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How Many Sales Meetings Is Reasonable for a Sales Person?

This is always an interesting topic in sales organizations.

Does more meetings means more sales?  The answer is YES, but only IF they are RELEVANT meetings.  The answer is NO, if they are not relevant … or they are with the same few people all the time (don’t laugh … check who your sales people have been meeting with)!

In a “business to business” world what is reasonable for a salesperson?  My generalisation would suggest that if you are selling large ticket, complex solutions (system integrator) or products (large software vendor) then probably you will have less face to face meetings than if you are selling a high volume, lower complexity service (staffing services) or product (photocopiers).

In my world … the staffing industry … I am always amazed that people can have less than two face to face meetings a day.  In an 8 hour day, they can’t spend 90 minutes to 2 hours with clients and/or prospects … assuming 45 minutes to an hour per meeting (often they are even shorter)!  They don’t even need to be spread out that way … 10 meetings in a week could happen easily over two days!

What is more important as a salesperson than spending time with the kind of people who buy from you?

Some thoughts …

1.  If you think about the parable about the rocks and the sand … the most important sales task is to be in front of clients and prospects.  So BOOK the meetings into your calendar and let every other task work around those “rocks” in your schedule!

2.  If you are not meeting with your clients, you can bet your competition is.

3.  How will you know what is going on if you are not “out there” hearing about it?

4.  How will your clients have you as top of mind if they only hear from you every now and then … and see you even less!

5.  People buy from people, so if you don’t have a relationship with your client (and that is impossible if you don’t meet them regularly) then you will lose to the salesperson that takes that time.

I actually believe that it is possible to average much more than 10 sales meetings a week … if you define a sales meeting as a meaningful face to face exchange with a client or prospect.  How? 

1.  Set up your core meetings … planning your calendar as far out as you can.

2.  Once they are set … look at who else is in the same building or neighbourhood.  Contact them to say you will be in a meeting close by and could you stop by for 10 minutes after?

3.  In preparation for your core meetings identify other people within the client’s organization that you would be interested in meeting too.  Ask your client to introduce you, so that you can then set up a follow on meeting.

Note:  This all requires good time management skills and a willingness to work hard.  Anyone can do it, but most won’t … even knowing that it WILL increase your sales success!

Think about it!


Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)

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3 thoughts on “How Many Sales Meetings Is Reasonable for a Sales Person?

  1. BTW You could also add breakfast, lunch, coffee and dinner meetings into the mix. Great way to have a more relaxed client meeting!

  2. Kevin, ,more than 10 meetings a week? Selling what? If one was peddling consumer items – it is possible to go to 100 places door to door in a week and peddle wares. I am not sure if this applies to the consulting business. Meetings are usually with VP and C level folks. It takes painstaking follow up by a pre-sales team to come up with the meetings in the first place. It takes 2 days of preparation, for each meeting to come up with a compelling/strategic proposition before a good meeting can happen. Sales folks should understand that 90% is preparation (bad sales folks don’t want to put in this effort) while only 10% is the meeting/dining and the fun part. A friend of mine sells airplanes for a living. He has 20 meetings a YEAR. It takes 1 month of research and preparation by a 25 member team to come up with a sales prop.

  3. Thanks for the comments. I work in the staffing business and my team sell to hiring managers, not VPs or C-level execs. The sales cycle is very quick, our clients need talent to get things done, to build out their project teams or to cover for someone who is leaving … and typically they need them yesterday. The staffing industry is incredibly competitive and if we are not “top of mind” with our clients then someone else will be. There are also many hiring managers, so my salespeople need to be building relationships with existing clients and establishing relationships with prospective clients .. .which means lots of face time. In our industry 20 meetings a week would not be that unusual.
    I have also sold multi-million dollar complex sales solutions involving multiple stakeholders at the executive and C-suite level. Even in that environment I would consider 10 meetings a week to be a minimum. I believe that Salespeople should be out in front of clients because that is how you find out what they want, that is how you build rapport and that is how you eventually get to present your proposed solutions. 10 meetings is just 10 hours plus travel time, that still leaves 30 hours a week for research, planning and strategising. I strongly disagree with your 90% preparation … I think most sales people over-prepare. If they can’t be prepared using 75% of their available time then something is not right.

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