Is there a winning formula to motivate a sales team - Mike Le Put explains
I’m often asked what the winning formula is for motivating a sales team and helping them achieve their targets. Many sales managers mistakenly believe it’s all down to raw sales talent, but an innate ability to sell proverbial coals to Newcastle is rare.
However, there is a winning formula for sales success and it is: M = R x E (Motivation = Reward x Expectation).
To explain how this formula works in practice, we need to examine the shortcomings of a traditional carrot and stick approach to motivation.
Let’s imagine that it’s the office Christmas party and there is a piano in the room. The boss decides that it would liven up the party if someone were to play a few tunes and offers a bottle of wine as an incentive. Yet, no-one volunteers to tickle the ivories despite the potential reward.
As a result, the boss threatens to end the party if no-one volunteers to play the piano but still the piano stool remains unoccupied. Why? Because the boss has failed to ask a very important question – does anyone at the party actually know how to play the piano?
The same principles apply to motivating and rewarding sales teams. Most companies offer their salespeople some form of incentive to meet their targets and assume that the offer of a reward alone is enough to motivate each salesperson.
Often the ‘carrot’ of a reward is balanced by the ‘stick’ of a consequence if targets are not met, which can range from being publicly named and shamed for under performance in sales meetings to facing disciplinary procedures.
This black and white approach to reward or punishment fails to consider an important element of motivation - expectation. Put simply, no matter how attractive the reward may be, if the salesperson has no expectation of achieving it because the target is too high or in some other way un-achievable it will not motivate them to sell more. In fact, it may do just the opposite.
To counter this anti-motivation issue with carrot and stick reward structures, companies must nurture a no blame culture that enables sales people to communicate openly the hurdles that are preventing them from achieving their targets and access the help they need to overcome these. This should be a two-way process, with sales managers also taking the initiative to help members of their team that are struggling to meet their targets rather than berating them for under performance.
To go back to the piano at the party, if the boss had just asked the team whether they could play the piano before offering a reward or threatening a punishment he would have seen that the reward alone would not motivate anyone to volunteer. Musical ability, like sales talent, needs to be developed, which takes both coaching and practice.
Want to develop your Leadership and Management skills? Then consider our three key points for successful leadership.
Firstly, it’s crucial to appreciate each and every role that comes within your scope of management. To use a wrist watch as an analogy, it doesn’t matter whether you are the second hand or a small cog hidden within the casing. If one component of the watch doesn’t work the entire watch is broken. It is therefore your responsibility as somebody in a position of leadership to continuously inspire and motivate those working around you to reach shared goals. Taking this a step further, it is important for every member of the team to feel not just appreciated but truly valued. The realisation of the importance and appreciation of their role will develop a greater sense of responsibility to produce quality. This will lead to greater cohesion and communication within the team. Once each role is understood then each member knows what can and cannot be asked of them. Then together the team can strive to get the most from each role. This communication and transparency allows company goals and values to become the ones which the individual shares and upholds. Moving forward together under your leadership and direction.
Secondly, it’s all about trust. Trust and respect will be easier to ascertain and develop once they know that you appreciate, value their work and efforts. Trust in their methods when the results are on track but more importantly trust that when they offer constructive criticism or advice that they have the experience and expertise to back it up. This demonstrates confidence in your own ability, trust in their advice and flexibility to adapt for the better. Sometimes you have to step back to move forward. It’s all too easy to be drawn into every aspect of the company, it’s a mistake many passionate and hardworking managers make. This must always be done carefully and with respect to those around you. This often leads to micro-management and an overbearing boss can stifle progress. This includes occupations you’ve held previously, times and procedures change and it’s up to you to respect and adapt to the new processes. If you want your team to develop and grow you must have faith in their ability, respect their methods and access the results. This process of stepping back and trust will allow a team mentality and a sense of unity to develop.
