4 Tips to Share With New Sales Reps Before Their First Appointment

4 Tips to Share With New Sales Reps Before Their F

1. Don’t barf on the customer’s shoes.

2. Dismal failure is highly unlikely.

These are the two most basic lessons new sales reps need to understand before going to their first solo sales appointment. New salespeople are nervous, to say the least (hence the vomiting advice)! As a manager, it’s up to you to set your new sales reps up for success.

Maybe you’re a manager who attempts to tell new hires all you know about sales before their first appointment. Or maybe you’re the type who kicks them out of the nest to see if they fly.

The key is to find the balance — new sales reps need guidance, but you don’t want to overwhelm them with new information. Here’s how to be the leader they need and four essential tips to get them started.

Be the Leader New Sales Reps Need

Inexperienced sales reps look to their sales managers for leadership. As a manager, you need to coach them in the skills it takes to be successful: consistent work ethic, deliberate work flow, strong listening skills, and realistic expectations.

Set clear expectations.

Be clear about what each salesperson should be doing with their time. Then inspect what you expect. If you expect someone to meet ten new prospects a week, check to see whether they’ve done it.

Explain the value of activity.

There’s more to the sales process than closing a deal. Just because the prospect doesn’t buy, doesn’t mean the sales rep wasted time. There’s value to each step of the process. Explain the different types of value each interaction offers: the prospect knows who you are, they’re in your nurturing process, and they may lead to a referral.

Model listening.

When you go to the first few appointments with your new sales reps, take a step back and observe. By doing so, you don’t compromise their authority with the prospect. If you interject and take charge, the prospect will want to work with you, not them.

More importantly, you model how to listen. Listening is an essential sales tool. As a salesperson, you have to listen to prospects so you can learn about their needs and figure out how to meet those needs. By listening to your reps, you teach the value of listening by example.

Tell them the realistic outcomes.

What can a new rep realistically expect from their first appointments? If they think they’re going to close a deal during their first meeting, they’ll likely be very disappointed. Then reassure them they won’t completely fail.

Four Tips That Lead to the Right Mindset

To really help new sales reps enter their first appointment with the right perspective, share these four tips. It’ll help them see the big picture without getting overwhelmed.

1. You can’t lose what you don’t have.

Let’s say you cold-call someone — you don’t have their business anyway, which means there’s nothing to lose. The worst thing you can do is nothing. Just by going to the appointment, you’re better off.

2. Set easy goals.

Your goal for a first appointment isn’t to make a sale. The goal is getting the prospect to agree to the next phone call or meeting. It’s an easy win — be brief, be brilliant, and count it as a success.

Keep setting easy goals the whole way through the process. Every time you meet a simple goal, it’s a win! These baby steps help a new salesperson focus and lead prospects to buy. Buyers need someone to guide them through the sales process — and easy goals do just that!

3. No one will remember your screw-ups.

It’s unlikely you’ll see your prospects again. You won’t run into this person weeks from now and hear, “Stop! You’re the idiot who messed up that appointment!” It won’t happen.

4. End with action.

Always end sales conversations with a next action. Even if a prospect seemingly turns you down, you can end the appointment gracefully with a next step.

If they’re on board and say, “Let’s get together sometime next month to keep talking about this.” Say something like, “Great. Let’s get it on the calendar. What about Thursday the 15th at 10:00?” Set a specific date and close the loop.

If they’re not interested, you can still have a next step and closure. Maybe they say, “My brother-in-law handles this need for me. I’m not going to mess up our family dynamics, so I’m not going to buy from you.” You reply, “I totally understand. Here’s what’s going to happen. Keep my contact info in case you get in a pinch and we’ll touch base down the road.” They agree to it, and you close the loop.

Always have a next action, tell them what it is, and get them to agree. Don’t be bossy — just be organized.

Empowering young salespeople has benefits for everyone involved. The more successful they are, the more successful your company. Plus, if they’re successful and supported by your team, they’ll likely stick around (which means you’ll spend less time training replacements).

Do you have other newbie sales tips that have worked for you? Share them with us in the comments below!

