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  • Writer's pictureDeeAnn Bennett

"The 10 Best Ways To Motivate Your Salespeople"

Updated: Aug 2, 2019


Throughout my nearly 18 years in outside sales, I am truly grateful to managers who motivated me in positive ways. While some managers ignored me when I had a bad month and others micro-managed me when I had a bad month, I did have co-workers and a handful of managers who knew how to motivate me!


Some of your best salespeople can actually be the people that get under your skin at times but they are no less valuable than the ones who appear to be consistent (hitting quota every month). The "consistent" ones may never close the "whale deals" that you are looking for at your company.


Here are "The 10 Best Ways To Motivate Your Salespeople" David Letterman style:


10. Be a good listener and empathize with your salesperson when they are having a down month or quarter. You never know what someone is going through. They could be caring for an elderly parent, a new baby or they could be going through a messy divorce and custody battle. You just never know. Your listening ear and empathy could be what motivates your salesperson to be very loyal to you. If they feel that you care about them as a person, they will be willing to work much harder for you.


9. Offer to pay for an Association Membership so that your sales rep can get re-engaged. I once had a manager buy me a membership to an association which held monthly networking events and quarterly lunches. This forced me to get out into the business world and engage potential clients again after I had suffered the loss of a large account. Many associations have a member list that your struggling salesperson can use as a prospecting tool for phone calls.


8. Ask your sales rep to do a training for you, buy them lunch and a small gift as a token of your appreciation. Once again, the goal is to re-engage your sales rep. Give them a topic that you know they are good at in sales and have them help you train your new hires. Everyone wants to be needed, especially at work. If they feel needed and appreciated, they feel respected and valued. I was once asked to do a training for a new hire luncheon for my Division Manager. He had a golf membership at a beautiful Golf Club, so we were able to do the training at the clubhouse. Not only did he buy me lunch and get me out of my "funk", he gave me a bottle of my favorite wine (a bottle of Caymus) at the end of the training!!


7. Remember significant events in the life of your salesperson. It could be the birth of a baby, the adoption of a child, the death of a family member, a work anniversary, a promotion, a birthday or a wedding anniversary. You could make a personal phone call or send a handwritten card but I would caution you to be genuine. There is nothing worse than someone who pretends to care but really doesn't. Smart sales reps can sniff out fakes. :)


6. Offer to go out prospecting with your sales rep even if it results in no deals. Show your sales rep that you are not afraid to go do what you are asking them to do each day. Plus, activity breeds activity. Going out and meeting new prospects is a good thing. And your rep just might get a deal from it. Sometimes your timing can be impeccable because your competitor has just messed up the account. When you and your rep come in and present yourselves as genuinely interested in the business, you could be the person that they call when they are ready to make a change. Win win for everyone involved!

5.Stay positive and engage your salespeople on conference calls. Most companies have weekly or monthly conference calls with their sales reps. Keep these calls positive by never bashing "the team" for their performance. A conference call should never be a whipping post call where you take out your aggression on your sales reps because you didn't hit your numbers as a manager or business owner. One of the worst conference calls I've ever been on is where a manager told us that he could tell where we were logging into the call from (especially if we did it from home), he wanted us out in the field during selling hours, not at our home computers. Not only that, but he talked for an entire 35 minutes straight without engaging us at all! I suggest asking open-ended questions like "Who was the most difficult account that you signed this week and how did you overcome the obstacles to get the deal closed?" This is an excellent question and it creates POSITIVE conversation that can not only motivate, but it can excite your salespeople to hear how another rep handled a difficult account!


4. Follow through with what you say & promise so you can build trust with your sales staff. Nothing screams untrustworthy like a manager who says "I'll email you tomorrow morning" and yet a week later, nothing has been sent or addressed. In my industry, you are dealing with other people's money so prompt responses are the key to establishing trust. Promises need to be kept. I once had a manager that promised whoever hit the highest sales for the month in our area would get their cell phone bill paid for (roughly a $200 value at the time). One of my co-worker's had the highest sales and needless to say, he ended up paying his own cell phone bill and never heard from the manager about it again. Eeekkk!!


3. Ask your salespeople what motivates them. Sometimes company swag, an award plaque or a book on sales just doesn't cut it. Ask your salespeople what motivates them because everyone is different. One of the most dynamic companies that you could hire to do a rewards/loyalty program for your sales staff, in my opinion, is The Incentive Group http://www.incentivegroup.com/. This 27 year old company designs a custom rewards/loyalty program where you can reward your top performers with just about anything on the planet from vacations to high-end watches, to go-carts, camping sets, jet skis, you name it! They've worked with companies like IBM, Coca-Cola & Kodak just to name a few. One of the things I loved about it was going on their website (after I had earned enough to buy something) and I did it with my kids so they could pick out something cool for our family. To this day, we still own a 30 mph red go-cart that I earned when my kids were about 3 and 5 years old! They loved it and we used it for our family time together! Another time, I surprised my husband on our 10 year wedding anniversary with a TAG Heuer watch. The watch was something that my husband had always wanted and it was such a joy to give it to him on our special day! I loved sharing my rewards with family and friends and it motivated me to work harder!


2. Give your salesperson a higher purpose for doing their job well. When I started my own company 11 1/2 months ago, one of the things that mattered to me most was helping the homeless and integrating that into my new company. It was something that I had done in my private time with my husband and my kids for years. I saw how it impacted them, but more importantly, I saw how it impacted me. I saw how it changed my heart and softened it for the better! My problems were nothing compared to others in my city who were truly struggling and needed help. If you are a business owner, ask your salespeople what non-profit organizations they are involved in and as a team go and serve together OR as a company, decide that you are going to highlight one salesperson a month who is serving others faithfully in their community. You may be surprised at how many of your sales reps are already making a huge impact in their communities where they live, work and play!


1. Remind your salesperson that you are grateful for them and that you believe in them. Truly, salespeople are the lifeblood of any organization whether its a product based business or a service based industry. Someone has to get your service or product in front of clients and usually that is through a salesperson. Remind your sales reps that you are grateful for them and that although they may have had a bad month, you believe in them. I can relate this to my children (now that school is back in session) because neither of my boys like doing homework or studying for tests. Yelling at them or micro-managing them doesn't work (believe me, I've tried). Encouragement and positivity are always the way to their hearts. Just yesterday, I was helping my 11 year old son re-do an assignment for his history class. The teacher had given him grace to re-do it rather than give him a zero. I sat with him and told him that he is so smart and I know he can do this. I even re-typed him a clean copy of his assignment due to the original having his pencil writing all over it. He saw that I was willing to work with him and most importantly that I believed in him. It worked! Not only did he write neatly for the teacher but he wrote out the correct answers!


The influence that you and I have as business owners/managers is huge! We can be the difference between a salesperson who gives up and quits OR we can be a catalyst for positivity, motivation and encouragement! I choose the latter!


DeeAnn Bennett is the President of Ark Payment Solutions and a 14+ year veteran of the merchant services industry. You can reach DeeAnn at 702-257-8295 OR info@arkpaymentsolutions.com.

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