In sales, rejection is often the rule rather than the exception. Your team hears all the reasons why not and most of the time those reasons don’t come in the form of a kind, “No, thank you.” For even the most seasoned sales professional, constant rejection gets old.
When you add the constant pressure that comes with the unwritten (or written) “good numbers equal a job, bad numbers equal lay off,” burn out is real and it’s poisonous to your business. As a leader, it’s your job to keep your sales team excited and motivated. Here’s how.
1) Understand their world. It’s easy to label somebody as having a bad attitude, apathetic, or lazy but that may not be the case. It may be that they’ve gone too long without encouragement or support. Very few people will admit to their boss that they could use a dose of encouragement, but they are thinking it.
If you use outside sales reps that spend a lot of time on their own, the only interaction they experience throughout their day is through their customers. Understand that their job is tough and they need constant, deliberate, and sincere words of appreciation. It might be the best management strategy you employ.
2) Ask them what motivates them. Sure, what they want is to make money so it would seem logical that offering cash is the best way to get them working harder. That’s not always the case. Everybody has different thresholds, but at some point, not even money will motivate your sales force.
Merchandise they would not normally purchase themselves, a luxury trip for the top sales associate, the ability to telecommute once per week, or a paid day off may be enough. It’s not always about money.
3) Listen to them. Everybody wants to feel like they have a voice in the company. If your sales staff feels like the hired help, they’re only going to work as hard as they have to for the paycheck. Listening and responding to what they’re hearing in the field makes them feel like part of the team.
What are the top objections they’re hearing? If there’s a trend, respond to it. Make changes to your product or service based on the feedback. Lower the price or make the terms more favorable. Even the best salesperson can’t sell a broken product. Listening and taking action gives them a voice and makes their lives easier. Those are pretty powerful motivators.
4) Don’t forget about the money. Are you sensing that your staff is largely on autopilot? Is a product not selling as well as you would like? Change your commission structure. Offer a higher rate for a certain product and make sure you encourage your staff to go after the revenue driving customers.
Does your commission structure encourage your sales personnel to go after the accounts that will generate the most revenue? Examine your policies and ask for feedback from your staff.
5) Bring everybody on board. What could be more frustrating to a salesperson who finally lands a big account only to have the product arrive late, substandard, or the customer service staff is rude or unknowledgeable? Everybody in the company should know that they are a member of the sales team.
6) Keep it frequent. Motivation, positive reinforcement, listening to what they’re hearing, and making adjustments should happen frequently. Do not let your company or their job get stale or mundane. Keep it exciting. The ability to make money plus a rewarding experience is what keeps the best employees.
Want to learn more about how to ramp up your online presence? Attend a free small business webinar titled “Why Your Business Needs to Get Found Online,” March 5, 2013 at 2 pm Eastern.