Avoid These 4 Costly Mistakes When Hiring a Sales Team


It’s tough to find a good salesperson — especially if you’re selling commodities. And when you’re hiring sales teams, building an entire group of great salespeople seems impossible.

After all, it takes more than good commissions to make a top seller. You can’t just up someone’s pay in hopes they’ll transform into an awesome salesperson. So who are those rare jewels… and how can they start working for you?

Where to Find the Best Salespeople

When it’s time to hire sales associates, where do you start looking? In reality, the best salespeople are already employed. The best way to find a new salesperson is through referrals. Then you have to recruit them, deal with turnover, and try to keep them around.

Those better-than-average salespeople have two qualities.

1. They love to sell. They can’t get enough of the high after they close a deal, so they’re always looking for the next deal to chase. Plenty of people are good salespeople — they are the people that like to close and like chasing a sale. But the great ones love it.

2. They need to sell. The payout needs to be high enough to warrant the work that goes into closing a deal. If someone’s making enough money to be content without closing new deals, they probably won’t.

Top salespeople love and need to sell. Sales is different from account management. Great account managers are more common, but someone who can go into a business, figure out what they need, and follow through with a sale is a gem.

4 Big Mistakes in Your Sales Recruitment Strategy

Great salespeople may be rare, but they’re out there. When it’s time to hire your next salesperson, avoid these mistakes that could keep you from finding (or keeping) a top performer:

1. Hiring Too Quickly

Sometimes we’re so desperate for another salesperson, we rush the process. Instead, take time to find out more about a candidate and how they operate. Ask them about their other jobs and their lead process. Do they have a “No Client Left Behind” process? What do they do after they leave a meeting? What’s their system for follow-up? If they can’t tell you exactly what they do, that’s a red flag. Great salespeople have systems that result in closed deals.

People can busy themselves with 100 different activities that don’t equate to sales. Checking emails, filing papers, and researching software are all good organization practices, but they don’t lead to sales. So find out from the beginning if they know how to engage in activities that lead to sales, like meetings and phone calls.

2. Poor Compensation Structure

Structure your compensation in such a way that salespeople need to sell and are well-rewarded when they do. If you have a salesperson that loves to close deals, but makes plenty of money after a few big successes, their motivation takes a nosedive. So look at various pay structures to offer enough incentive to motivate your sellers.

Related: How Much Should You Really Compensate Your Salespeople?

3. Inadequate Training

Sometimes we either skimp on the training so people can get to the field, or we train so much on the product that we forget to train on the sales process. Make sure you train in the things that matter for closing deals — activity levels, how to qualify a prospect, and follow-up.

People need to know what types of work lead to sales and what to look for in a product. They also need to understand the real value of doing business with your company. What problem does the product solve? When they understand and believe in the narrative of how this solution changes things, sales happen.

They don’t need to know everything, but they definitely need enough info to identify the opportunities and solve business problems.

Related: How to Cut Your Sales Training in Half and Improve Retention

4. Lack of Accountability

We all need accountability. Even the best salespeople work more productively when they know they’ll have to answer for their schedule. So keep your team on target with their quotas. Monitor their activity and check in when the numbers are off. Some people ask their sales team to enter activities into a CRM at the end of the week, but it’s much easier to use an automated CRM like CallProof. Then your team just logs their activities with the push of a button. They’re incentivized to stay on track, and you see who’s really meeting their goals.

Hiring mistakes cost you revenue. They drain your time and distract from potential sales. So when you find the right person, don’t let them slip through the cracks. Do the prep work up front in your hiring, pay structure, training, and reporting to keep the best salespeople working for you.

Why Your Salespeople Hate Using Your CRM – And How to Change Their Minds

Salespeople Hate Using CRM

CRMs started off on the wrong foot. When they first came out, they were isolated to a desktop and not user friendly. Back then, laptops, WiFi, and smartphones weren’t around to allow mobile access to data. So the outside salesperson was forced to go back to the office to enter information. And the CRM became a ball and chain.

