Delivering sales motivation is a big responsibility. Sales managers gleefully accept the promotion when offered.  Even after managing for months or years, they don’t always realize how much they influence sellers to excel and can unknowingly de-motivate the team and then wonder why sales aren’t where they need to be.

There are approximately 20 million people in the US selling for a living. If it’s your job to deliver sales motivation to just one of those individuals, it’s paramount that you’re doing it the right way!

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The sales manager’s challenge is to keep morale up because it’s tough out there.  Sellers are constantly hearing rejection, are aware of the steep competition right behind them at every turn, and the on going 12-month pressure of meeting sales quotas.

Good sales managers seek out ways to create a more motivating environment and take advantage of a no-cost motivation tool – their weekly or monthly sales meetings.  The sales team is a captive audience and if the meeting includes energy, excitement and has a high pay-off, it’s guaranteed to motivate your team to sell more.

Sales Motivation for Top Producers

The following points are big no no’s to avoid and the right high-payoff actions if you truly want your team to meet their business and personal goals and in turn build yourself a team of top producers.

No-No 1. Lecture

When you tell others what to do rather than how to do it, it causes minds to close and ears to switch off.  Think about your reaction when people around you lecture on how to do things and say, “This is what I used to do” and “This is what you should do”.  And even, “We missed sales levels last week, let’s make sure we don’t repeat that.”  The reason when you tell sales people there’s a sales meeting and you hear a collective groan, it’s a good chance their sales manager is doing all of the talking.

High Payoff Motivation: Engage your sellers in the meeting beyond asking them to report out or answer small questions.  Certainly use 15 minute of your meeting for updates, and plan at least 30 minutes for an interactive skill building activity.  Select a skill, plan an activity to discuss, brainstorm or practice the skill either in pairs, triads are small groups.

No-No 2. Position people to do it wrong to prove and show how to do it right

I observed a sales manager who asked 2 sales people to come to the front of the room and role play a sales situation.  Immediately afterwards, the sales manager began the debrief with 8 things the sales person didn’t do right.  Then proceeded to show everyone how they would have done it.

Putting people in an uncomfortable position in front of their peers to prove a point is a good way of getting peoples backs up.  You can be guaranteed no one will participate after they see what’s going to happen in the front of the room.

High Payoff Motivation: Training experts debate the merit of being put in what I call the ‘hot’ seat and get toughened up.  A sales person can get toughened up in role play situations without the drama and stress.  Set up triads designating one person as the seller, one as the buyer and the last as the observer.  Complete the ‘role-play’ practice and allow the observer to lead the debrief with all parties participating.  In this smaller group setting everyone has a responsibility to listen and give feedback.  If someone sucked, they’ll get the feedback in a safe environment and will more likely appreciate and act on the information.

No-No 3. Power Points that look like War and Peace

Power Points that are filled with words let’s the audience know they’re not only in for a lecture, they’re going to be read to.  Probably the last time the people in the room were read to was for their childhood night time story.  It’s a sure fire message that boring is coming and you’ve lost them at the first slide.

High Payoff Motivation:  90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than in text. (Sources:  3M Corporation and Zabisco).  Instead of words, is there a picture that captures the message and then you can speak about the topic.  I’ve seen and even used slide decks with one picture per slide and it was very well received.  Another way is to include an image and a few bullet points.  If your audience tunes you out, when they tune back in they can be right there with without you reading to them.

No-No 4. Invalidating Yourself at the Beginning

The first few words at the offset of the meeting set the tone and buy in for what comes next.  That’s why you don’t want to open the meeting saying any of the following:

• Trust me this meeting is going to be good

• You’ve heard this before but I’m going to repeat it

• I’ve never done this before in front of a group

• I don’t know if you’ll learn anything

• This is my first time presenting this

• You’re getting what I learned in a day seminar in 30 minutes

These types of phrases invalidate your expertise or the value of their time.  There’s a good chance they will immediately mentally check out, be suspect of the information, and give them permission to challenge you throughout the meeting. Plan your opening as carefully as you do in a sales call to instil confidence and credibility.

High Payoff Motivation:  There’s no need to allude to your inexperience on the topic of the day.  Instead of making assumptions about what people are thinking, either begin the meeting with an interactive exercise or a What’s In It For Them statement.  For example, “By the time we’re finished today, the goal is to be able to improve close ratios by 1 less visit with the prospect.”

No-No 5. Ask a question and keeps going without gaining response from the audience.

Unless it’s an appropriate rhetorical question not waiting for an answer sends several poor messages:

• I’m not really interested in what any of you have to say

• I love the sound of my own voice

• I’m uncomfortable with silence

You can turn your audience off and even lose credibility by not allowing them to answer.

The best type of audience is one that’s engaged and participating especially when motivation is a goal.

High Payoff Motivation If you ask a question wait for an answer.  Studies show that it often takes up to 20 seconds for people to respond to a question.  20 seconds seems like a long time and for many people they can’t handle the silence so they begin talking.  Learn to ask the question and stop.  It never fails, someone in the audience will answer before the 20 seconds are over.  This takes practice, especially if you are uncomfortable with silence.

No-No 6. The room is set classroom style or U-shape.

Since motivation is the key, setting a room in classroom our u-shape is a quick way to eliminate energy and interaction.  Classroom is very stifling and even though a u-shape is open and everyone can see each other – when your sellers speak they feel like everyone is looking at them (they are!).

High Payoff Motivation:  Use round or rectangular tables in the meeting or training room and place 4-6 people at each table.  In medium to large group discussions it doesn’t feel like everyone is starring at you.  With this configuration opens the energy and comfort level in the room, plus gives a natural set up for a variety of table discussions with high interaction.

Need a little help in how to get sales motivation right?  Check out these 5 Amazing Movie Clips to Motivate Ambitious, Driven Sales Teams.