Our sales training clients in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Toronto are always trying to find creative ways to motivate their Salespeople. What works best? Higher commission rates, group and individual incentives? Don’t think that Salespeople are only motivated by cash. There are many great management techniques to empower your people and bring out the best in them.
A team of highly motivated Salespeople is a pleasure to watch. Their positivity and expectancy breeds success. It creates its own sales inertia and keeps the machine moving in the right direction. Here are the 10 best ways to build momentum and motivate your Salespeople.
#1 – Tie incentives to company needs
What does your company need to focus on this year to increase sales? New business development from new clients, selling multi-line products to existing customers or perhaps developing new business from non-traditional sources? Find out exactly where the new sweet spot is for the best results and create an incentive plan for Salespeople encouraging them to focus their time and energy on that task.
#2 – Keep incentives simple and easy to understand
If your Salespeople can’t figure out the incentive due to the qualifying rules, you’ve missed the purpose. We all like things that are easy to understand. Do this and you’ll get this. We live in a complicated world and your effort to keep incentives simple sends the right message.
#3 – Create competition not comparison
I learned this lesson from a Mentor from the life insurance industry. Competition is good. It brings out the best in us making us to want to do better. Many Salespeople like fair competition. It brings a smile and purpose beyond our daily goal of making more sales.
While competition is healthy, comparison is not. Here’s an example. A group of Salespeople are competing to see which of them might bring in the largest amount of new business in the next quarter. Great idea. At the end of the quarter, they all decide to reveal their total monthly commissions from all sources. Bad idea. It never ends well. It usually results in someone thinking that they’re somehow disadvantaged.
#4 – Ask for opinion and listen to your Salespeople
Not sure exactly what kind of incentives to offer your team? Ask them. We recently did this with one of sales training clients and they wanted a total group incentive versus a personal one because they worked together on so many of their clients.
If you’re going to ask your team’s opinion, you best seriously consider it. Your Salespeople are telling you what would incentivize them to work harder and make more sales. Think of hybrid solutions whenever possible.
#5 – Get to know your Salespeople on an individual basis
This is one my favorites. If you have a budget of $5,000 to offer each of your Salespeople for reaching their sales goals for the year, don’t just offer a $5,000 bonus at year end. We always think that Salespeople think about money. How about what the money would be spent on per Salesperson?
Invest the time to get to know each Salesperson. Craig and his wife love to travel, yet have never gone to Europe. Share a coffee with him and find out where they would visit in Europe. Buy him a book on the destination with a personal handwritten card that says “Please let me know what I can do to make this a reality.”
Salespeople work harder for Sales Managers they respect and trust. They perform for the ones they like. How do you think Craig’s wife would feel about his incentive?
#6 – Acknowledge success publicly without singling out your Star Performer
It took me a while to figure this one out as a Sales Manager. While most Salespeople do enjoy receiving some form of praise, be careful about always using your star performer as an example to the other Salespeople. Your top-producer doesn’t need the side-ways looks from the team. Recognize the actions of performance, not just the people who showed them.
#7 – Let the Salesperson tell the story
This can be very powerful. Tell the Salesperson that you’d like them to share their success story with the team in the next meeting. It carries so much more credibility when it comes from the source. Ask that Salesperson what they learned from this experience and watch the team try to pick up the real message. Doing this means the victory is the Salesperson’s, not yours, regardless of your involvement.
#8 – Recognize the small victories and larger milestones
We all want to recognize the Salesperson with the grand slam home run client. Know that each Salesperson needs to get on base first. Maybe that’s getting an appointment with a decision maker that avoids everyone. Perhaps it’s turning a frustrated client who wants to cancel into a buyer that allows you one more chance for your company to live up to expectations. Recognize the small victories and use them to build the milestones.
Track record sales months for Salespeople. Giving Julie a handwritten card congratulating her on reaching her highest sales month since starting with the company could be something she holds onto for years. It just might motivate her to do what it takes to get out of a sales slump in the future.
#9 – Give Salespeople an extra day off beyond vacation time
A small gesture that is so appreciated. A day off on a Friday or Monday beyond regular vacation time is a great gesture that costs nothing. This could be a chance for a Mom or Dad to go on a field trip with their child at school or visit a relative in the hospital. Again, its not always about money. It’s about liking your workplace and your boss.
#10 – Create Team Captains
Sales Managers can instill leadership in their Salespeople by asking for volunteers to coordinate a special sales initiative or drive. The person who sticks up their hand wants to do the extra work. This is your chance to see how they will interact and lead the team. Tell the Team Captain that it’s his or her job to coordinate sales efforts, not be responsible for all of them.
The common denominator in the 10 best ways to motivate salespeople
While trying to entice Salespeople to reach company goals and targets, you’re also attempting to build a strong relationship with them. That’s one of the leading methods of employee retention. Everyone wants to work in tandem with a great boss and excellent company.
What are some of the other ways to encourage motivation? I’d love to hear from Sales Managers and Salespeople. The more you share, the more we learn. If you liked this post, please share it on your favorite social media platform.
Great sales techniques like this one are taught in our online sales training program The Sales Skills Incubator and our book SHUT UP! Stop Talking and Starting Making Money. Click the links and start making more sales today!
Dave Warawa – PROSALESGUY