Salespeople who’ve been in the business a while have witnessed the evolution of the CRM firsthand. Some now appreciate it, but many still hate it. Their bad experiences with CRMs leave them with little motivation to adopt a new one now. Maybe they got fired for not using it years ago. Maybe they think of it as a clunky, outdated tool. Now, they just roll their eyes every time it’s mentioned.

But the fact of the matter is, you need all your salespeople on board for a CRM to be effective. A CRM (no matter how current, user friendly, and efficient) is useless without good data. And the most vital data is contact information for prospects and clients. Who enters this info? The very salespeople that hate using it.

So if you’re ready to get a CRM that works, start by getting your salespeople on board.

Why Good Salespeople Hate CRMs

Good salespeople hate CRMs that get in their way. They want to go out and sell without having to pause their activity to enter cumbersome information. But with the right automation and set-up, a CRM like CallProof lets them simply check off information on their phone.

Imagine a big whiteboard with a list of all your customers. Each time you contact someone, you check them off. The next day, you look at your list and evaluate, “Who did I contact? What promises did I make? Who should I follow up with?” CallProof gives you this checklist digitally (via your mobile device or your desktop — whichever you prefer). Plus, we even remind you to make the check mark.

Related: Why Everything You Know About CRM Is 100% Wrong

Even the best salespeople need reminders. Selling is contacting and following up. No matter how smart someone is, it’s impossible to remember the details of 30-60 conversations per day with full clarity. Then it compounds. If you contact that many people, making promises to follow up with even half of them, you’re dealing with about 75 points of action to remember each week. But what if you forget? Each proposal that slips through the cracks or question that goes unanswered turns into an empty promise that cripples your credibility for future sales.

Enter a CRM that notifies you when it’s time for action.

Why Bad Salespeople Hate CRMs

Bad salespeople hate CRMs that show their real performance. They don’t want their managers to see evidence of the inactivity that leads to their poor performance.

But a good manager wants to know the truth. People who need to make a car payment and pay their mortgage create stories about deals they’re “trying to close”. But deals don’t close without interaction. Once managers see the correspondence (or lack thereof) between the customer and the sales rep, they’ll know the actual likelihood of the deals.

The Evolution of CRM

A CRM simply provides direction for where to spend energy and time. It keeps your list of prospects and clients organized so you know who to call first. With a clear client list, salespeople know where to start.

Back in the day, you had to enter all this information in a database on your own. Now, an app like CallProof automates your daily activities and allows you to “check” items off your list while simultaneously logging your activity. It keeps teams on track and holds them accountable. It even reminds you when to take action on the promises you’ve made.

So don’t let preconceptions of a cumbersome, stationary CRM keep your team from utilizing this tool. CRMs have evolved into mobile apps that make documentation simple. It’s time to get your team on board.

When Is the Right Time to Hire Your Next Salesperson?

You’ve hired your first salesperson, and business is going well. But you know the only way to grow your revenue is to find more prospects. And the best way to do that is hiring a salesperson. So is it time for you to make your next hire?

Consider the Demand for A New Salesperson

First, consider your supply and demand. If you have enough supply, then you need more demand. Maybe the demand just needs to be notified that you have the supply.

In B2B sales, this usually requires a representative — a person who knows all the features of the products. This rep can show your product to prospects, answering their questions and teaching them how it works for their organization. So how do you find more demand?

1. ID the Marketplace

What type of prospect is your salesperson missing? One person can’t reach your whole market. So identify the areas they aren’t reaching.

2. Segment the Field

Then decide how to divide the territory. Do you want to segment your salespeople based on types of industries, types of sales, size of the organization, or location?

3. Run the Numbers

Hire the right number of salespeople to reach your market. On average, a sales rep should have about 500 prospects to target in a year. So, if your marketplace has 2,000 prospects, you’ll need four strong salespeople.

Are You Ready for Another Sales Rep?

Before you hire your second salesperson, ask yourself these questions.

1. How many prospects are there?

Run the numbers to calculate your prospect to salesperson ratio. Remember 500:1 is the average ratio. If you only have 50 prospects, you don’t need another sales rep.

