The Debrief: Five Questions to Ask at the End of Your Meeting

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Chris Lytle

By: Chris Lytle, Content Developer

Sarah and I are in Bermuda with her brother, Bob, and his wife, Kathy.

On Tuesday morning we get up, get on our motor scooters and go to breakfast. Then we journey to Hamilton to shop. We eat lunch together. By 2:30 p.m., we’re playing golf at the St. George Club.

As we watch the sunset and sip cocktails on the patio, I ask, “What was the highlight of your day?”

We go around the table.

Kathy: “I loved turning the corner and seeing the pink sand beach. Spectacular!”

Sarah: “The lunch in Hamilton was my highlight. It was so relaxing sitting in that open air space overlooking the harbor.”

Bob: “It was on the way to breakfast. As we rode by the airport, there was an awesome military plane being refueled. What was your highlight, Chris?”

Chris: “I should say it was waking up with my lovely wife in this beautiful country. But it was saving par from the sand on sixteen.”

We experienced the same day, the same restaurants, same stores and the same golf course. But we had four different takeaways.

Let’s apply this to you and how you run your sales meetings.

Until and unless you ask, you’ll never know how your salespeople are processing your sales meeting or your training session.

Five salespeople will bring five points of view to the meeting.

You want to find out what they think they have learned. You can’t influence their thinking further if you don’t know what they’re thinking.

To find out, you might ask, “What was the highlight of this meeting for you?”

Once the first person offers a highlight (takeaway), go around the table and get a response from each person. (In the training biz we call this a “whip around.”)

Listen to the responses. Review the whole meeting from the perspective of each person.

Don’t leave it there.

Here are the five (coaching) questions I promised:

1. How does what you learned differ from what you’re doing now?

2. Does the learning apply to a specific customer you work with or a situation you’re facing?

3. What do you think might happen if you use this new skill (learning) in this situation?

4. Do you need more information or practice before you act on this?

5. When will you act?

To know and not to do is not to know. Training that doesn’t change behavior is as useless as a parachute that opens on the first bounce.

“Transfer” means the learning gets from your conference room into the customer’s office.

Without “transfer” there can be no results from your training efforts.

Great sales managers concentrate on and coach the transfer of learning.

Don’t have time for 5 questions? At least ask these two:

1. What did you learn?

2. What are you going to do about it?

Thanks for reading my article. If there was a highlight for you, then please share in the comments section.

Want more? Watch my Year of the Sales Manager Video for more transferable sales training ideas.

Reprinted by permission

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