Motivating your sales team is not merely a matter of reaching for your wallet and offering more money. In fact, money is one of the less effective predictors of employee success. Find out how to motivate your team using tools and behaviors other than monetary compensation.
your sales team is not merely a matter of reaching for your wallet and offering
more money. In fact, money is one of the less effective predictors of employee
Instead, you can reach for a more lasting
impact by considering the emotional and psychological factors that drive
Maslow Has the Answer At college, you may have studied Maslow's hierarchy in Psych 101; this familiar, colorful
triangle demonstrated the fundamental human needs beginning at its base
(physiological needs -- air, food and water, sleep) and ending at its point
(self-actualization, or achieving wisdom).
Near the top of the triangle are two more
layers: social needs and esteem needs. Down much lower on the hierarchy comes
money, as part of the "safety needs" that include job security and
What does Maslow have to do with closing
sales? You can use the hierarchy to get a better handle on motivating your
sales team. And because different people are driven by different needs, you
will call upon your human resource and managerial skills to recognize the
motivators among your staff in these categories:
Social needs include the drive to attain friends and belong to a social
group. Sales people, who are typically outgoing and gregarious anyway,
might respond well to small gestures you make -- sending a thank-you card
on behalf of the company, showing up with a birthday cake, or granting an
invitation to join a new-business strategic team, task force or some other
Esteem needs are driven by the desire to gain recognition, status,
attention and a sense of accomplishment. It's easy to imagine many sales
reps seeking such validation. You can fulfill esteem needs by publicizing
a great sale, making promotions publicly known, by interviewing a top
performer for the company newsletter or blog, or asking him or her to
mentor new employees.
Finally, self-actualization refers to those motivated
by such intangibles as truth, wisdom and meaning. Few people achieve and
maintain this level of awareness in life, much less in business, but if
you recognize such traits in a sales rep, you can foster it by enrolling
her in special training to grow her skills, by giving him your most
challenging customers (and letting him know why he was chosen), or by
asking her to assess the entire organization's sales tactics in pursuit of
Money Talk? So is there still a place for money as
a motivator? Yes and no. A bonus or raise can prompt short-term performance,
but money on its own is not a long-term motivator, even in a volatile job
market. Once a sales rep reaches a comfortable living wage, he or she is less
likely to see more money in the same desirable light as, for instance, more
responsibility or more recognition.
Say It Right In any recognition you offer, make
your gestures sincere, specific and timely.
For instance, "You did a good job today" is a
general compliment, while "Denise, you did a good job today
addressing that unhappy customer" is specific.
Be aware of whether a sales rep desires public recognition --
some people don't. If they appear uncomfortable being the center of
attention in a staff meeting, for example, save your praise for a
Don't wait to recognize accomplishment -- make
recognition a priority, not an afterthought.
Jan Stewart writes exclusively for Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics, a family owned fulfillment service business located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. When you need simple or comprehensive assistance with warehousing, order processing, and shipping for your store or e-commerce business, consider Medallion first. Visit them at www.MedallionEnterprises.com.