2. What’s the buying frequency?

Your specific ratio will vary based on the product and sales cycle. If you’re selling a commodity that’s needed every month, you’ll need more salespeople. After all, you have multiple opportunities to sell to the same client. If you have a contractual service where clients sign up for a year or two (i.e. health insurance or satellite providers), you may not need as many reps.

3. Can you afford to hire two salespeople?

Add to your sales team in pairs. Don’t just hire one person at a time. Instead, hire two, knowing you’ll only keep one. Only rarely will they sell the same amount. Rather, one will overachieve — and you’ll know who’s better. It’s easy to see a winner and a loser when they do the same work.

And, if you hire two competitive people, they’ll win over tons of business trying to beat each other.

How to Hire Salespeople Starting Up

If you’re just starting your business, don’t hire only one person. Hire as many as you can afford for the first two months. If you hire just one person, it’s tough to gauge how well they’re doing. You’re going to go through sales reps anyway. So begin with too many reps, and you’re more likely to find that rock star salesperson early on.

5 Must-Read Books for Sales Managers



Books gravitate to the hands of those experiencing something new: a new city on vacation, a new challenge at work, a new hardship that has you sitting in the hospital. In these transition times, we take ourselves off autopilot. Life becomes less routine and we become more aware. In that awareness, we open ourselves to new concepts.

Reading is all about seeking new ideas. So if you’ve found yourself in a place where you’re searching for information to improve your approach as a sales manager, here are my top five must-reads.

1. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us – Dan Pink

drive daniel pinkWhat motivates us to work hard, achieve success, and feel satisfied? Pink claims the secret is our innate desire to make our own choices, learn and create new things, and to positively contribute to the world. Pink challenges the conventional wisdom of incentivization and encourages leaders to try a fresh approach to motivating your team- an approach that centers on building autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

As you read Drive, you’ll learn more than how to motivate your team. You’ll learn what motivates your buyers. And, people who understand buying behavior make the best salespeople.



2. Hyper Sales Growth: Street-Proven Systems & Processes – Jack Daly  

hyper sales growth jack dalyIn this book, Jack Daly discusses three important areas that will help your business to grow. First of all, you should work towards building a winning culture in your company. You can do this by creating an environment that motivates your employees to come to work and moving away from the idea that work is boring.

The second area that Daly discusses is Sales Management. As a Sales Manager, you are not supposed to grow sales but to grow salespeople. Increasing the quantity and quality of salespeople will grow your sales as well.

Finally, Daly focuses on sales. He discusses the systems and processes that make the best sales professionals different from the others.

Jack is renowned for offering super-practical advice in his books. Hyper Sales Growth breaks down realistic, actionable steps you can take to motivate your salespeople.

3. 5 Dysfunctions of a Team – Patrick Lencioni

five dysfunctions team patrick lencioniLencioni provides his reader with an insightful explanation about the struggles that teams experience. According to him, five dysfunctions are the core of the problem. He has created a model and designed actionable steps with which a team can improve itself and move away from common problems.

Once again, Lencioni has published a compelling story with an intriguing yet logical message for aspiring great teams. If you’re a team leader, 5 Dysfunctions of a Team will provide you with a model you can use to improve your team and overcome obstacles.




4. Think Like a Freak – Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

think like a freak levittIn this book, Levitt and Dubner take problem-solving to a new level. Through an array of stories, they teach us how to retrain our brains to see the world a little differently.

Their blueprint for solving problems includes putting away the moral compass, thinking like a child, persuading people that don’t want to be persuaded, and appreciating the upside of quitting.  

When we think outside the box, we’re more productive, creative, and rational – which isn’t the norm.




5. Start With Why – Simon Sytek

start with why sinekSome people are successful no matter their plot in life. Others may managed success once but can’t seem to repeat their profit. As Sinek studied global leaders with the greatest impact, he found they all think, act, and communicate the same: they all start by asking, “Why?”

Whereas any business can tell you what it does or how much profit it nets, only a few explain why their organization exists and why it does what it does. These are the organizations that inspire others and generate loyal customers. Start With Why prompts people to ask the “Why?” questions about our products and services questions that make a difference in the entire sales approach.