Finally, catch them with compliments. Creating a positive work environment promotes camaraderie. This develops a team mentality that you aren’t working because you have to but because you want to. Through this process you can start to introduce peer to peer mentoring and assessment. This allows expertise to be shared and mitigates loss of skill. This system of learning from the past enables you to be better prepared for the future. This is important because building the confidence within your team culminates in a conducive work environment where ideas can flourish. A good leader inspires confidence but more importantly listens to the concerns and ideas around them. This reiterates the point that they are valued and gives them the confidence to assist in the direction and targets of the team as a whole. Criticism is never easy to hear but when it’s constructive and necessary you take another step to becoming a better team player. When you trust in and praise the hard work of those around you appreciate their role and their efforts, bringing the three key points together: you will be a leader.
If this short article has interested you why not check out some of our training courses at www.mlptraining.co.uk
Having worked for over twenty five years with outstanding Sales Professionals across a wide range of industries, selling every conceivable product and service I would like to ask you…
Would you like to:
• Increase your sales and profits • Become an outstanding Sales Professional • Open more doors • Close more Sales • Grow your Customer Base • Increase your Earnings
Here are my 5 top tips to help YOU develop your sales skills
1. Really sell yourself - people buy from people 2. Develop your listening skills – listen more and speak less 3. Understand the psychology of selling 4. Tighten up your objection handling 5. Make sure you are following up your leads - this is so important
NOW if you want to, Find new business! Close more deals! Make higher value sales!
Take action…. Be proactive….
Find out about today about a 2 Day Successful Selling Skills Course in Bury Manchester
Don't just take my word for it, these are quotes from previous delegates who have attended the 2-day Sales Training Course in Bury Manchester.
“Very insightful and great for all levels of Sales Experience. By far the best training session I've attended, Nicola Hatton Midland HR
"Very Interesting and informative as always. Learnt a lot & many things I will put into practice which, I am sure will make a huge difference to my success in the future. Andy Widdowson. Mosca Direct
"Thank you for looking after the new staff last week. They thoroughly enjoyed the training with you. I've already seen a big difference in their attitude towards sales and tough challenges. They've come back with new ideas, energy and new confidence. You're a genius!" Duncan Ross, AVA
" Extremely useful knowledge. I have so many take-aways that will stick with me for years to come. Nicole Brisebois. LDM Global.
Question You Should Ask About Your Business ???
Free Business Heath Check
As we go into we the new year I wanted to give you a powerful MOT from our Problem Solving and Business Development course for your business.
Complete the 3 exercises below and I wish you every success for 2018
1. Ask yourself these question
How would you describe your business as you see it now?
How would your people describe your business?
How would your customers describe your business?
How would your competitors describe your business?
What would your people want you to do in the business?
What would your suppliers want you to do?
What would your competitors do if they had your business?
What products or services should you drop?
What products or services should you add?
If you could start all over again what would you do differently?
If you had an unlimited budget what would you do?
If you could only afford to fix one thing what would it have to be?
If I could wave a magic wand over your business where
would you want me to start?
2. Complete the following statements then complete your action plan
The fastest way to increase sales is……….
The fastest way to increase profits is……….
The fastest way to increase production is……
The fastest way to reduce costs is…….
The fastest way to turn the business around is…….
3. Now put together an Action Plan
My Priorities are………
My main goal for the next 3 to12 months is…………
The actions I will take are………….
I will monitor my progress by……….
I will you know when you I been successful when I ………………
I am going to celebrate by………
Have a great year!
Mike Le Put
Focus on the Problem not the Solution
One of the most powerful techniques for problem solving is to Focus on the Problem not the Solution...
Mike Le Put Explains
The best way to get a good solution is to have lots of solutions to choose from. Unfortunately, many people bring you a single solution disguised as the problem.
They may say “My problem is I need a kettle.” Only one solution provides a kettle.
If they had said “My problem is that I need to boil water” we could have provided many solutions.
A Manager may say “My problem is I need More People” Only one solution gets more people.
If the Manager had said “My problem is the people I have cannot do the work with the Skills, Resources and Procedures we have in place” We now have more options available to solve this problem.
