January 2, 2019

When I worked in the sales department at a commercial radio station, the sales manager went to the extreme to motivate the sales staff just prior to the fourth quarter in preparation for the holidays and leading into the new year. 

There was a huge kickoff meeting, with sales contests and incentives such as trips, double the sales-commission rate, and cash bonuses. But all the “rah-rah” and pom-pom shaking can’t fix a motivation problem.

Sales reps continually face outside circumstances that affect their motivation. Prospects and customers tell them “no” over and over again; the timing may be wrong to sell a particular sales promotion; or there may be some personal situation going on affecting a person’s ability to sell. 

As a sales manager I know that the motivation of sales people can affect their productivity. With an eye toward improving the success of your sales staff, here are some ideas to boost their motivation. 

You’ve got to know where you’re going.

Without a specific goal, your salespeople won’t know what constitutes success for themselves and their department. The goal should be a stretch but achievable. It’s not always just about sales quotas. Salespeople aren’t all motivated in the same way. A personal goal may be a better choice for some. Talk with each individual sales rep to learn what will work best for them.

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Focus on purpose.

People who love their jobs tend to do better at their jobs. As a sales manager, it’s your role to keep your salespeople engaged and supportive of your station’s mission. Talk about what that mission means to each person on your sales staff and how they play an integral part. It’s not uncommon for a sense of purpose to play a role in why they work for the station. That sense of purpose can help inspire them to work harder and inspire their loyalty to your station.

Involve others.

Have a meeting that includes your sales, membership, and marketing staffs. Bringing the others into the conversation can spark ideas, remove hurdles, and increase productivity. The other departments want your sales staff to be successful. Your salespeople will be in the loop and involved in what’s happening. And based on this collaboration, the salespeople can adjust their approach and improve results.

Create a culture of recognition.

Sales reps want to be acknowledged for their successes. Bonuses or sales commissions sometimes are not enough. Go beyond that and thank them each time they bring in a sale, recognizing them for their achievements. Share those successes with other departments. The accolades they receive from their coworkers will go a long way in helping motivate the salespeople. That praise and recognition can motivate them to not only work harder, but also work together.

Get creative.

Rewards don’t always have to be monetary. Get your salespeople’s input. Ask them “what would motivate you?” Remember that not everyone feels motivated by the same things. Be open to their ideas. Build upon the successful ideas and keep your sales people motivated!

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