What books have made a difference in your sales leadership approach? Let us know in the comments below.




Top 4 Ways to Evaluate a Salesperson’s Performance

evaluate salesperson

Evaluating a salesperson’s performance is one of the basic responsibilities of a sales manager. It’s also essential to company success. But how can you do it when sales cycles vary so greatly?

If it takes months to close a sale, do you have to wait until those numbers post to see how your sales team is doing? In short, no. A salesperson’s performance is about more than sales. By tracking these vital signs of sales health, you can measure the success of your team in as little as a week.

The Best Ways to Gauge Success

1. Track Number of Appointments, Calls, and Emails

This is a quick measure of how many connections each salesperson makes day to day. Sales is a numbers game. If you have employees making the calls, sending the emails, and visiting prospects in high volume, their sales will come in high too.

Related: Sales Managers: How To Get Over Micromanaging Your Salespeople

Especially focus on the number of booked appointments. The best sales people use those appointments to get referrals. An increased number of face-to-face meetings almost always indicates a higher potential for success.

2. Qualify Prospects

Salespeople have to quantify booked appointments with qualified prospects. Appointments with people outside the targeted buyer demographic won’t get them far. On paper, they’ll look like they’re doing the job. However, if they aren’t booking the right appointments, they won’t make the sales.

When you’re evaluating their success, consider who the appointments are with. Once you find a value to place on their prospects, you’ll more realistically gauge their performance.

3. Implement a Training Program With an Observer

Set up triangulated sales situations to evaluate your sales team. Create a scenario where the salesperson pitches to a pretend client (played by another salesperson).

Either another salesperson or the sales manager observes the interaction. The client brings up objections and plays hard to get. Then the observer gives feedback about what goes right and wrong during the pitch. This gives you a means of observation and shows salespeople where to improve.

4. Record Sales Calls and Demos

Management needs to record and listen to every sales demonstration and call. Your organization spends good money to book demos, either buying leads or running pay-to-click campaigns. If you’re not intentional, you could have an unqualified salesperson trying to close these hard-earned pitches.

Related: The 4 Biggest Mistakes A Sales Manager Can Make

Listen back to each recording so you can identify the key phases that secure (or kill) sales. As you listen to your sales team, ask yourself, “How do they effectively build rapport? Are they talking to qualified prospects?” In doing so, you’ll separate your top sellers from the ones sabotaging deals.

After You Evaluate a Salesperson

Now that you have the info, use these assessments to boost your sales. Assign point values to the number of calls, face-to-face meetings, quality of prospects, training scenarios, and recorded pitches. Then use those points, combined with actual sales numbers, to rank your salespeople.

Once you know where each member on your team stands, give additional training where it’s needed. If someone’s main struggle is phrasing the pitch, work on semantics. If they’re not booking the right type of prospect, identify key characteristics of the target client.

If a lead comes in tomorrow, who are you going to give it to? The struggling sales rep that doesn’t follow procedure, or the person who considers ROI and follows through? Once you have the data, the choice is obvious.


4 Lessons I Learned About Entrepreneurship From High School Band


I never realized being a band geek was leading me to entrepreneurship. I grew up in Germany on an army base. With my dad as my music teacher, I started playing alto saxophone in seventh grade and continued through high school. The endless hours of practice and the cut-throat competitions did more than just make me a better sax player. They taught me a lot of sales strategies and made me an entrepreneur. Four principles took root in me back in my band days, and they continue to prove true in business year after year.

1. Fail Before You Sail

The first time you blow into a horn it sounds like a dying animal. No matter your natural ability, no one just picks up an instrument and plays it like a pro from the start. In fact, the first few songs you play will be sporadic noise, not fluid music.

Related: Do You Have What It Takes to be a Sales Manager?

Similarly, you’ll probably fail before you sail when you’re starting a business. Accept it and learn from it. Just because you struggle at the beginning doesn’t mean you won’t eventually succeed.

2. Learn to Practice

Hours upon hours of practice go into learning to read music, control air flow, and coordinate finger dexterity before an attempt on the horn sounds like music. Then, that practice must continue in order to perform well.