We ran a problem-solving coursefor a successfulcompany in Hull.The Distribution Director ‘s opening statement was this“My problem is I need a new warehouse “You can see this is not his problem, it’s what he believes to be his single solution.
We solved the problem by re-designing his warehouse, installinghigh lift, narrow-isle trucks and introducing stock rotation systems.
The result was a 42% increase in storage space, a 20% increase in efficiency and a saving of £2 million on the original solution of a new warehouse.
There are many steps to problem solvingbut the most important is to Clearly Identify the problem.
Next time a person comes to you with a problem, ask yourself has this person given me the problem or have they given me what they believe to be the solution.
Business is about solving problems, be it customer problems, design, manufacturing, distribution, people, sales, finance or whatever.
Every day in business you need to have a way of clearly identifying the real problems getting to the root cause and providing long term solutions.
7 Steps to Problem Solving
1. Define the real problem
2. Gather Information - You will learn how to gather the correct information and distinguish between fact and opinion.
3. Define the Cause - Problems are like icebergs - we often only see what’s on the surface. Discover how to get to the root cause of the problem
4. Create Options - We will help you generate a wide variety of innovative ways for you to develop stronger solutions.
5. Develop Selection Criteria - During this programme you will be learn how to test your ideas against clear decision criteria.
6. Make the Decision - We will help you decide what to do, how to do it, when to do it, who will do it and when it will be completed.
7. The importance of Monitoring- What gets monitored gets done.
Enhance your problem-solving techniques click here
Discover how to massively increase the number of B2B face-to-face appointments
The appointment target will change from industry to industry, however, the principle remains that the more appointments you get the more you increase your chances of making a Sale.
Many Sales people are good in front of customers. The problem is they just don’t get in front of enough of them....
Every great strategy starts with the end goal.
- So how many sales do you want to make this year? - What is your conversion from appointment to order?
By knowing these 2 factors you can work out how many appointments you need make in order to hit target.
If you are selling anything of value you are properly in evolved in providing finance.
Many time Sales People can increase sales by understanding exactly what the customer has been offered when told.
Your Too expensive.
Below is a list of qualifying question that can help you and your team Close more deals.
I wish you every success.
Mike Le Put
1. As compared to? 2. How do you mean? 3. In relation to? 4. Tell me why do you say that?
I have had a better offer
1. Tell me about it. 2. Who is it from? 3. How do you feel about that offer? 4. What exactly have you been offered? 5. What is included in that offer? 6. What is excluded from that offer? 7. How is the offer structured? 8. What are the cancellation clauses? 9. What is the deposit? 10. What is the termination notice? 11. Who has ownership? 12. What happens at the end of the term? 13. What monthly figure do you need to get to? 14. What’s more important the monthly figure or the total cost? 15. When can you go ahead with this? 16. What would be your Ideal? 17. What have I got to do to get your business? 18. Given that I can’t get down to that how close have I got to get? 19. I can’t do it that why but I would you say if I could lower the monthly figure if we did it this way. 20. Remember Change the Package not the Price
Read more blogs about sales techniques, tips and more here
How do you rate your Negotiation Skills?
Whether you are buying or selling at the negotiating table you will definitely need to hone your skills to be successful!
3 great tips to enhance your negotiation skills
Don’t Negotiate until Sold
Ask for What You Want and be ready to say No
13 areas that you will need to be skilled at to be a Successful Negotiator
· Purpose of Negotiation
· Negotiating Styles
· Four Types of Negotiation
· Characteristics of a Good Negotiator
· The Importance of Planning
· How to Conduct a S.W.O.T. Analysis
· Types of Power
· Strategy and Tactics
· How to use an Agenda
· Negotiating Gambits
· Team Negotiating
· Reaching Agreement
· Negotiating a Good Deal
Whether you are buying or selling at the negotiating table, you impact on the bottom line of your organisation.
If you want to become an exceptional Negotiator:
· Understand the negotiating process
· Master the negotiating strategies and tactics
· Drive down your buying prices
· Increase your selling prices
· Develop long term win win business relations
· Be confident at the negotiating table
· Get more of what you want
Why not Join us on the next one day course at The Bolholt Country Park Hotel Bury Manchester BL8 1PU You can book online here or call 01204 888826.
