HOUSTON–A mandatory 8 a.m. meeting at appliance distributor Parnell International appears to have refocused and re-energized the company's sales team, upper-management sources reported Monday.
"Ostensibly, I called the meeting to remind everyone of our August goal to promote our Parnell Home Vision complete kitchen packages," company vice-president Allan Schwantes said. "But the truth is, I felt we also needed to reiterate our customer-service goals and, what with summer winding down and all, give the entire department a little shot in the arm."
The sales staff of Parnell International, a Houston-based distributor of high-end appliances to building contractors, interior designers, and property-management companies, is made up of 17 "customer associates," all of whom attended the one-hour meeting.
"Boy, that sure was a great meeting," customer associate Roger Gerber said. "It was really worth putting off my morning calls to be reminded what the job I've done for the last six years entails."
"I'm so 're-energized,'" Gerber added. "Vroom, vroom. Let's go make some more money for Parnell International."
In addition to refocusing and re-energizing the staff, Schwantes said he used the meeting to "build customer-associate confidence" in the new line of Bosch built-in double ovens and Pro Style ranges and cooktops.
"We're working with an entirely new level of premium kitchen appliances here, people," Schwantes told the sales staff. "You're going to be really jazzed about these ovens when you see the demo models."
Shortly after the meeting, customer associate Beth Clark expressed excitement over the new ovens. "New ovens," said Clark, twirling an index finger. "Whoopee."
Schwantes admitted that he didn't invent all of the motivational techniques he employed at the meeting. Many of them, he said, were lifted from the Robert A. Wilcox book The Emperor's New Closers: Managing And Motivating A Killer Sales Team.
"I've used a lot of Wilcox's '50 Ways To Sell Your Sellers,' and they really seem to maximize productivity and efficiency, just like he said they would," Schwantes said. "Everyone was really motivated by today's teambuilding exercises."
Attendee Brenda Rivers described one of the exercises.
"We spent 20 minutes going around the room telling one thing we saw another salesperson do that 'inspired' us," Rivers said. "Twenty minutes."
Schwantes said he succeeded in covering the entire agenda he had laid out in his pre-meeting jam session with department heads.
"We hit on some of the more important Better-Seller Bullet Points, but my primary objective was to draw attention to the need for increased enthusiasm among customer associates," Schwantes said. "Sure enough, when I called the end of the meeting, everyone practically leapt out of their seats and ran for the door, ready to sell, sell, sell."
Encouraged by the positive response, Schwantes said he plans to hold more "4Ms"–Monday-Morning Motivational Meetings–in the future.