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Sales Motivation: How to Motivate Your Sales Team (+ Quotes, Techniques and Videos)

Will Cannon
May 31, 2020
sales-motivation
Table of Contents

Sales are the heart of multiple organizations. The more a company sells, the better it goes for everyone. That’s why team managers pull out all the stops when it comes to sales motivation techniques.

But why is sales motivation so important?

Tables of Contents

What Is Sales Motivation (and Why Is It Important)?

Sales can be tough. Your sales team faces rejection on a daily basis. And when they do, they have to pick themselves up, put on a happy face, pick up the phone, and try again. 

However, after a while, rejections can affect their motivation. And so can the wrong selling timing, or even external factors like a downturn in the market. And if they can’t find the motivation they need, they could have a string of days (or even weeks) with slow sales.

That’s why you need to find new ways to keep your sales team motivated and active.

These can be simple ideas (such as motivational quotes and a healthy environment), to large ideas (such as valuable prizes and engaging games).

11 Sales Motivation Tips and Ideas: How to Keep Sales Motivations High

Here are 13 of the best tips and ideas to motivate your salespeople…

1. Prioritize goals over processes.

Your employees need to have a sense of ownership over their sales processes and rituals. At the end of the day, what matters is the results they achieve, not how well they follow the script.

How to do it: Train your salespeople to know the rules and be good at their jobs. Give them your general guidelines and the results you expect from them. Once they’re well-trained, focus on their results, instead of micromanaging their approach.

2. Give positive feedback.

Although it may seem like common sense, positive feedback is so simple that it can easily be missed. However, this feedback is one of the cheapest, most effective ways to keep your salespeople engaged and motivated.

In fact, according to Harvard Business Review, you can see an increase of 67% of work engagement through positive appraisal alone! 

How to do it: Although it’s easy to give small positive feedback to everyone, it will lose all meaning if you say the same things over and over. Instead, keep it authentic. Find actual reasons to congratulate a team member, such as an approach they used or a great presentation they gave.

3. Give good rewards.

A reward is one of the most intuitive ways to motivate your team. After all, what better, easier way is there to keep your salespeople engaged than with an actual prize? 

But if the reward isn’t great, the motivation won’t be great either.

How to do it: Put some thought into the kinds of rewards you’ll give. Sure, thousands of dollars in cash can motivate anyone, but the reward doesn’t have to be monetary to be worth their time. Instead, think about what your sales team members really want. It could be an extra vacation day or an exclusive paid dinner for the best performers.
 

And remember, it’s better to give a few great rewards than multiple average ones.

4. Check up on their daily motivation.

Motivation isn’t just a one-time thing. You want to keep your team motivated every day, all day.

Why?

Motivation can vary wildly, even during the course of one day. One particularly bad experience can ruin a salesperson’s motivation for the day, which will impact their performance.

How to do it: Encourage your salespeople to check up on their “motivation temperature” throughout the day. If they’re not motivated enough, encourage them to read some motivational stories, listen to a great song, or simply to take a short break and get some fresh air.

5. Establish clear, realistic goals.

Since a salesperson’s only job is to generate revenue, they can get tired and lose focus if they feel they aren’t contributing enough. To know when to double-down and take a much-needed break, they need to keep their overall progress in mind. 

According to Harvard Business Review, if less than a quarter of your salespeople miss your goals, the problem might be your people. But if most of your salespeople miss their goals, the problem might be your goals.

And if your salespeople can’t reach their goals, they’ll quickly stop trying.

How to do it: Before setting your goals, do your research. Find out your company’s goals, your salespeople’s strengths, and your product’s reach in the market. Then use your findings to establish realistic goals. If most of your team can’t reach them, reassess both your goals and their training.

6. Create a culture of recognition.

You may reward your sales reps with commissions, but they aren’t enough to recognize their hard work on their own. Recognition is a great motivator, so it’s a vital way to keep your sales reps engaged.

How to do it: To create a culture of recognition, you need to create a strong, self-motivating team. Single the team out on their achievements in front of other teams, and recognize their work and improvements. Make them feel like an important part of the company (which they are), and lead by example. Take the initiative to congratulate teammates, and point out their strengths (even when they’re not there).

7. Hold contests.

Contests are great ways to increase your sales reps’ competitiveness. According to research conducted by Frost and Sullivan, 80% of global sales executives hold goal-oriented competitions, and 47% of them find these contests to be highly effective.

How to do it: Keep things fresh. To allow your team to develop multiple skills, change goals and prizes. Pay attention to your sales reps, and create contests that reward each of their strengths. That way, you can include everyone, instead of having one sales rep win all the time.

8. Focus on team-building.

On a good sales team, everyone works together. According to an Accountemps survey, a strong feeling of communication and transparency is so important that 33% of employees said a lack of honest communication had the most negative impact on employee morale.

However, common team-building exercises can quickly get boring and have the opposite effect you’re looking for. Typical team-building activities are so common that your employees may just wish they were back at work, instead of trying to engage with each other.

