How Do You Motivate A Diverse Sales Team?
Motivating a sales team can be tricky, you don’t want to come off fake or forceful, but you need to find a way to motivate your team to meet a goal. I am sure we have all been in situations where we felt that our boss did not truly believed in or care about motivating the team. Hopefully you didn’t suffer through a situation where your boss used the "do as I say" form of motivation, but most of us have. I am sure you will remember that this style was unsuccessful in the long term.
I have discovered though my time in Sales Management that I focus on three actions to create the right atmosphere for motivation to take place.
Creating Relationships- A leader’s most important role is to build a strong relationship with their team and among the team members. This relationship should be based on 3 forms of trust creating open communication and acceptance of coaching:
- Trust in your support
- Trust in your decision making
- Trust in your values.
Lead with both the mind and heart – When a leader uses both knowledge/facts and emotion when making decisions gains their teams understanding and appreciation for their decision-making process. Leaders that solely lead by emotion seem weak, and those that use only facts come across cold. Using both shows your team that production must be met and that you are willing to help them improve;
Nurture hope and optimism – A leader must set a vision of success and consistently remind their employees that they have the skills and knowledge to accomplish that vision.
Creating this atmosphere then allows me to motivate each team member 1 on 1 in their preferred way. I find the easiest way to uncover their preferred style is to simply ask them. If you feel that the employee is telling you what they think you want to hear, use your observations and ask more questions to uncover the true way to help them succeed. Ask questions like, "how have your past managers helped you succeed", "when you are performing at your best, what did you need from your manager", or "what’s the one thing I can do to help you succeed". Once you have asked them how they like to be motivated your team will understand why you use different motivation techniques with different people. The top four styles that I have used are:
Support and pushed to succeed – Employees that benefit from this style know that they lack a personal skill and want help. For example, they may already know they have poor time management skills and thrive when their manager uses a tight management structure;
Support and confidence building – The employee that enjoy this style have the skills to excel in their role but lack confidence in their skills;
Cheerleader – There are two different groups that thrive with this style of motivation. The first is the employee that has the skills and is already succeeding. The second is those that have the skills but think no one else sees it;
Teacher – This style is normally used with new employees. They have the skills, or you wouldn’t have hired them, but need you to motivate them to connect their skills to their new role.
I find that being a versatile motivator allows you as a leader to stay authentic to yourself and allows your team to be motivated in their preferred style.