“Motivate the Sales Team” – This is command is heard in organizations around the world.
But how do you motivate a sales team when times are tough? As a motivational speaker I get some interesting briefs, including:
- China economy is down, our clients export their output to China and so selling them new equipment is tough. Please motivate our people to sell more equipment, and by the way we have put prices up!
- There is a world-wide recession for our product. Projects promised by head office have not come to fruition, so the easy deals have gone away. Motivate the team to look for the more complex and lower return deals.
- There is likely to be a digital disruption to our industry, so we want our people to build relationships with their customers, whilst at the same time we are encouraging customers to do things online.
- You worked very hard this year and created 15% growth, so next year we want you to be excited by 25% growth.
Do these resonate with you?
The message is often, “last year was tough and next year is likely to be tougher, and we want you to be excited about it!
“You gotta stay hungry – Les Brown”.
“Motivation is like taking a bath – the effect is not permanent!
– Zig Ziglar”
Self-leadership research (Bryant & Kazan 2012) shows that, clarity of Intention, increases Influence and therefore Impact, when Intention is supported by Self-awareness, Self-confidence and Self-efficacy (self-belief). To motivate a sales team, we need to help them to access their self-leadership.
The reality is that the current business cycle is tough, but by acknowledging it, and focusing the fact that this is when true champions emerge. Champions have the intention to be agile, to take action, to learn, to adjust and take action again.
To do this means stepping up our self-confidence and our self-efficacy – the belief that we can handle whatever comes our way. This may require a change in mind-set for some.
Change your Mindset
There is a resistance to change, because the brain likes consistency. But to be successful in these current times, we must embrace the fact that what worked last year possibly won’t work this year.
Mediocre sales people will continue to sell features and benefits of their projects.
Great sales people will seek to understand the needs of their current and future customers, demonstrate their understanding of those needs and partner in finding solutions.
Disruption is not just a fancy new App, disruption is the mind-set that he or she who empowers the consumer wins!
As I speak to senior leaders, the common thread is that they want to shift the mind-set of their managers and sales people to understand all parts of the business, because it is disruptors who cut across silo thinking, that are winning the customer.
So to motivate your sale team, just chanting “you can do it!” won’t be enough. You must go deeper than that, you must tap into your teams intentions to be a champion by adapting to the environment and changing it to your favor (read my post on being a modern gladiator).
Human beings can survive and thrive in some of the most inhospitable parts of this planet, because of our self-leadership and ability to collaborate in teams.
The business world is being disrupted – but by applying self-leadership, we will be the disruptors and not the disruptees!