Motivating the Sales Team

Selling, particularly on the road and in these tough economic times, is a hard, lonely job.  That’s when the sales team needs someone who can motivate them to carry on. 

I’m not talking about the “pump ‘em up and get ‘em roaring type of rah-rah motivation that dies within an hour or two.  I call that the Chinese meal type of motivation.  An hour after it’s done you’re hungry for more!  I’m talking about the type of motivation that generates long term results.  Sort of a roast beef and baked potato meal, something that sticks to your ribs and lasts.

This is called self-motivation and the best sales managers know how to create an environment where self-motivation can flourish.  These managers are prepared to mentor and coach their team to success.

Mentoring means showing them the way and encouraging them to be as good as they can be.  It doesn’t mean carrying them there!  This is where coaching comes in.  Coaches observe, comment, correct, and encourage.  Here are six keys to being a good sales coach.

1.  Know the sales process.  You can’t coach the team if you don’t understand the rules.  Good coaches have not only played the game, they’ve read tons of material on the game.  Do the same.  If you haven’t got formal sales training, get some.  Good books are no substitute for good training and good training is no substitute for experience.  You need all three to excel at the sales manager’s job. 

2. Learn how to criticize and correct.  The idea is to build people, not destroy them.  Use the tried-but-true sandwich technique when correcting poor technique.  Start off with a positive observation on something they did right, discuss the things that went wrong, and end with another positive.  Your encouragement will motivate them to improve.

3.  Make joint sales calls.  Don’t be an armchair coach.  Get out there in the field with your people.  See them in action.  Celebrate their successes and help them learn from their failures.  Let them see you care.

4.  Help them set goals.  Help your people define achievable goals and then show them how to reach them.  And when they do, shine the spotlight on them.  Nothing self-motivates like success.

5.  Plan to coach.  Build it into your schedule.  If you don’t plan to make calls with your people to coach them, it won’t happen.

6.  Know your people.  Everyone is different.  Sit down with your people and get to know them, their interests, their dreams, and their goals.  Then show them how they can achieve them.

Bottom Line

Caring, coaching, and sincere encouragement are the keys to building an environment where salespeople will be self-motivated. 

We call this sales leadership, not sales management.