How to do it: Instead of forcing participants to share and collaborate, have activities that your team actually wants to participate in. Take them to an escape room, to a bar, or to a sales reps party. Cut their day short by an hour, so they can all have dinner together. Find ways to encourage teammate collaboration. Help them befriend each other, instead of forcing them to participate in an outdoor activity.

9. Get them the right tools.

To get the right results, your salespeople need the right tools. The tech they use should make everything easier. It should help them spend more time selling and less time doing anything else. According to LinkedIn’s State of Sales 2016 report, these tools are so important that a salesperson usually correlates their feelings directly to their sales performance.

How to pick them: Examine your process, and take a look at the software your salespeople use. Ask them how easy it was to master and use every day. Make sure they can collaborate and communicate with their current software—without spending too much time on it.

The right tools go way beyond computer programs. Make sure their workspace has ergonomic furniture and modern technology. Even a simple investment in great coffee can result in a drastic change for your team!

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10. Foster healthy competition.

Competition is part of any sales team. Sales reps want to compete and become better than they were before. The authors of Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing say that over 50% of people benefit from a competitive sales environment. 

But for a competitive culture to be effective, it has to be healthy. 

Why?

Because competition can bring out toxic behaviors. Sales reps may want to win at all costs, so they sabotage others and boast about their work. These kinds of environments are hardly ever sustainable, and they will drive talent away from your team.

How to do it: To foster a healthy environment of competition, you need to establish healthy team relationships. Never reward bad behaviors. Instead, give rewards to the best customer service, the most helpful teammate, and the most rewarding sales. When you’re in the middle of a competition, keep an eye on the way it affects the dynamic of your sales team.
 

11. Share the Big Picture.

In a repetitive sales job, it’s easy to feel like just another cog in the machine. A key way to prevent this impact is by sharing the big picture with your sales reps.

If you show them where they fit and how important they are in the company, you’ll give them a sense of belonging, which will make them feel more relevant and less likely to resign. Remember, it takes 10 months or more for a new sales rep to be fully productive, so showing them how important they are is a vital way to keep your sales team engaged and active.

How to do it: Make sure you have visual aids to show your sales team the way they directly impact the company. Regularly update them about the company’s goals, and keep them informed about how they’re doing, as far as achieving those goals. When they obtain a goal, make sure to congratulate them and celebrate their achievements.

Sales Motivation Resources to Use

Here are some of the best sales motivation resources you can apply to your team today…

Sales Motivation Videos

Never Give Up: Advice from the Most Successful People on the Planet

This video is a great motivator. Sales reps can always feel unmotivated or overwhelmed. So this tool is a perfect way to inspire them to get back on the horse and try again. 

Shark Mindset: Walter Bond

Walter Bond was a former NBA player before he turned into a professional speaker. In this high-energy video, Bond does a great job at explaining why it’s important to never stop chasing your goals. It also reminds your sales reps that it’s not enough to just have passion. To succeed, they also need to be properly trained.

If you’ve never failed, then you’ve never lived.

Failure is a daily part of being a sales rep. A bad streak can even turn the best salespeople away from sales. This video shows exactly why failure isn’t the opposite of success, but merely a step toward it. It provides multiple examples of people who failed right before they succeeded. The best part? It’s only a minute long!

If you’re looking for something more substantial, take a look at our list of must-see sales movies.

Sales Motivation Stories

These three stories show how three people went from poverty to wealth through the power of sales…

Daymond John

Daymond John

Daymond John is a famous entrepreneur and Shark Tank judge. He started in sales in by selling custom pencils to his classmates in elementary school. Later on, when he was still a waiter, he transformed his mom’s wool-cap business into a $350 million success in six years. 

Since John’s story is directly involved in sales, it will help your sales reps see their potential.

John H. Patterson

John H. Patterson

John Henry Patterson is probably the greatest salesperson of all time. His pioneering efforts in the 1800s involved creating the first sales training manual and canned presentation. He is widely regarded as the father of modern selling.

When he was 40, Patterson bought the failing NCR company. He realized their product wasn’t in demand and the company’s salespeople didn’t know how to sell. He countered these setbacks by creating awareness of his product through direct mailing and publicity. Some of the models he created (such as the use of testimonials) are still being used today.

His story is a great example for all your salespeople. It teaches them about the history of selling and its origins. You can use it to help them understand the value of many of the company’s selling techniques and find out why they work.

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey

Although Oprah is mostly known because of her talk show, she’s one of the most successful salespeople of all time. Winfrey took advantage of her fame and grew her empire to include very successful book clubs, a magazine, and her own media company. When she stopped doing The Oprah Winfrey Show, she launched The Oprah Winfrey Network. Discovery then purchased 24.5% of the company from Winfrey for a staggering $70 million.

