September 20, 2014

Business advice

Motivating ourselves to sell more is only half the battle

Ron Stein | 8/20/2012

Selling has its ups and downs. Yet, every day we need to pick ourselves up and get motivated to sell more of our offering. But, driving ourselves forward is only half the battle. You must move others too, no matter if you’re a solo entrepreneur or the executive of a large enterprise.

Yet, can you really motivate another person on your sales team, or a strategic partner, even a prospect? There are CEOs and sales managers out there who think they can, and that only leads to trouble.

I’m sure you’ve seen it or may even have been on the receiving end of this. It ranges from cheerleading that comes across as empty to intimidation. They try to do something to another person to motivate them. More often than not the result is demotivation.

Instead, figure out what’s important to people and tap into that so the motivation comes from within them. Knowing what a salesperson or a prospect considers important is the key. Also consider factors such as trust, respect, and candor.

Hey, I’m not getting metaphysical on you here! It’s just a fact. These qualities greatly influence the level of confidence people who work for you or with you -- including customers -- have in moving forward with your business.

For instance, studies have shown that companies with high levels of trust enjoy improved profits and better retention of employees. People inside and outside of these companies are motivated by the positive things these businesses do -- and it’s much more than the CEO’s upbeat speech and the showing a video clip of Slyvester Stallone pumping his fist in the movie Rocky.

Here's what you and your company can do to inspire more sales.

  • Business leaders listen, connect, and align. You’ll get people to trust and respect you with real dialog. Ask questions and do it in person as much as possible instead by of email. But just don’t talk back and forth. Involve staff and customers in decisions that affect them. Do you know the personal goals of your salespeople, partners, and prospects? Demonstrate that you have common objectives -- and let them know how you’ll help them achieve those goals. When you listen to people, they’ll listen to you. Communicate, communicate, communicate.
  • Anticipate questions and needs. It’s easier for people to get motivated and reach their goals when they have tangible help. Give it to them in the form of marketing material, technology, training, and support that will make their jobs easier -- whether it’s a sales rep or a prospect that’s making a decision to take the next step with you. They’ll do their best work when they have the needed tools, which will in turn make them feel motivated to move forward. Show people that you have their best interests at heart. Answer questions before they are asked, provide tools and support before they’re needed.
  • Set challenging goals, give meaningful feedback. It’s normal to expect the best from yourself and your sales team. It’s also OK to share your expectations with your partners and prospects. But don’t just say it -- demonstrate it! Spell out why your company strives to be the best and challenges -- and helps -- others to achieve more too. Before a project or relationship gets off course, be prepared to offer feedback. Not criticism, but a conversation that shows you value the relationship and want to make it work for both of you. Ask questions -- "What could I or we do to be even more effective?" or “I value your opinion. What might work even better?"

Discover the best way to get people enthusiastic about your goals by getting them committed to theirs. Why? Because other people really don’t care about your goals!

Create an environment that motivates and allow the individual to see what they can gain from it. Make your sales team’s aspirations and prospect’s goals work for you. Communicate that you understand what matters to them and help them get there. People will then trust that you’ll do the right things to align with their interests. They’ll respect you and be more confident about the relationship. And confidence sells!

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