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5 Valuable Ways to Motivate Your Salespeople


If I asked a group of sales leaders, what motivates their salespeople, money is going to come up more often than not. And yes, money is important as it does pay the bills. And for some, money can be used as a scorecard. But are true high performers only motivated by money? If this were the case, most commission-only salespeople would be wildly rich! The truth is, that they’re not. Many continue to struggle in spite of unlimited income potential. So in addition to money, what drives motivation? What would get someone to go to the bat for you?

Here are five rules for motivating your people:

1. You must understand what drives each individual

Just like everyone buys for their own reasons, everyone is motivated by something different. Some people crave recognition for doing a great job. Others might be looking for growth opportunities. These could be either personal or professional. The important thing as a leader is to find out what drives the individual. Yes, you must pay salespeople what they’re worth, but make sure you understand why they are getting up in the morning to come to work and bang out 100 calls or travel and be away from their families for a week.

2. You must make them feel valued

Great people want to feel that their contributions and ideas are valued! After all, you don’t need to hire smart people if you’re going to tell them what to do! Or not listen to hear their point of view. After all, they are the ones in the trenches, making calls, qualifying, and closing. Celebrate successes. Show you care about them. Research at Harvard has demonstrated that leaders’ who project warmth and caring are more effective than people leading with toughness. Take a proactive approach and ask their opinions and listen to what they have to say. Having their input taken seriously not only gives them more pride in their work, but also a sense of ownership.

3. You must allow them to fail

Yes, that’s right. And when they do fail, you need to be there to pick them up not put them down. Sales is all about rejection! This will give them more confidence to put themselves in risky situations like asking tough questions. Unfortunately, most people tend to take rejection personally and over time, lose confidence. No amount of skill training alone will help them. You must constantly reinforce and build their confidence and self-esteem so that they continue to execute the desired behaviors.

4. You must be a coach, not a supervisor

Your job as a sales leader is to help develop your people and make them self-sufficient. What better way to motivate someone than to help them build the skills to succeed? This goes for your experienced salespeople as well as the rookies. How many professional athletes get to miss practice because they have experience? That’s right – none. Everyone has areas that require improvement. To do this, you need to mutually agree to areas that need improvements. To accomplish that, you need a locked in sales methodology to diagnose the problems. Once you uncover these gaps, you can coach your salespeople to improve. When the entire team is following the same methodology, this creates team accountability, team motivation, and a positive workplace culture.

5. Yes, offer incentives if you want

It doesn’t have to be large sums of money! Think recognition, awards, gift cards, and lunch. These small practices show you that you care. If you care for them, they will care for you. The best business plans and coolest office space won’t make a difference if your salespeople aren’t motivated.

Take the time to find out what drives your people, continually check in, and by making sure they’re on track to hit their goals, they will help you hit yours!

John Dobrowolsky

Sandler trainer