How to Make and Maintain a Great Sales Team
Making a great sales staff is what happens over time when top producers come together with the right attitude, right environment and right support. Your sales team will evolve. If you manage it well, it will evolve into a great team. If you manage it not-so-well, your company can become known as "the revolving door" because of your turn over.
Words of Affirmation
So, what ever you say to your staff will be taken to heart, taken in and will function to either keep them motivated producers, or to discourage them into non-production. Your words of affirmation help to function as psychological maintenance for your team. This is especially important if your team members are not particularly spiritual. Most spiritual people have a book or set of teachings that help them to stay focused each day in a positive way. Those who do not have a church, synagogue or other spiritual habit [such as meditation] are frequently lost as to how to keep their internal "motor running."
For the non-church group, you will need to "feed" them so that the gray matter between the ears stays moving in the right direction for the productivity of your company. The easiest way to do this is with words of affirmation; encouraging words and positive reinforcement are never in over supply. The language that you use to encourage your sales staff is part of what will keep them motivated and enjoying their work. When people enjoy their work, they become committed to your company's goals and bottom line.
|Staying involved with your team|
In a sales team, it is important for the hot dogs to feel like you are in the pit with them, working hard like they are, concerned about what concerns them and generally looking out for them. To communicate this level of involvement and team playing, you must stay involved with your team. It helps to have an open-door policy that invites the team members to come to you anytime with their concerns. Otherwise, you can seem aloof and unapproachable to them – not a team message. Keep an open mind with your team members and regularly call meetings – once a week, once a month, whatever is needed. Pump them up with kudos and small rewards and let them know that you're paying attention to their hard work.
|Incentives and Rewards|
Sometimes the rewards are even smaller or they are for the entire team – great for team building. A friend once told me that her best boss at AT&T rewarded the entire team for exceeding their monthly numbers by bringing in her most fattening, best tasting, home-made banana pudding for the entire group. Similarly, our banking group at Citibank regularly rewarded the accounting group for crunching out the numbers on time each month with a monthly departmental cake and ice cream afternoon – always in the last hour of a Friday.
Rewards have a way of keeping people's spirits up and helping your sales team to feel like their hard work does not go unnoticed or unappreciated. Some of the incentives help to create a regular time of camaraderie among team members which helps keep tensions down and cooperation up.
|Regular Sales Training|
I once worked for a man who sent me to training once a month along with the other managers in the company, but we would literally sleep through the class after about the first six classes because the company used the same instructor week after week. It wasn't really the instructor's fault; he was doing his best. But the fact is that salespeople have an insatiable need to learn new things and they get bored easily. Before the days of the psychological diagnosis of ADD [Attention Deficit Disorder], companies just dealt with the reality of a common short attention span amongst their sales teams.
The need for new information and the fact of getting bored easily does not make your team member ADD, it just makes them a normal salesperson. There is an advantage to this psychological profile and it benefits your company to have a staff of people who need to move on to the next thing so they don't get bored. This characteristic helps to move people along the sales process. I would even go so far as to say that if your sales staff does not have a certain amount of unrest in their souls, then they will likely not be top producers.
The key to successful and regular sales training is to keep it mixed up for the team so they stay interested and engaged. If you need to have different presenters each week or each month, then go the extra mile to get different people in. If you need to spice up the training or upgrade the training, then consider a group seminar or professional course.
Keeping A Great Sales Staff
|Encouraging Team Work|
As the owner or lead manager, part of your greatest concern is keeping your team happy and together. An involved owner who regularly encourages the team's involvement with one another and the group is one who builds the morale of his sales team. Team work and team involvement help to encourage cooperation and make the team effective.
My brother burns microchips at Texas Instruments and has for the last 30 years. His lab manager regularly encourages the team to go for drinks after work on Fridays and to play on the department's soft ball team. Although they are a technology company, the principle is the same – team work, team sports and team activities increase productivity and cooperation.
|An Unbiased Manager|
An unbiased manager is hard to find and even hard to do if you are also the owner of the company. If you are the owner, then it is more difficult for you to remain unbiased because you automatically look at every situation in terms of how it affects your bottom line. But conveying an unbiased attitude is essential to keeping top performers.
You may think bias is restricted to race or gender, but in reality it is more commonly related to individual personalities. When you like a person, then it is human nature to give them favor. Although you may not think of it as a favorable bias toward someone, others will see it that way and will interpret it as a strike against them. If you can truly balance your views of people without an out of balance bias toward or against them, then you will gain and keep the respect and interest of top performers.
|A Sense of Fairness|
Stealing sales can undermine the integrity of the team and create a lot of bad blood between team members. After all, if left unchecked, it amounts to stealing food off of a team member's table or stealing clothes from their children. No one takes it lightly when money is stolen and especially not when the person has worked their tail off to make the sale.
You can keep a lock on your company's exit door by implementing strict rules concerning issues of fairness. Regularly upholding your own rules will give each team member a reassurance that fiscal anarchy is not tolerated by management and will help to retain your best and brightest. Keep an open door policy to your team for addressing issues of fairness and you will close the door on bad attitudes, stealing sales and potential lawsuits.
|Seperate Business and Personal Relations|
|Appreciation and Recongnition / Consistent Bonus System|
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