpose of the meeting. Here’s the agenda for the meeting. Anyone want to add an agenda? If they say no, right then, from a tactic standpoint, no purple squirrels. It’ll be a big sign, ‘no purple squirrels in this room.’ Why? Because it’s not part of the agenda. If one sneaks in an open window, push it back out. What else are we going to do? Then you’re going to start. I want you to create facilitation.
I want you to summarize all the key points that were said at the meeting. I want you to validate that with other people. Is this what we covered? Yes. I want you to assign next steps. Here’s what’s going to happen, when it’s going to happen. After the meeting, I want you to self-diagnose. I want you to say, “What could I have done better as a sales leader?” I also want you to send up a follow-up letter. Here’s what we’ve covered. Here’s what we agreed to. Here are our next steps. If you will do that every single time, couple things go on.
Number one, the momentum by which you will cause in your company is phenomenal, unbelievable. Second thing that’ll happen is, people will watch you saying, “That’s an organized thing. That’s the way I should be doing it.” When you train and you coach on how to run a good sales meeting, they’ve watched you do it. You can use yourself as an example. All these things are important. The bottom line is, purple squirrels or red herrings, they’re going to be here, but good sales leaders have cages and fish tanks to put them in every time they pop up and it’s not by design. Purple squirrels by accident are absolute meeting killers. Look out for them.