Motivate Your Sales Team to More Profits

Push them to perform better with or without a big bonus

Push them to perform better with or without a big bonus

By Wendy L. Wilson

If your sales team is experiencing a slump, your first thought may be to alter your products or services or even to tweak your marketing plan. The solution, however, could simply be to change the way you motivate your employees by creating a sales incentive plan that makes everyone feel like a winner.

Once ranked in the country’s top one percent in realtor sales, Neil Mathweg now coaches other real estate agents and leads a team of 60 at Realty Executives Cooper Spransy in Madison, Wisconsin. He knows exactly how to build successful sales incentives that result in boosted profits and a revitalized sales force.

With a clear plan that is well-crafted around your employees’ strengths, you will succeed, Mathweg says. Here are five tips that will keep your sales team excited, empowered, and engaged.

Create actionable goals. When Mathweg meets with his team each week, they discuss which goals have and have not been achieved. He also encourages them to step back from focusing solely on their desired outcome and think more about developing a plan to get there.

“We talk about the goals they can and cannot control,” says Mathweg. “They can control the number of phone calls or appointments made, but they can’t control the number of houses they sell.”    

Ask, listen, then watch. Motivating your sales force includes paying attention to differing personalities. There may be those who were born to seal the deal while others need a gentle push. Knowing the difference will affect how you approach your sales incentive ideas. Also, don’t assume what matters most is always a bigger bonus.

Achieving a personal goal may fuel a team member’s desire to work hard. “I coached a realtor who is a young, newlywed for six months before I realized I’d never asked him what he wanted until he said he wanted to buy a home for himself. Instead of just saying, OK, kid go get your house, I helped him figure out tangible goals with metrics around those goals that he will need to purchase his first home.”

Share your ups and downs. Before you try to motivate your sales team, be open about your own story.

“You need to be vulnerable, transparent, and OK with being wrong sometimes,” says Mathweg. “I have had a lot of failures in my successes and I talk to my team about them. They hear it and think if my leader is OK with sharing this with me, then I can trust what he’s about.”

Define healthy competition. There’s a difference between healthy competition and demoralizing rivalries. “I don’t want competition to feel like a way to destroy the weakest and build the ego of the person who’s on top,” says Mathweg.

Instead, he suggests leaders remain mindful of their words and actions when praising their best in sales. Consider spreading the love by asking whoever is second from the bottom on your team to mentor the person who is in last place—allowing employees to feel both empowered and excited by the new responsibility. Lastly, use opportunities for team building to make your sales force stronger. Company functions, office parties, or happy hours can send a powerful motivating message to your sales team that will build camaraderie regardless of whether one person or the entire team hits a major benchmark.

Give them a sense of purpose. Think about reasons you want to grow your company that have nothing to do with money, encourages Mathweg. The owner of his company did just that and realized his bigger purpose was to help orphans in Eastern Europe. When the company started a nonprofit to support those efforts, team members could be proud that their work contributed to a greater cause.

The most important aspects of any sales motivation plan are positivity, authenticity, and creativity. Keeping these points in mind as you rally the troops to meet or surpass their quotas will lead to consistent wins and top performances year-round.

Wendy L. Wilson is an award-winning content creator, editor, and public speaker who knows a little about a lot of things. Follow her Twitter raves, rants, and reviews @WendyLWilson_.

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