Entrepreneurship also requires regular practice. You don’t just practice at the beginning and then claim you’ve learned all there is to know. You work unceasingly to perfect each note and anticipate your next moves.

In band, you read music and take lessons from the experts to improve. There’s sheet music for business too. Books such as E-Myth provide a note by note explanation of how to start your business. Take the proven strategies and balance them with your own approach.

Once I understood a piece of music, I learned when and where to improvise solos. In business, there’s also a place to do your own thing. The people that cause waves in the business community are the ones improvising.


3. Play the Same Piece of Music

A band works as a team playing the same sheet of music at the same tempo to create a greater melody. If the drummer can’t keep the beat, it throws off the whole band. If a director doesn’t know the piece of music well, he may cue the wrong people and mess up the piece entirely. In band, it’s not too difficult to identify the weak player and correct the mistake. In business, this proves a little more challenging.

Related: The Single Most Important Quality of a High-Performance Sales Culture

A business team needs to follow the same plan. If people are off track, there needs to be a way to bring them back on course. This concept spurred the idea of CallProof. I want to catch mistakes as they happen because of the value of correcting in real-time. Then, we get to fix them before they became a real problem.

4. Earn Your Chair

Competition pushes us to excellence. In band, we competed for first chair, challenging each other to see who could play the music better. Sales is the same. You’re all vying for top spot, but just as one person is clearly best, someone else is worst.

As the leader of your company, you have to make tough decisions about firing weak employees so the best people can propel the business forward. In band, it was always clear who spent more time practicing music based on their performance. In sales, the results tell who’s invested their time, but CallProof makes that clear as day.

I knew that my practice hours on the sax, working my way up to first chair and then to All-European Jazz Saxophonist, made me a better musician. In reality, that time also birthed in me these principles that apply to much more than high school music. To be a successful entrepreneur, you have to know your content, your presentation, and your audience. And no matter how long you’ve been in the business, you can’t stop practicing.




Sales Managers: How To Get Over Micromanaging Your Salespeople

sales manager stop micromanaging

You’ve been in the business a while so you understand what it takes to be successful. To hit the sales numbers, people need to increase their volume. A certain number of calls, appointments, and proposals logistically equal an on-target month.

Because you have CallProof, you see how many of these actually happen each day with each sales person. If someone has a bad day, you can jump right in there and tell them to get their act together and their numbers up, right? Wrong.

The best managers fight the urge to micromanage, knowing the best results come when they don’t.

The Data

Managers need to understand what their sales team does each day. To understand each salesperson’s day, you need a tool that shows you their calls, visits, emails, and location. A real-time update of this information paints a relatively clear picture of each person’s probable success.

Related: Fire Your Sales Manager and Hire a Sales Director TODAY

For example, it’s 2:22 p.m. in Nashville when I look at the data for my new sales guy. I should see that he’s talked to about 15 companies, followed up with another 20 to 30 people, and made a couple of proposals in today’s activity. However, if I see he only had one meeting and made three calls, I know he’s off track.

My gut reaction (as a micromanaging sales manager) is to call this guy and say, “What the HECK are you doing?!” and proceed to chew him out for being a terrible salesperson. This will only leave him thinking, “My boss is such a tyrant. Little does he know, I’ve been trying to close a deal all morning.” or “Seriously?! I’m stuck in this sales training that he requires me to take.”

Sometimes there’s a legitimate excuse for bad data. Numbers alone don’t tell the whole story. Great leaders use data as a launching point to discover the truth of what happens each day. They don’t rely on the data as the truth itself.

The Approach

Beating up your sales team for less than stellar numbers won’t get you anywhere. Instead, approach your salespeople with an attitude of encouragement, not belittlement. With these four tactics, you can expect improvement in your sales team’s success.

1. Get Your Salesperson Talking

Use data to know when to check in. If you see that a team member has low numbers for the day, call and say, “How is your day going? What do you think are your biggest challenges this week with getting appointments?” You want to get the salesperson to talk. If he is unmotivated, he knows it. You don’t have to tell him, but your awareness may help him get back on track. If he’s just had a hiccup in the day, you’ve given him the opportunity to tell you about it.

