Sales meeting icebreakers can have a dual purpose. First of all, a good icebreaker activity has value in and of itself since it will help build your team’s camaraderie and communication. Additionally, some of the icebreakers you practice internally can become great tools your sales team can use when they meet with new or existing customers.
It’s always important to make a quick connection and put a potential customer at ease and effective icebreakers will do this. Sharing common experience and building relationships are vital to establishing customer loyalty so don’t think that icebreakers are for internal use only.
Icebreakers Are Easy But Not Just Fluff
I’m not a huge fan of the term, icebreaker, because it has connotations of being fluff, just a waste of time. But establishing rapport, easing tension and building communication is always a good thing and effective icebreakers can help do this. So try to get past the terminology and dig into the substance of what you can provide through these type of exercises.
Before you share activities with a large group or with customers, it’s a good idea to gather a list of potential sales meeting icebreakers and practice them with a small group of people whom you already feel comfortable with. This way you’ll not only become a better meeting facilitator, you’ll be able to discard some activities that may not work for you.
Like any good facilitator, you’ll want to have a variety of tools in your tool chest. Sometimes an icebreaker that works with one group will flop with another group. The challenge and the trick is to find an activity your sales team or their customers will connect with. Everyone is different so you need enough activities to be able to make different connections.
6 Effective Sales Meeting Icebreakers
Here are some specific exercises that you should try. If you’re facilitating these for a large group, you’ll want people to break into smaller groups to share the activity.
- One word – Pick a topic and very briefly talk about what it means to you in context of your work. For example, briefly talk about ‘trust’. Then go around the room and ask each person to name one word they think of when they think about trust. This icebreaker will also work well with your customers. If you can get a customer to name what he or she associates with trust, you might be able to use that preference to focus on building a relationship with that person.
- Sharing the best and the worst – What was your best moment at work? What was your worst moment? Sharing a worst moment shows humility and helps your colleagues to empathize with you. Empathy builds trust. And sharing a best moment can build pride and increase motivation for mission while building engagement.
- Being observant – This is great for sales meeting icebreakers and also fun to try with customers to make better connections. Comment on something you notice that someone is wearing; maybe it’s a sports team t-shirt and if it is there’s sure to be a story there. Or perhaps it’s a picture on a desk or trophy on a shelf. If it’s a picture or trophy, take time to ask a question about it. When you allow your colleagues or customers to share a bit of themselves, they feel more connected to you. You’ll quite often find genuine shared interest that gives you something to talk about other than work, or the sale you’re trying to make.
- One thing you didn’t know – This one is probably best for your internal meetings, although if you work with established clients it can be a great way to generate meaningful and fun conversation. Ask the person you’re working with to share one thing that most people don’t know about them or wouldn’t guess about them. This question Here’s a personal example. For an online article about a conference I’m speaking at, I was asked to share a fact no one would know about me. I mentioned that I made up a language I use to talk to my dogs at home. It’s silly, rhythmical and probably non-sensical to anyone except me and my dogs. But it makes me happy and I think the dogs understand me. You’re probably now thinking about me in a different way…bet you never would have guessed! This icebreaker really helps you get to know someone better.
- A dream vacation – This activity is also great for both internal meetings and as a relationship building sales tool. Ask the person you’re with to think about and describe how he or she would spend one month away from work and domestic responsibilities if they had an unlimited budget. This could be a dream trip or a dream staycation. Then share your own dream scenario. Not only will you learn about the person you’re talking to, you may learn something new about yourself since most of us never take time to imagine this scenario.
- Sharing a song – Everyone, whether it’s a co-worker or a customer, listens to music. We all have favorite songs that bring back childhood memories and reveal a little something about ourselves. Sharing a favorite song is another icebreaker activity that’s great for your sales team and for customer interaction. Simply ask someone what their favorite song is. Then ask them why it’s their favorite. You’ll hear stories about childhood experience, or about falling in love, or falling out of love…you name it. Through music, we reveal a bit of ourselves we wouldn’t ordinarily share. This will bring you closer to your colleagues and your customers and it’s fun.
Professionally Facilitated Programs
Professionally facilitated conference icebreakers are great ways to open a meeting. They’ll set the stage for success and get everyone warmed up and engaged. You should consider these programs for your larger or more formal sales meetings, typically the annual or semi-annual gatherings.
When you want a professionally facilitated program for your sales meeting, I hope you’ll consider my icebreaker song program. Within a 30 to 90 minute time frame, we provide musical sessions that create an energized and engaged atmosphere, allowing people to get to know one another better, to share common concerns and experience.
Sales meeting icebreakers certainly have their place. The trick is to find the exercise that matches the mood and personality for your group.