Looking for a way to energize your dealership employees to hit their best sales ever in 2014? Start your year with a Sales Kick-Off meeting (SKO). The purpose of an SKO meeting is to get the year off to a fast start by educating and motivating the sales force.

The “SKO season” generally takes place in January and February, and a typical budget for for SKO-related events is approximately $3,000 per representative for flights, hotels, food, conference rooms, speakers and materials each year.

These sales strategy events have several functions, and you should focus on material most important to your goals for the year. Your agenda should include time to:

  • Acknowledge top performers from the previous year. Boost morale and motivate your sales force to meet goals again in the New Year.
  • Communicate your company’s strategic goals. Grow your business with a solid sales process and sales strategy plan.
  • Introduce a new product/service. Keep everyone informed and involved with the company.
  • Teach your staff a new training or selling technique. Improve the overall effectiveness of your sales team.
  • Introduce a new compensation/incentive plan. Incentivize sales reps to perform and meet quotas.

Help your dealership go farther, faster and achieve more than ever before. At your SKO meetings, you should:

  1. Create or update your business plan. If you already have one, take some time to review it. If not, make an effort to develop one. Having a plan of action for your business goals will help you maximize your time and streamline your efforts.
  2. Build value every day. Business is all about relationships. People like doing business with people they trust. Set yourself apart from the competition by making your dealership a place where customers feel special.
  3. Refresh your network. Lost touch with some of your contacts during the past few months? The beginning of the year is a great time to check in and make connections.

SKO meetings are one of my favorite ways to rally sales employees and create an atmosphere of passion and dedication in the year ahead. We’d love to hear about your SKO events in the comments below.