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Ask the Expert: Motivating Salespeople to Sell More

Photo: David Croxford

Question:

I have six salespeople: four veterans and two who are quite new. While they are all selling, I know they could be selling more, and I’m amazed that the new ones are outselling the experienced ones. Any suggestions?

Answer:

It is not uncommon for new salespeople to sell more than their experienced colleagues. They are enthusiastic, fresh, haven’t learned any shortcuts and still believe everyone is going to buy. Maintaining this attitude after they have experienced some rejection can be challenging. Here are three motivational tools that will help:

1. Recognition:
Salespeople will work harder for recognition than for money. Establish regular sales meetings designed to publicly applaud those who have performed well in the past week or month. When you see a big sale that has been made or a great job done, call that salesperson and offer your personal congratulations.

2. Compensation:
Your competition would love to hire your best salespeople and the most common lure is more pay. Be certain that you offer competitive compensation. If you have a brand-driven, destination-type of business where customers come in to buy, all you need is a healthy salary, fringe benefits and a vacation policy. However, if your product requires real selling, a generous commission is vital. Simply determine what percentage of your incoming sales you would be willing to pay to get the sale, and then structure your compensation so your salesperson can enjoy that percentage while you stay within your budget. We refer to this as “Selling Cost.”

3. Contests and Competition:
The “Keep Your Job Contest” is not enough. While some people consider competition to be stressful, the reality is that competition is healthy. Olympic athletes compete against other countries, but they also compete against their own teammates. In spite of the competition, they cheer one another on and applaud those getting the medals. If a group of people were to race from one place to another, only one would get there first, but they would ALL get there faster than had they been running alone. Design daily and monthly sales contests to spur people to greater achievement. While each of your people has different abilities, all of them can and will try a bit harder because of competition and recognition. And, be sure there is a scoreboard. It’s both important and motivational for everyone to see how others are doing.

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