What can you do to motivate your sales staff?
I know it sounds contrary to everything you've come to believe, but if you want a team of great salespeople who get results, understanding this is the first step.
Every human being has internal factors that determine his/her success. Therefore, there are two types of people: those who are internally driven to succeed, and those who aren't. No matter how hard you try, you will not be able to arbitrarily influence these internal motivating factors.
Now maybe you're having a hard time believing me because you once held a contest or another promotional event that seemed to really motivate your employees. But think of the salespeople who participated and succeeded from this event. They were probably the same people who always participate in your promotions and strive to do well.
The truth: You created an environment that fueled the drive of those who were already internally driven to succeed. Those who weren't driven probably didn't participate and had little to do with your great results.
Type 1: The Unmotivated
Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to motivate someone who has no internal drive to succeed. Trying to motivate these people will NEVER produce the results you want and will only leave you disheartened and worn out. These are the people you do NOT want on your sales staff.
Type 2: The Motivated
A person with a natural drive to succeed can make a wonderful salesperson. They have what it takes to bring about the results you want. These results, however, do depend on that person's environment. The environment that you create for your salespeople can either fuel or dampen that inner drive.
To have a successful sales staff, you must have two things: naturally motivated salespeople and the right environment to keep them motivated.
Finding the right people
Hiring the right employees for the job is the most critical step in building a successful sales team.
How can you tell who has what it takes and who doesn't?
The best way to have great employees is to find them. Great employees do not answer your ad in the paper because they already have a job. Take the initiative and be on the lookout for great employees who work somewhere else, even when you are not currently hiring. When you are constantly scouting for truly gifted employees, you will find rare talent in strange places.
Another way to let the naturally driven stand out is to provide an engaging hiring process. One of the most inventive ways to challenge your prospective employees is to assign them an open-ended task during the initial telephone interview. Have them prepare something for their formal interview the following day. When they probe for more details, do not provide them.
A good candidate will understand that their approach to your task will show their approach to the sales process. Let the employee flex their sales muscles in order to win a job with your company. If they are truly driven, it will show.
Creating the right environment
Even those who are naturally driven can become unmotivated in the wrong environment, so it is essential that you create an environment that will prevent them from feeling unmotivated.
The things that dampen a person's natural drive are obviously as different as his/her individual personality. In order to have a successful staff, you must have different management styles to match the unique personality and needs of each employee.
Some employees lose their natural motivation when they are micro managed, while others can lose their natural motivation when they feel left alone and unsupported by their superior. Then there are the employees that need constant positive reinforcement to keep their natural motivation alive and well, while others feel constant reinforcement is unnecessary, and even condescending.
The examples go on and on
So, what is the best way to find out what keeps your employees motivated?
Ask them! Take 15 minutes to sit down with your employees and ask them some questions about things that they like and dislike. What do you do that is unnecessary or limits their motivation?
Being aware of what your employees like and dislike will help you create an environment that encourages each of your employees to reach full potential. This means happier, more productive employees, which will lead to better results and more sales!
Tom Richard is the author of a weekly ezine on selling skills. To subscribe to this free weekly ezine send a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org