Sales staff are the gatekeepers of revenue. If they do their job well, the gate is open wide and the income rolls in. If they struggle, the whole company can pay the price.
Given the immense importance of the sales staff, it’s obvious that any company should be alert to ways to get their sales staff better equipped, trained, and motivated to keep product moving. While bonuses and commissions are a key part of this process, it sometimes takes more than money to get people to do their best.
So what can you do to get your sales staff to peak performance? It’s a question that has been asked for many years. Ever-increasing quotas and shrinking staffs make the job tough, so let’s look at a few tricks of the trade that can encourage better productivity.
Make Success Tangible
It’s great to take home a nice commission or bonus, but there’s something about it that is fleeting. After all, anybody who’s excited to get money will be excited to use it or save it, so by nature, it disappears pretty quickly. Nobody’s going to carry that check around forever, so it can be tough to recall the feeling they had when they received it. The best sales moment of someone’s career can be quickly lost as a distant memory.
A good option is to create tangible reminders of those sales successes. The use of trophies and awards to recognize workers who meet certain goals and benchmarks is a great way to help them keep their success in front of them. The pursuit of an interrupted flow of annual plaques on the wall is a great way to keep sales staff feeling positive about themselves.
Listen To Them
The best eyes and ears in a company are the frontline staff. The sales personnel who talk daily with your customers know better than anyone what the market is calling for, and your business will thrive if you listen to that feedback and try to incorporate their recommendations into your products and services. After all, good listening is one of a sales person’s most important skills; shouldn’t you have it too?
Not only are sales personnel a conduit to customers, they’re also very keen observers of the company. When they provide input about how things work (or don’t work), it can be very helpful information.
Of course, they don’t always have the information needed to understand why a change can’t be made, but in that case, they should be shown respect and appreciation for their input and should be given logical reasons why changes can’t be made. Even if you don’t do what they suggest, they’ll appreciate that you listened and gave them a look at your own point of view, and why it means you can’t implement their ideas.
Let Your Hair Down
In management, there is a lot of responsibility. There are rules and standards. There are laws and policies. There is accountability from a variety of sources. That’s the nature of the job.
Most employees understand and respect that, but it can be very easy to fall into a trap of managing checklists and reviewing reports without ever coming up for air. When your sales staff sees that, they internalize it as the culture of the company and struggle to relax and be themselves.
Take a break. Go beyond casual Friday and institute something more personal. Let everybody wear the jersey of their favorite sports team. Have friendly competitions to benefit charities or to get a chance to win a catered lunch for their group. Humanize yourself and they’ll feel like humans too.
The constant pursuit of better sales is essential to success in business, but it must be done the right way. Demanding better performance will scare off your workers, leaving you to find somebody new to badger. Take a different approach and appeal to the fundamental desires of people to be involved, to be heard, and to be rewarded.