Organizations find it hard to keep their sales staff fully motivated. The slowdown in the economy as a whole doesn’t help matters either. However the right attitude is key. Even in rough times, opportunities still exist in most places. The big mistake some sales managers make is putting too much pressure on the sales reps. Typically in market adjustments otherwise known as recession, the sales cycle automatically becomes a little longer through no fault of the sales reps. Panic is inherent in the business world.
At any signs of trouble, your prospect companies tend to cut back and take longer with decisions, especially big-ticket items or solutions. As long as the sales manager knows the sales rep has been trying hard, instead of pressuring them to do the activities they hate the most, instead they should encourage more focus in the areas of strength. If a sales rep is short on confidence, you need to find a way to boost his enthusiasm and desire. Sales managers need to be more proactive in this manner. It’s time for both manager and rep to be creative. Find creative ways to do more of what the rep likes to do and then find a way to channel that energy to the least favorite activities that all reps simply must do, but hate to do.
It’s not as easy as pointing the finger at the sales rep and giving warnings every day. Sales reps are highly emotional people. It’s hard not to be emotional even though you become accustomed to constant rejection on a daily basis. Picture a baseball pitcher in a slump, perhaps in a 10 game losing streak. The coach knows he has the talent, maybe the same player had the best stats a season earlier. The coach wouldn’t want to cut him completely, he knows the talent hasn’t just vanished. So what does he do, he sends him down to the minors to string together some wins and gain confidence. The sales manager must also find a similar way for his struggling sales rep to gain momentum.
A force in motion with some confidence becomes harder to stop. Sales reps also develop more internal confidence and more respect for the manager that stuck behind them. Confident sales people are more likely to look for creative opportunities rather than blame the economy. All too often when things get hard as senior management complain about lackluster sales numbers, there’s a tendency for sales managers to lose patience and faith in people who have delivered for them before. A better solution is to recognize the sales reps already feels bad for their lack of performance and instead develop creative ways to build their confidence back up based on using the reps’ best weapons.
By John Hester