I received lots of questions last week with regard to how I set up my Mastermind Groups as well as ideas for topics for discussion. Let's take a look at both!
6-8 people seems to work best. More than that and you have a bunch of "Type A's" interrupting the hell out of each other. Less than that and you may hear crickets on the phone.
60-75 mins in length. More than that and you are starting to shoot the sh*t, less than that and you won't get to your content.
Meet Once A Month: I tried twice monthly for the longest time and quite frankly it became overkill. Learn from Uncle Paul's mistake on that one!
Leadership: You switch leaders each month. This is a good system because you get the benefit of different leadership styles and content. Each participant gets to give their leadership muscles a work out.
A. Choose the topic B. Email the agenda and appoint a scribe. The scribe's responsibility is to take detailed notes and then send a recap to the group within 24-48 hours. C. Keep the meeting on point and within the agreed upon time frame.
Note: It's real easy to get off topic when you have people who are passionate about being successful. To that end you'll need a . . .
Parking Lot: The parking lot is simply a place for you to park ideas and topics for another meeting. This way if someone starts going off topic, you can respectfully say "Why don't we 'parking lot' that for a future meeting" Which of course is French for STFU. Seriously, I worked with a group of sales reps in Michigan who used this. Within one mastermind meeting they had enough topics for the next year! If you keep a good parking lot, you will almost never struggle for topics!
D. Enforce the rules:
The meeting starts and ends on time
It isn't a "Bitch Session" Trust me when I tell you that if you allow your meeting to be a forum for complaints, your group will become what experts refer to as "Sucky":
Participation: Make it clear that everyone shows up and participates. Don't ever tolerate people telling you "Something came up and I can't make it" That's how groups begin to suck! Granted, emergencies can and will happen but there's a difference between an emergency and a flake! For planning purposes you should set it up in a way that's easy to remember such as the third Thursday of every month or something like that.
You can decide in advance the topics you all feel would be valuable and you can also use the "Parking Lot" to continually refresh your supply.
Here's 6 months worth of topics for you to consider:
1) How do you get a prospect off the fence of indifference without blowing the deal or giving away the shop?
2) Creative Door Openers: What are some creative ways we can get the attention of our prospects?
3) Objection Busters: Each participant comes up with 1 comeback for each of the following: Not Interested, No Time To Meet With You, Send me some information, We already have a vendor.
4) Send an article or have everyone read a book prior for discussion. Challenge everyone to come up with 1 idea that speaks to the topic. As the leader of the discussion, come up with 1 Devil's Advocate question.
5) Resource Meeting: Everyone brings one resource that others can benefit from. The resource can be the name of a cool website, blog, article, book etc
6) Your best advice for selling during challenging times. What have you done differently? Want to kick this one up a notch? Have each person ask this question to either someone in their network, in a Linkedin group, on their blog, at their company sales meeting etc. Why limit your answers to just your group?
And before I forget, you can get tons of content by checking out the discussions on Linkedin. My Sales Playbook Group has over 400 discussions you can pillage from!
Note: Sales managers, the Linkedin discussions are a great place for you to get ideas for your next sales meeting too!
So there you have it. A basic framework and some ideas for discussion.
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics (CGX) one of North America’s leading general commercial printing companies. Paul has over 25 years of sales and sales leadership experience. He has trained, mentored and coached over 3,000 sales and sales leadership professionals. An accomplished public speaker, Paul has delivered numerous key note addresses. He has authored numerous training manuals, articles, blog posts and is currently working on his first book for release in 2011. Feel free to email Paul firstname.lastname@example.org.
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