Data suggests that there are more important factors than money for having a happy workforce. While this is true for any department, I would argue this is even more so for sales forces. Reason being, sellers feed off of energy like nobody else. Go into most sales offices, and you'll be overwhelmed with the smell of coffee, yelling, and Rockstar. Ever seen the Wolf of Wallstreet? Although not the best example of a great culture, the energy is something prevalent in many sales departments. And just because this environment may not be your cup of tea, it makes it easy to motivate your sales team.
The key to motivating a sales force does not just need to stop with money incentives for closing clients. This is a proven method, but not necessarily the best strategy to use by itself. Exceptional companies know how to excite team members with things outside of cash. There's a few fundamental ways to do this that are most effective. If you need a boost in sales or are worried that motivation is slipping, start using these techniques immediately. Your team will be closing deals faster than Jonah Hill ate that gold fish. (Last Wolf of Wallstreet reference. I promise.)
1. Share War Stories
Nothing gets your team motivated more than hearing about an employee going through the worst of the worst to close a sale. You want to be extra dramatic here, so it adds a little fun to what you're saying. Play up the struggles a team member went through to get a deal closed, and highlight the fact that they were determined.
Not only will this serve as recognition for a team member who did an outstanding job, but it also will get the rest of the team fired up. They'll want to be the next war story, and this will motivate them to never take no for an answer. It's also great to recognize people with stories rather than just compliments. Tales of people going through a problem and becoming a hero are much more memorable than just a few kind words.
2. Don't get mad when a seller doesn't close
Selling is a numbers game. While you never want to head into a sales call without you're "A Game", losing deals is part of the process. Like sports, you can't win them all. What you can do is learn from your mistakes and brush yourself off.
When you see someone lose a sale, your job as the leader is to be the first one to pat him on the back. In some cases, I even give them a high five. They're surprised at first but when I applaud their effort, it's much easier for them to move on and stay positive. It's easy to have a great relationship when everything is perfect. The difference is the best commanders are there for their crew even when the ship is sinking. If you're that kind of leader to your sales team, they will stay loyal to you through think and thin.
3. Never Take Complete Credit For A Close
As much as possible, I try to compliment someone else on my team when I land a client. If I can, I'll make sure I note when I used a sales technique that another seller on my team taught me. The worst sales organizations are the ones where everyone is out for himself. If you want to build a company that acts as a unit and supports one another, avoid this at all costs.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to pass the credit to other members of your team. This can be hard to do, because sometimes we think being the hero of a closed deal buys us respect from our employees. While this may be true, it speaks much greater volumes to make someone else the hero. It's always better to have someone else be the star, than have no team at all.