2. Teach Activity

As time goes on, you can help your sales team understand that higher activity equals more success. You can do that by engaging with people one on one. Maybe you say, “I’m so excited that you’re hustling it up. On Friday, let’s go through your calls from the week and talk about your meetings to see what’s working for you and what’s not.” In that setting, you can then address any issues you’ve seen based on his activity reports.


3. Model Selling

Sometimes a more hands-on approach is necessary. If so, call your struggling salesperson and suggest, “Hey, let’s go on some calls tomorrow. Do you mind meeting me at 8:00? We’re going to go and visit some people. ” Then, you get to teach him how to tackle appointments first hand.

Related: The 4 Biggest Mistakes A Sales Manager Can Make

4. Motivate (Don’t Intimidate)

As a sales manager, you’re there to help your team sell. Scare tactics and intimidation won’t help your team improve their pitch or up their numbers. All it does is create stress and, if anything, hinders performance. Encouragement, however, will raise your team’s confidence and sales numbers.

CallProof provides you with strong data. You can use it to micromanage each employee and eek out sales, but your results exponentially multiply if you use it to revitalize your team. Identify the unmotivated and then encourage them through positive interaction. Make that the number one goal and improvement is inevitable.

3 Ways to Incentivize Your Sales Team This Year

sales manager strategies incentivize team

You made it through the holidays! Your family voyaged home, you recycled the wrapping, and you sipped that last glass of eggnog.

Now it’s time for the new year. What New Year’s resolutions will you make? How will things be different next year and what bears repeating?

The start of a new year breeds self-reflection. As a sales manager, that most likely leads you to re-evaluate how to incentivize your sales team.

1. Money

The most common incentive is money. Yet, money doesn’t motivate as much as we assume it does. In his TED Talk, “The Puzzle of Motivation,” Dan Pink proves that money doesn’t promote the out-of-the-box thinking often needed to do the job. For basic tasks, money works; however, when it comes to creative thinking and new approaches, it won’t do much.

Related: Avoiding Burnout: How To Keep Your Best Salespeople Happy & Motivated

Basically, compensation has to be on par to keep the salespeople around, but it can’t be the primary means of incentivizing sales teams. Money only acts as the baseline from which you can build your incentives.

2. Recognition

More powerful than money, recognition motivates people, particularly millennials. As a manager, do whatever you can to foster this.

First, recognize your top achieving salespeople in print. People want to see their name at the top of the list and know their colleagues see it too. Declaring the “best” pushes your competitive salespeople to strive to be the best.

Once you’ve named the best, treat this salesperson like royalty. The number one celebrity in any business should be the top salesperson. Give them a luxury car to drive around as the company vehicle. It may cost you a little more each month, but it cultivates pride and loyalty.

I’ve seen people pass on highly lucrative job offers because they have a luxury car at their current job. The more you recognize that top person, the more you’ll motivate everyone to vie for the top spot.


3. Self-Motivation

Incentivizing your sales team works only to a certain point; intrinsic motivation takes achievement to a new level. Hire the salespeople who want to win for the sake of showing off their skills. For them, there’s nothing more fun than proving how it’s done.

Related: Time is Money: 4 Ways to Reduce Costs for Your Salespeople

I hired a sales guy one time that was amazing on paper. I assumed he was doing his job, but then realized that he hadn’t made a sale in his first two months. One morning, I brought him into my office to do his cold calls. I left for a little while and when I came back, I saw he hadn’t made any calls. He spent three hours just researching prospects (now CallProof would have done that for him). When I told him to pick one to call, he looked like he was going to pass out. I grabbed the phone, called one of his numbers at random, and booked the appointment immediately. In doing so, I taught him to get over his fear and make the call for the sake of a win.

Years later, I still want my sales team to realize that they can win. I may help them get the courage to sell by providing the money and recognition, but it’s all in an effort to breed self-motivation. Intrinsic motivation drives people like no other incentive can.

