Motivating your Salespeople: Getting the Best out of the Best

It’s Only Common Sense


As sales managers, the most important job we have is keeping our salespeople motivated, keeping them  inspired to the point where they will literally be so excited about the product, the company and their role in the company that they will do just about anything to help the company succeed.

There are a number of ways you can do this, but the single most important way is to create a mission that is so compelling that it will create a basis for inspiration as well as motivation. It all starts with this.

One of the things I like to do is create drama, and I do not mean the negative type of drama that pot-stirrers like to create. I mean real drama, just like in a movie where the protagonists are working together to get one great thing accomplished. It’s something that they all believe in, something that will make the world a better place. As a manager you have to create this kind of mission, something that will get the sales team all working toward that same honorable goal.

It can be setting sales records, or getting a record-breaking number of new customers, or winning a huge account that once seemed impossible to win, or even more dramatically, saving the company from going under, or making the company the very best in the industry, or the world. The point is to get the sales team so motivated that they will walk through hell to achieve their goal.

If you think about any great quests—from saving the world from Nazism to going to the moon—it all started with getting the people involved so motivated that they would do anything to help achieve their noble goals.

There is an old saying, “Men and women will go to war faster for a piece of cloth than they will for any amount of money.” History has proven this true time and time again.

Don’t get me wrong; money is always important. But instilling a true sense of mission in a person is more effective and long-lasting.

With that in mind, here are five ways that you can create a mission that will keep your sales team motivated and inspired.

  1. Lay out the mission in clear and concise detail. Crate a vivid portrayal, complete with explicit examples of what you are trying to accomplish as a team and as a company. This means developing a real description of what achieving your goal will be like, what it will mean to the company, to the entire company work force, and to the salespeople themselves. The clearer this is, the better it will be understood, absorbed and incorporated into the sales team’s daily life.


  1. Make your team members, each and every one of them, the hero of this story, of this mission. We lead lives that are frankly a bit mundane, even a little boring at times. Let’s face it: 100,000 people don’t show up in a stadium on a Saturday afternoon to watch us do our job. Save that for sports heroes. That being said, we have to create our own situations and make our own people the heroes of that situation. Show your people, both as a team and as individuals, what it takes to be a hero of your own company’s mission.


  1. Learn more about each member of your team. What makes each of them tick, what turns then on, their long-term and short-term goals, and make that part of the story. What does the sales person sitting in front of you want out of life? What is the one great thing or quest that will turn that person into the hero of his own life? Is it a trip to Paris for her and her husband? Is it paying off her house? Is it sending his kids to a great college? Is it that lake house? Is it paying off medical bills? Is it retiring at 55? Whatever it is, incorporate it into each person’s story; show that that by helping to achieve the company’s great mission they will achieve their as well. Make that person the hero of his own story as well.


  1. Keep at it. You have to keep the company’s goals in front of your sales team at all times. Keep them motivated with positive progress reports if things are going well. And if things are taking a little dip, show them how they can get back on course. Measure as well as motivate. Keep your team constantly aware of the goal at all times to the point that whatever they are doing has consistent and lasting meaning.


  1. And finally, recognize successes, both individual and team. Make a big deal when milestones are achieved and a bigger deal when a goal is achieved. Have a celebration, give out awards and make achieving your goals a truly memorable event.

And then begin again. Create the next big goal and do it all over again. You now have a team that has a proven track record of accomplishment so that they not only have the inspiration, initiative and motivation needed to accomplish a great thing, they now also have the experience and confidence of having done it once already. It’s only common sense.

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