How Do I Get My Sales Team Motivated In This Economy?

I am the president of a manufacturing firm that has a national footprint.  We have 12 outside sales men/women, 4 inside sales and/or sales support staff.  Our market share has seriously shrunk.  And taking your advice George, I started checking outside sales activities and true to your speculation, sales expenses were down significantly.  Until I spoke with you, I thought this was good thing but realize it meant our sales people are not traveling within their assigned territories as needed, to achieve enough success to keep our doors open.  We have an all hands meeting at the corporate office in two weeks.  HELP!  How do I get these folks back on track?

There is little doubt this meeting will truly must be a no nonsense father/son/daughter discussion.  There is no short answer(s) but I’m going to try within this newsletter to achieve mostly the highlights and hopefully get your mind stimulated for a plan for the future. 

1.    They must take ownership of their actions.  And not just by nodding their heads in affirmation but verbally and maybe even in writing for tough cases.  You must draw this out from within them.
2.    Do they love what they do or is this just a job and they are marching to a drummer that sees nothing but doom and gloom.  You must draw this out from within them.
3.    Do they have a “Sure Nuf” attitude?  Do they wake up each morning and say to themselves, this is going to be a terrible day?  Because if they do, it will be “sure ‘nuf.”  The opposite mindset must come into play.  You must draw this out from within them.
4.    Life doesn’t offer us a cake walk; it is filled with obstacles and challenges.  Why are they reacting the way that they are?  What happened to positive attitudes?  You must draw this out from within them.
5.    Determine if they are being honest with themselves.  Remind them that they wouldn’t want their spouse, kids, siblings or co-workers to lie to them.  So why lie to yourself?  Are they convinced they are really doing everything humanly possible to succeed?  You must draw this out from within them.
6.    Are ego’s getting in the way of success?  If one or more individuals are having unusual success and are they showing true team spirit and sharing that knowledge for the benefit of all?  You must draw this out from within them.
7.    If the company belonged to any given person on this team and they had check writing authority, ask them what they would do different, full well knowing that each check they write comes from THEIR checking account.
8.    If business isn’t going the way they would like, ask them, “What are they going to do to fix this?”  “What are their plans and goals?” You must draw this out from within them.
9.    When did they stop dreaming of success, achievements and personal gratification from their career paths?  You must draw this out from within them.
10.    And finally ask them the following; “What would they do different if each and every day you got into the passenger side of their car and rode with them each working day?”
11.    And finally, they must believe in you their leader.  And this honesty and sincerity must be drawn out from within you, by you and delivered to all of your teams.

As you can see, the burden has moved directly onto the shoulders of the president of this manufacturing company.  The responsibility is to get his staff, people he has lots of dollars invested in over the years back on track.  Hey we all need a kick in the butt every once in awhile and with this example a whole bunch of butt kicking is in order.  Of course I mean that in a very professional and not condescending or physical way.

George Mancuso, President
Client Growth Consultants