So as you think through what worked (and what didn’t) in 2015, consider how to incentivize your sales team in a way that cultivates personal wins. Maybe you pass around an ugly trophy (think: The League) to the top dog each month. Maybe you have team competitions for sales numbers. Incentivizing sales teams is an exercise in creativity.

What strategies have worked for you? Leave your ideas in the comments below.


How to Get Consistent Results From Your Sales Team with a Mastermind Group

sales mastermind group

Mastermind: a board game, a Marvel villain, and a business group. The business option may sound like the least interesting definition of the three, but a Mastermind group can change your sales game drastically. By gathering people with similar goals but different experiences, salespeople learn from each other. 

Benefits of a Mastermind Group

Learn From the Best

At its core, Mastermind groups allow you to hear the best experiences that netted the best results from your peers. You’ll spend part of your time each week sharing wins, losses, and challenges. In doing so, you can take note of what worked for others and apply that information to your own strategy.

Maybe someone shares how they sold 100 widgets to ABC Supply this week. Someone else asks, “How did you get ABC Supply as a customer?” As the salesman tells the story of how he captured the sale, you learn his pitch and how he acquires customers. For a salesperson, that’s your main goal: learning how to get more clients.

Overcome Objections

You also hear how the best salespeople answer objections. Jack Daly, a well-known sales coach, claims that most organizations have 10 objections to a sale. The top one or two salespeople usually have their answers to those objections down to a science.

In a Mastermind group, you can take the time to discuss the 10 objections and then pay attention to the answers of the top salespeople. They’ve learned to navigate those obstacles and can pass their tactics along in this type of setting.

Receive Encouragement

You’ll also gain encouragement from your peers in a Mastermind group. A sales schedule is tough. Even when losses start to weigh heavy, you have to keep your game face on. This type of group gives you an outlet for frustrations and disappointments. Meanwhile, it can also help you find workable solutions to the issues that are holding you back.

Related: 4 Tasks Your Salespeople Hate (And How to Automate Them)

As you share with your group, they start to identify the places where you need to improve. As you get to know each other better, they can point those areas out. Recognizing that someone else knows your shortcomings makes you want to change them. It holds you accountable to a higher performance standard.

Running a Mastermind Group

1. Meet Regularly, Schedule Consistently

The first step to organizing a worthwhile group is to schedule it regularly. Meet every week for eight weeks, then switch to monthly or bi-monthly meetings. These first eight weeks are essentially a crash course in getting to know everyone. Only once you build those relationships can you begin to help each other grow.

As you schedule these meetings, make the time, day, and location consistent. You have enough transition as a salesperson; There’s no need to overcomplicate the group by unnecessarily changing the when and where.

2. Study a Book

Choose a book to study. Jack Daly’s Hyper Sales Growth is a great place to start. In eight weeks, you can talk through it chapter by chapter. Books act as conversation starters for sharing stories about the real work of sales. You’ve shared the experience of reading the book, now you can share the experiences of your sales week.


3. Limit Time and Number of Members

You’ll want to keep each meeting around an hour long. If it gets much longer, scheduling becomes an obstacle. In order to keep the meeting brief, there should only be 5-8 people in a group. The smaller size also allows more depth in the relationships.

Related: Time is Money: 4 Ways to Reduce Costs for Your Salespeople

4. Don’t Include Sales Managers

When management gets involved, salespeople feel less freedom to share. If they meet only with their peers, they have a safe platform for their gripes. The attendance of a manager stifles this.

We want salespeople to talk about these issues because group members can call out their peers. The longer they stay in the group, the more chance they have to learn and improve. If you’re a sales manager who wants to be involved, limit your involvement to scheduling the meetings. You can help make the groups happen, but you shouldn’t be in the group.

5. Have an Agenda

Each time you meet, make time for updates from each group member. Have each person share wins, losses, and challenges since the last time you met. What deals have they closed or successes have they had in their lives? What sales fell through? What updates do they have from previous challenges they’ve faced or deals they were working on?

These conversations open the door for learning and accountability. Members can see what worked for others and avoid the pitfalls. They can share what they’re going through and get honest feedback that will eventually help even if it hurts to hear.