The world of sales is perceived to be extremely stressful and competitive. There is pressure to perform on a regular basis – every week, every month, every quarter. Whether you are a sales manager or the CSO – Chief Sales Officer you must have felt the pressure. Some people thrive under pressure and give their best. There are many that crumble under pressure. Their performance dips, self esteem takes a beating, and they become clueless about the solution. It is an avoidable situation if the sales team leader knows how to keep the morale of the team high. Motivation is the keyword to deal with such situations. “Lack of motivation may result in foot dragging, passivity, feigned acceptance, hidden sabotage or outright rejection in the implementation and use of new knowledge,” opines Gabriel Szulanski, assistant professor of management at Wharton. The same applies to the implementation of existing knowledge and over-all performance.
Inspire and Motivate Through Setting Examples Personally
It is the responsibility of the sales team leader to motivate the team not by mere talk but by action whenever the situation demands. As a leader the best way to motivate a team of sales people is to do the difficult thing yourself. You lead from the front and automatically the team gets inspired and vows to perform better. A leader should show the way and motivate others. He cannot safely sit in the office, shuttle form meeting to meeting, and bark orders. Like a brave captain he has to stand first in the line of fire and battle. He has to go out and demonstrate that it can be done.
The leader should demonstrate courage, skill, and results in sales. Just one or two real examples in difficult times would suffice. The sales team members may be discouraged by tough market conditions or higher sales targets. If the leader shows them that it can be done they will give their best to do it. If the leader fails to lead from the front the team members will not show faith in the leadership and will not be motivated to perform.
Be Judicious in Offering Incentives and Perks
Google has set the trend as far as motivating its employees is concerned by way of offering many comforts. The provision of gourmet breakfast, lunch, and dinner, a fitness center opened 24 hrs, yoga classes, in-house doctor, nutritionists, dry cleaners, availability of a personal trainer, the swimming pool and the spa, and high-tech buses with WI-FI access for commuting to work have earned it the reputation of having a creative and fun working atmosphere. These facilities are meant for all the employees of Google. Perks are only a part of the package. The whole package includes a good salary and well structured incentives. All these largesse make Google the best place in America to work for, according to a recent Fortune magazine report.
David Sirota, co-author of The Enthusiastic Employee: How Companies Profit by Giving Workers What They Want, concludes from the study conducted by his firm that employees are not valued in far too many companies and are “treated like paper clips.” These companies pay a heavy price for treating them that way. Typically the morale of a new employee remains high for as little as six months, and after that the level of morale can nosedive precipitously if employees feel unvalued.
An unfair compensation policy is perceived as being disrespectful and callous towards the employees. This soon leads to a lack of motivation. It is nice to feel valued. Sales people that are hard workers should be compensated well by way of adequate salaries and incentives. The incentive structure should be so designed that there are no reasons for complaints from the sales team.
Know Your Team Well
Oftentimes good sales performers pass though tough phases in their careers and lives. New comers to the team also may be at a loss to find their footing in the team. At such crucial junctures they need some mentoring and counseling. A leader should know each and every member of his team thoroughly. He should know what the motivational triggers are for each person of the team. He must find out what problem ails a sales person and fix the problem. He should listen to the troubled sales person patiently as he may have a genuine concern. As a friend, philosopher, and mentor he can help them bounce back to good form.
Praise Openly and Criticize Privately
Another mantra for creating a light and cheerful atmosphere in the sales department is to praise achievements openly and criticize failures privately, in a one-on-one conversation. The criticism should be constructive and shouldn’t be too strong.
Hire Humorous Motivational Speakers from Time-to-Time
Yes, do that. They are the masters at diffusing tension. They are the gurus of motivation. They will motivate you and help you out of the rut with humor. When you have tried everything and failed remember these people can transform your dull and drab sales environment in to vibrant ones with their expertise.
About the Author:
Doug Dvorak helps companies and professionals achieve results through customized, creative and non-traditional sales training systems that are “one size fits one” and developed to the unique business needs and “sales pain points” of each client. He is available to speak on these topics.
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Copyright 2008 The Sales Coaching Institute, Inc.
Sales Skills Training Strategic Sales Coaching
Doug Dvorak, CEO of DMG International, is the Author of the forthcoming book “Build Your Own Brand” (Pelican, 2009)