In this day and age, who doesn’t?
Nowadays, one of the things we are most asked for in tailored training programs in the commercial area is precisely this question.
“How to motivate our clients’ teams.”
But after all, how do we achieve permanent states of motivation or at least ones that last longer than usual?
It’s straightforward to make a motivational speech, put your teams at the top of their game, and make them go one or two “happier” days.
The hard part is giving the salespeople what they need to be more motivated and can overcome the challenges day by day.
I often joke with the teams I work with about the Bell issue.
It’s like in some companies, when a goal is achieved, be it a sale or any other, a bell is rung, and there is collective hysteria to celebrate.
The problem with this is that it’s important to celebrate, but it takes more than that. Motivation is the same as wearing shoes.
You will see that the idea is simple.
Think about it with me, do you wear the same size as your colleague?
And if you do, do you wear the same kind of shoes as him?
Most of the time, no!
I may like pointy shoes, and my colleague may like more rounded shoes in the front, and so on.
It’s precisely the same with motivation.
Especially in sales teams, where the salesperson is usually an isolated “specimen.”
He works alone most of the time and only feels part of a team at the famous sales meetings, where he is usually “hit on the head” if he is not in the wanted sales numbers.
And these days, since many of them are below the line, the “team” moment ends up somewhat painful.
A moment that often should be the weekly recharge of energy and motivation by the bosses is becoming more an instrument of torture than anything else.
One of the recommendations I have been making to my clients is to change this strategy.
Instead of going over sales figures for each salesperson in weekly meetings, do it in private with each one.
In the space that is left over, devote yourself to creating a real team spirit and sharing and creating new solutions to the problems that companies face.
Divide the meetings into two moments:
First, the “cry box” moment!
Don’t know what it is?
The other day on a team I was working with, I asked the Commercial Director and the CEO to try something different.
I arrived on Monday morning with a cardboard box decorated with newspaper clippings with news of the pandemic.
I opened the meeting instituting from then on the crying moment.
Each salesperson could complain about one bad thing that had happened to him in the previous week.
It could be business they lost or any other situation that didn’t go well.
Next, they had to write that situation on a piece of paper and put it inside the bin, then talk about it for a maximum of 3 minutes.
After the 3 minutes, the floor would pass to someone else.
Since this was a team of 20 salespeople, this process still took some time.
But the lighter tone that we imprinted to the moment and the bell that I brought to the meeting rung at 2.5 minutes made everyone respect the time and even joke about the situation.
In the end, the box was closed, and no one else was allowed to speak or discuss the pandemic topic during the following week.
Then, the second moment took place, the “solution box” moment.
I went outside to get another box, but this time decorated with news from companies that, despite the pandemic, we’re succeeding.
This time the process was reversed.
Each one had to write a suggestion on a piece of paper, put it in the box, and then have 3 minutes to talk about it.
In the end, we chose the best solutions, and five were selected and put into action during the following week. Individual responsibilities were assigned, and the process moved forward.
This little exercise has several psychological principles underneath.
We don’t have time in this article to focus on them all and explain them in detail.
But if you think about it, in the first moment, we gave the team room to complain, getting a commitment to focus on the positive afterward.
In the second moment, we close that issue and focus the whole team on the solutions, rather than on the problems.
This is just one simple but effective way to increase motivation in your sales team.
Many more exist within our working tools.
Also published on Medium.