5 Tips for conversion success
We’ve all been there. You’ve had a really positive meeting with the potential customer. They’ve asked you for a quote. You’ve given them a good price - and then you never hear from them again! One of the biggest issues that sales directors raise when they attend MLP’s Sales Managers Masterclass course is the disparity between their teams’ success in gaining opportunities to quote and their ability to convert those leads into sales.
It’s a problem that affects seasoned salespeople and less experienced professionals alike, and many are surprised to find how quickly conversation rates can be improved simply by being less process driven and more open to treating each sale as an individual project.
Taking sales people away from their comfort blanket of a routine sales process can be challenging and requires a high degree of trust from the sales director, but these tips for success could pay dividends:
1. Only quote if you need to While generating a quote may be part of the critical path in your sales process, it may simply give the customer long enough to shop around or change their mind about buying from you. If they don’t need a formal quote, don’t delay, just have a go at closing the deal. In my experience, the confidence and initiative to bypass the quote stage can rapidly improve your conversion rates and it would be a shame to miss the deal because of a fear of rejection!
2. Build the customer’s trust One of the most common sales mistakes is to focus the lion’s share of time in closing the deal rather than investing it up front on building trust and rapport with the customer. Only by building that relationship can you ensure that they have a compelling reason to buy from you.
3. Provide the right kind of quote Every sales person knows that asking the right questions is critical to a successful sale but having asked the questions, you also need to make the answers count. Find out whether they’d prefer a hard copy quote or a digital copy? Ensure you know what they’re prepared to pay for and don’t overcomplicate the quote or include ‘hidden costs’ that could damage the trust you’ve worked hard to build.
4. Create deadlines and stick to them Customers have a time window in which they need to make a decision and part of the skill set of a sales professional is to understand the sales timeline for each customer. You also need to set deadlines for each part of the process - specify when you will provide the quote and when you’ll follow up and then stick to those dates.
5. Nurture a no blame culture Poor conversion rates are often allowed to become a league table of failure for sales teams, which is demoralising and counter-productive. It’s a team issue that needs to be tackled with a continuous improvement approach and that can only happen by learning from best practice and reviewing mistakes rather than apportioning blame.
From pre-quote, through to quote format and post-quote follow up, the sales process should be flexible enough to respond to individual customer situations and the sales team will convert more successfully if they have the freedom to follow their instincts.
By Mike Le Put, Director, MLP Training. For more information about MLP Training and the courses on offer.
Don’t hire potential
Exceptional hiring skills are among the most desirable of all leadership skills in today’s workplace.
The ability to select, motivate and retain the very best sales people is a hallmark of both top sales managers and high performing companies.
It's perfectly understandable that companies want to hire new employees with potential. However this strategy can often lead to low levels of motivation, low output and high staff turnover.
The advice is not to recruit potential unless you are willing to develop it. If you have the skills and time to train coach and mentor new sales people then you have the potential to develop them.
If you don’t have the above but you do have the budget to send new recruits for sales training then you have the means to develop them.
If you have neither then don’t recruit potential
What you are looking for is someone to do for you what they have already done for someone else. What you are looking for are transferable skills.
You need sales people with a proven track record
If this is a replacement position, start with an exit interview to find out why the previous job holder is leaving. Next you must do a job description - only in terms of a title but also output.
Title: New Business Sales
Output = Make X number of called calls. Do X number of quotations. Open X number of new accounts.
Title: Key Accounts Manager
Output = Grow existing accounts by X%, Open 3 new key accounts of X size in X months.
Write down exactly what you want this person to achieve. Now write a person specification. List the core competences that are required to do the job.
You must now compile competence behavioural-based questions for the interview. This type of questioning can be five times more effective at getting the right people into your business.
Interviewing can be an exhausting business. Many interviewers talk too much - the skill is to question, listen, and clarify. Don’t make promises you can’t keep and don’t hire potential unless you are willing to develop it.