How can you Fire up Your Sales Team?
As you know selling is a tough job. It is challenging to the ego, can sap your energy and requires someone to handle rejection in their stride. In fact I believe that it is because selling is so tough that, sales people are often the highest paid people in any organisation. The challenge tough, is that a fat pay cheque at the end of every month, is often not enough to inspire people to combat stiff competition, handle finicky customers and the absorb the oceans of rejection, sales people need to handle on a daily basis.
Ask yourself this. If huge compensation was all that was needed, then every sales person in your organisation would be performing, right? The truth is that, despite your best efforts, many sales people just seem to consistently produce poorer results than they are capable of achieving. Yes of course proper sales training will support them to improve and is very often the catalyst, which opens the floodgates on massively improved sales.
If you really want to inspire and motivate your sales team, then it is time you got really creative with contests, commissions and bonuses to inspire them. Only you know your sales team and their individual drivers. (Oh and by the way, if you don’t, is it not time you stopped long enough to find out, what they are?) What excites your people, is it cash, certain gifts, prizes, prestige, some other sort of recognition, or is a high level of job satisfaction, which will inspire you sales team to perform at their best?
The one thing, which all sales people have in common, is that they all want to be unique, they want to be on top and they want to feel like winners. The challenge when designing these inspirational or motivational schemes is to ensure that you motivate or inspire the entire sales team, not only the top three or four top performers. If your incentive scheme is designed to only inspire the top few superstars, then the other average sales people will, feel like they can’t compete, so they won’t even try. The best incentive scheme inspires everyone and allows them to all feel like winners at some level.
Examples of Great incentives
- Buy personalised gifts for each sales person, which hang in the sales leadership’s office wall. As each sales professional achieves a certain target, they are presented with the prize. As the prizes are removed. The remaining sales people are constantly reminded that they need to up their game. I have seen sales teams, who use this system, often support each other to win their prize. As the peer pressure mounts, so too does the performance of every sales person. I have seen people from other departments, who have walked by the sales leader’s office and seen the prize still hanging there; ask how they can support the individual sales person to win their prize.
- Another innovative, and on-going motivator, is an incentive where every sales person can win a weekly gourmet meal at one of the top restaurants. These are prizes available to every sales person, if they reach a reasonable target. They serve as prizes of honour and are weekly reminders and incentives, which their peers and their family get to them earn. It helps everyone see their on-going accomplishments. As you know success begets success and so each sales person, works really hard to win his or her weekly prize. This sort of incentive is a great way to encourage on-going performance throughout the year.
- Another different way to inspire performance is to start an incentive scheme for the person, who gets rejected the most during each week. The strange thing, which comes from this reverse incentive, is that the person with the most rejections in a week is inevitably the same person, who makes the highest sales in that week. This incentive helps the sales person reframe rejection. Instead of seeing it as something negative and to be feared. They actually try to get rejected by as many prospects as possible. This puts a new spin on rejection and all the sales teams, who have tried this approach, have seen huge improvements in both their sales teams moral and their sales performance.
- The second way to reward rejection is to start an incentive scheme, which rewards the sales person, who gets rejected by the biggest customer, each week. This is an incredible scheme, which sees the sales team, starting to gain confidence, where they actually start to approach, larger and larger customers. The strange thing, which happens with this approach, is that the sales person, who gets rejected by the largest prospect, is invariably the same person, who lands the largest customer that year.
- Try putting your sales people into small teams or business units, who work together and spilt the commission. These groups of two or three people have a combined goal. This removes the loneliness, which comes from selling and creates a support system for your sales people. This way of doing business, will not work for everyone, but it may give you food for thought and allow you to come up with a better more effective scheme, which will work in your industry.
- You could even try daily incentives for your team, where you give them small daily prizes for making the highest sales that day. This is a daily incentive, which inspires people to try their best every day.
- Try to be really innovative and build incentive schemes, where each team member is encouraged to support and mentor other team members.
- Try to involve other departments in the incentive schemes. Encourage supporting departments such as the service, marketing or engineering departments to participate.
- Build peer pressure. Publicly reward everyone and put their sales numbers, where everyone can see them.
- Ask your sales team to develop an incentive scheme themselves.
- The key to any incentive scheme is to ensure that it is rewarded as frequently as possible. Daily incentives are always best.
I have tried to give you a few practical examples, of really great and innovative incentive schemes; I have seen work really well at many different companies and in many different industries. The secret to make your scheme work for you and your sales team is to involve the sales team in the creation of the scheme and make the rewards as frequently as possible.
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