Stephen Hensley’s 15-Point Manifesto for Sales Performance – Point #3
Motivating your sales team isn’t workable, you must inspire them
Here are three internal best practices, bringing leaders to target inspiration and leaving motivation to the sales employee.
Leaders will often look for additional ways to pay for performance in an effort to motivate their sales team. Unfortunately, no one can motivate others, because motivation is intrinsic. Yet, I see this all the time and countless hours wasted on non-result delivering tactics. As a leader, think about getting out of your own way. I find leaders who use rewards to deliver results, is only building a smoke screen for performance. When you use this approach, the leader must continue to raise the rewards level to achieve the same performance. Your performance will vary like the highs and lows of a roller coaster. To solve this, build discipline within yourself and employee to scratch the potential of your abilities.
Paint a Picasso
I don’t truly want you to paint a Picasso, because you and I probably don’t have the skill or talent to do so. Guess what, it’s ok. You must paint your own Picasso to inspire yourself to get through the daily grind which can wear you down. Your Picasso is what you see when you look at an event or situation. As a leader, you may need to help your employee’s paint their Picasso regarding career, skills, mindset, attitude, performance, livelihood, vision, etc. When you can help someone see their purpose professionally or personally, it will inspire them to go above and beyond the call of duty. How are you doing this with your team?
You work with a sales employee to see how their current role enhances their career aspirations. You must start with the end goal and work backwards. For example, the employee wants to be a future sales manager. The employee doesn’t see the need in understanding the why behind the feedback he receives. He wants to receive the feedback and move on. You need to show him the impact of learning, doing, and teaching. This will be a key skill that he must leverage as a leader. When you paint a vision for your future, and tie it back to now, the picture will come together for the person. As you build the Picasso with the employee, you must remind them to think about each stroke of the brush. Why did you put a stroke of paint here or there? These strokes of your brush will be like the behaviors and processes you must learn to be elite.
I’m sure you hear all the time about how you need to take time to get to know your employees. I’ve heard it and use it more times than I can count. You should do things like knowing about their family, pets, hobbies, siblings, travels, etc. These are things you should do to be an effective leader. Unfortunately, this is the minimum you should do to be an average leader. When you want to inspire more out of your sales employees, give them more of you and build a professional relationship. You cannot make them feel like a number or you are only getting to know them because you get something out of it. I’m suggesting you take it to another level, an elite level. Let’s presume you know all about your employee. This next level process allows you to tap into your employee’s psyche. Here’s what you need to do.
During your weekly or bi-weekly one on ones, set aside time to discuss the things which positively provoke and unfavorably impact the employee. Discuss signs, events, peers which cause this impact. Create strategies to leverage or overcome these areas. For example, you notice Steve isn’t speaking with his peers and seems distant. Pull Steve aside and see how he’s doing. If he says he’s ok, you must dig deeper. You could say Steve, we committed to each other, we’ll always be there to help each other. You seem like you have something on your mind. I’m here to see what I can do to help. Where do you want to start? This will help remove negativity and create focus on things that will inspire them to unleash their potential.
Many leaders tell me how they get inundated with questions from their sales team whenever they launch a new initiative. There’s usually a lot of resistance to change regardless of how little or big it is. Typically, this is caused by a lack of trust or confidence in leadership. You cannot inspire your employees to be at their very best if they don’t fully trust you.
Here are two things you can do to build trust and inspire your employees to lead change and buy in to you. During the one-on-one process, you must set up a time to discuss the employees’ impact to the team. Have conversations about providing solutions to problems they and their peers are experiencing. This will slowly build a solution-oriented mentality. For example, your employee tells you that the CRM has too many steps to update the notes. Instead of taking the information and going to the CRM team, ask the employee how they would fix it. Gather everyone’s insights about the CRM to see if there are other adjustments needed. Pick a point person to handle the adjustments with your oversight.
Second, you need to take time to include your employees in the decisions. For example, you need to adjust the sales process. Instead of deciding and forcing the sales employees to adjust, ask for their insights. You might say Jamie, we need to pivot our process to keep our position in the marketplace. Where do you think we can have the most impact? Have you spoken to your peers about this? I would make this a practice you follow. When you think about inspiring your team, this will have a profound impact because you asked for their perspective. Often, leaders will decide without consulting the team. This can build resentment since they are the one’s going through the challenges.