It is easy to close a deal once, twice, or more. But how likely are you to be able to continue doing so for your entire working career as a salesperson?
It is similar to holding a glass on top of your palm. It’s easy, hardly a challenge, effortless even. But how long can you keep holding on to it without questions, without demanding a change in position, without questioning in the first place why you should be doing it at all?
A person with an innate drive for sales and business shouldn’t have problems with closing a deal the first few times. But even if it’s something that you inherently love doing, the longer you stay doing the same thing over and over again, you are bound to get demotivated at some point in the long-run. And in the cutthroat world of sales, a demotivated salesperson simply won’t do, as they lose their edge for following up and seizing opportunities.
This is why sales managers should know how to motivate their salespeople effectively. It should avoid the typical lengthy speech, and at the same time, it should not be based solely on monetary forms of motivation.
Given the nature of the work, an outsider would probably say that the right motivation would come in the appearance of money. But cash can only go so far, and there are many other ways to motivate someone without resorting to this method, as mentioned earlier.
Motivational forms can be categorized into two types, the intrinsic and extrinsic ways of motivating someone. Intrinsic motivations are the ones that do not require an external force acted upon the person to move them to work, while extrinsic motivations are those that an external reward is used to inspire someone into working or completing a milestone.
If you used to think that flashy and grandiose are the only path to uplifting someone, think again. While extrinsic methods require external force, some of these can be done with just the slightest gesture or fewest words.
One of the most common methods is the oldest in the book, but today it is too often overlooked. The power of a little recognition is so frequently disregarded, but they do so much work in their own right. As a sales manager, recognizing your people through words of gratitude or pats of encouragement are the simplest ways to tell your salespeople that their efforts are noticed. Not only will they know that someone is looking out for them at the workplace, but it also assures them that they are doing the right thing.
- Pace-setting rewards
Most laggard employees are motivated by pace-set rewards. Laggard employees are divided into different categories: the senior employees who have gone lax because of routine work and time, the newly hired employees that still need training, the less-motivated workers that feel inadequate, and those that feel they cannot “compete” with other employees performance.
Dividing work progress in mini checkpoints would also be best complemented with tangible rewards at every milestone. This step-by-step reward system is also called the carrot method. By doing so, the focus is given to sales activities instead of the sales results where unhealthy competition might stem from.
According to the Harvard Business Review (HBR), the low-performing groups at work tend to work better when given incentives along the way to improvement. A carrot is rewarded every time an employee improves their performance. The most commonly used carrots are compensation plans, monthly bonuses, model behavior highlights, and free office goods. Additionally, HBR says that removing the monthly or quarterly incentives as a punishment is ineffective and only contributes to declining employee’s performance.
The mini checkpoints can also be categorized under the method of gamification if done interactively. By putting in elements of gameplay, an exchange between all key players in the workforce transpires. The feeling of satisfaction or excitement when reaching a new level while playing mobile games also applies when you gamify work. Instead of making learning feel like a burden, doing fun activities to learn something new helps ignite the worker’s competitive spirit.
- Team building
Team building also comes as another extrinsic method to motivate the workforce. This method establishes connection and support among everyone that lasts even after the course of the training, something that everyone can count on even outside of work. Although gamification may be fun for some, some people get intimidated by the competition and need a little boost from the team. To solidify teamwork, organize fun team building activities that make the members get to know each other. Activities like Getting to Know You, occasional eating out, and workshops are good communication starters.
- Growth opportunities
Aside from holding an occasional team-building, providing for the salespeople’s growth opportunities is also an effective way to motivate. Perhaps an opportunity of letting someone lead a team for the first time will serve as an avenue where a salesperson can thrive in their managerial skills and, in turn, motivate them to further their endeavors.
Nevertheless, even with all these examples of motivating, it’s no secret that it would also be equally substantial to motivate the workforce without the need for external factors. After all, external influences can be hard to rely upon as they need an external factor to work properly This is why the intrinsic motivations should be just as equally considered.
A first in the intrinsic list would have to be letting every salesperson know their actual purpose and additional points if it could align with the sales work. Knowing an individual’s goals would be helpful to understanding the infinite resource of what motivates a person to move forward. Being able to bridge this purpose with work would be similar to tapping an immeasurable creative resource and energy reservoir.
- Individualism and trust
The second would be on the person’s autonomy. They are allowing a worker to be autonomous enough to make the right calls would require an established trust. This trust would come in handy in times of salespeople calling the shots and taking the initiative in work, an essential trait in a salesperson. Give them the oppurtunity to decide how they do their jobs and see which methods work best for them.
- Building relationships between managers and salespeople
Additionally, trust would also be essential in building rapport with the working sales team. A connection is vital as the work continues because the harmony and coordination between people would be significantly saving time and energy for what truly matters. For a harmonious relationship in the company, every person should communicate their issues freely to each other. There should be a weekly meeting allotted for the sole purpose of raising concerns or feedback for each other.
As a bigger picture, these intrinsic motivations should not only be applied to one team but the whole working environment as well. A well-systemized environment and dynamics will make for an excellent momentum check on everyone for each team member.
A well-paced motivational source or item would trigger just the right amount of healthy competition amongst everyone, where each person involved is part of the push-and-pull approach, coaxing a thriving group of salespeople.
However, each worker is motivated by different things as would another worker be. Immersing and knowing what method motivates them the best would still be a necessary prerequisite. To effectively motivate your salespeople would require first understanding who your salespeople are, and the rest would flow together.