Her warm and direct interviewing style can teach salespeople a lot about the best ways to conduct themselves with clients and get them to open up about their needs. Winfrey is also an example of how far openness and respect can get your salespeople, as well as how to foster those values.

Sales Motivation Quotes

“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.” – Vince Lombardi

This quote is very effective at showing how important it is to be relentless in a sales environment. It shows your salespeople that they have to go out and actively pursue their goals if they want to achieve them. 

“You just can’t beat the person who never gives up.” – Babe Ruth

Behavioral economists have discovered a phenomenon called “Time Inconsistency.” In simple terms, it explains why we tend to favor low, immediate rewards, instead of higher, future rewards.

This quote helps your sales reps combat this trend by remembering that they need to keep pushing to achieve their goals, even when they feel like quitting. That way, they can commit to a long-term goal, instead of focusing on today’s mistakes.

“Success is never owned; it is only rented—and the rent is due every day.” – Rory Vaden

In sales, success is short-lived. If your salespeople want to keep succeeding, they can’t celebrate their accomplishments for too long.

This quote not only shows how easily success can fade away but also how attainable it can be if they start each day with the right mentality.

Sales Motivation Games

These activities make it easy to gamify the whole sales process, and they can be adapted to every budget…

Random Daily Prize

This game is a perfect way to give your employees something to look forward to at the end of the day, even if they don’t win!

Buy several different prizes with different values. Then secretly assign each prize to each day. You can use envelopes or a board with a number. Or to make it more theatrical and engaging, you can hide the day’s prize in a big box that’s revealed at the end of the day.

Make sure all of your employees know what the prizes are, and keep advertising the ones that are still up for grabs.

This game is great because it adds the thrill of choice to the reward. That way, you can generate high engagement, even with cheap prizes.

Traveling Trophy (Floating Prize)

This simple game is a great way to recognize your best performers.

Simply choose a prize that your sales reps can display in their work areas. Make sure it’s visible and eye-catching, such as a tall trophy or a silly hat. At the end of each sales period, the rep with the most sales gets to display the trophy on his or her desk for the next sales period.

The Traveling Trophy is a cheap way to keep your team engaged. You can keep tabs on your reps that have held it for longer. Then you can reward them at the end of the year with a prize—or even the trophy itself! 

Biggest Number of No’s Reward

As we’ve mentioned before, rejection can dramatically impact your team’s morale. And when you factor in the fact that your sales rep may have a 98% rejection rate, it can become a huge problem.

So why not start rewarding the “no’s”?

Dan McGraw (Fuelzee’s CEO) created a sales motivation technique. The sales rep with the most amount of recorded “no’s” during the week received a $100 gift card. That way, the least successful sales rep was still motivated to do their job.

But you have to keep in mind that whatever the reward for the “no’s” is, the reward for the most amount of sales should be much, much higher. The “no’s” reward should be viewed as a consolation prize that will keep your sales reps motivated during a bad streak.

Sales Motivation Books

Whether you want to recommend them or outright buy them for your team, these three books are vital for every salesperson:

The Little Red Book of Selling by Jeff Gitomer

The Little Red Book of Selling by Jeff Gitomer

This little book is perfect for every salesperson, even the ones that don’t like to read! Jeff Gitomer is great at explaining complex business issues in simple words. With great principles and short sentences, The Little Red Book of Selling has something for everyone.

The Psychology of Selling by Brian Tracy

The Psychology of Selling by Brian Tracy

This book is perfect for any salesperson looking for practical advice. Brian Tracy populated this book with a large amount of ideas and strategies that you can immediately put into practice. Whether readers are veterans or newbies, anyone can learn a great deal from this book.

How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling by Frank Bettger

How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling by Frank Bettger

This book tells Frank Bettger’s story of going from being a failed insurance salesperson to owning his own estate. Throughout How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling, Bettger goes through his own personal challenges and teaches every salesperson that they’re succeeding even when they’re failing.

Sales Motivation Songs

Make sure to add these three songs to your sales playlist:

“Lose Yourself” – Eminem

In this song, Eminem captures the feeling you have when you’re about to succeed. This rap piece is considered to be one of the most motivating songs of all time, and it’s one of the reasons Eminem is such a famous musician. 

“Eye of the Tiger” – Survivor:

Motivating people since 1982, “Eye of the Tiger” became the symbol of progress and achievement when it was featured in Rocky III. Sylvester Stallone commissioned Survivor to write this song because he couldn’t obtain the rights to Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust.” 

Even today, you just can’t beat a classic.

“Stronger” – Kanye West 

Kanye West, the king of overconfidence, definitely has a spot on every motivating playlist. In this anthem, he reminds us how “blessed” hustlers are and motivates them to stick with it,  even when “the Devil” tries to bring them down.

Conclusion

Your salespeople deserve to stay motivated. Their challenging jobs play vital roles in your company’s finances. A motivated sales rep is a productive sales rep!

Which of these sales motivation techniques and resources will you apply first?

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