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The following are some handy tips for sales managers on how to manage and motivate specifically new sales staff. but before getting into that its important to point out that our newly hired sales team member has his own distinct challenges which includes the following:

• Learning about the products/services
• Learning about the organization
• Getting to know his colleagues
• Learning about and getting to know the customers
• Learning about the competition
• Learning new systems
• Understanding the business processes and working relationships
• Other challenges

This is the time to step up as a manager and get involved to make a new hire’s training and acclimation to the work environment as smooth as possible. A few suggestions would be:

Have a plan for him or her (first day, week, month, quarter, etc.) that prioritises what they need to know. Give them the “need to know” information first.  This doesn’t have to necessarily cover all the details of their job, but it should hit most of the core areas.

Networking. Let them get to know the people they are going to work closest with in a stress-free environment. No need to have someone start in a ‘‘trial by fire’’ atmosphere if it is not necessary. Again, training is tough enough for most people.

Rotate them around the core departments. If at all possible, let them spend some of those first few weeks meeting and talking about the roles, responsibilities, and challenges in other departments.

Give them time. While you might operate in a very aggressive sales atmosphere, realize that some people are ready to pound the pavement on day one and others need more time to grasp things. That does not necessarily mean the latter has less potential; it could be just the opposite.

As the sales manager you must always remember that developing winners will still follow a very distinct pattern. Some people will move faster than others, but all go through certain phases. here are some practical things you can do

1. Assign buddies or shadowing of experienced team members with new staff  for example buddy the best team member in objections handling with the weakest objection handler in the team
No salesman is perfect, everyone has a weak point and that applies to your team as well. As a manager keen on constantly developing your team you must know which part of the sales process represents the greatest challenge for each team member and focus on improving it.

2. Use Tagging which means you should have a tag in your mind for each of your team members where each person has a specific need for improvement that you are working with him to improve, it is so clear to you the one specific issue each team member has that you have a tag for each. Remember this when you’re observing them in action and listening to their conversations with customers so that you’re constantly thinking of the key area where you’d like them to improve.
For example :
-   That’s Sarah , she’s a little shy , she has a problem initiating conversation with  customers on the floor.
-   This is John, he has a problem with closing sales
-   That’s Samy, needs to work on his questioning skills...etc.

3. Put best practice in front of everyone ,Always highlight best practice and make sure everyone sees it. For example pointing out a team members excellent customer handling situation in a team meeting or a huddle and explain it and make sure everyone understood that this is the right way and this is what we want to see more of.

4. Be there when they are selling Watch them in action, observe how they handle customers see them firsthand to be able to point out where they need your support.  This doesn’t mean standing right behind them or leaning over their shoulder, but if we’re going to coach our staff properly you need to know what they’re doing. Watch not only for what they’re saying, but also watch out for:

•   Their body language
•   Are they being communicative with the customer
•   Are they smiling when they greet customers
•   What are their hand gestures and movements saying to the customer.

5. Let them watch you sell, make sure they see you sell to customers, do it the right way in front of them and this is an excellent learning opportunity for them. Encourage everyone to watch your best sales people as well and pick up tips.


And now let’s look at some rewards and motivation techniques for your sales team, we will look into Free / No cost ways to motivate your sales people as well as low cost things you can do to get them fired up and Energized about selling and performing better. We will look into some very simple methods of motivating and rewarding your team. These may be straightforward but it’s amazing how many of us forget to do it or don’t do it often enough – and they really work!

 

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No cost Ways to motivate your sales team:

1. Praise - This may sound really obvious but we all respond well to praise and it doesn’t have to be winning a gold medal at the Olympics, it could be as simple as saying “well done, I saw you managing that customer and you did it really well.  I really liked the way you . . . “  This will not only motivate the member of staff but will also make them remember something they did particularly well.

2. A kind word or short note – ‘thank you’ and ‘well done’s!

3. Congratulate in a team meeting. Recognition in front of our peers is always received well. It’s a great idea to start team meetings with a little praise for those that have done well recently or achieved a sales against the odds etc.

4. Recognition as Employee of the Month - Again, these can sometime appear really pretentious but remember to reward staff – the reward can be simple a certificate, a box of chocolates – anything that recognises an achievement. But remember once you start this, you have to continue and you have to have clearly defined rules of how to achieve it. Of course if you want you could add a significant reward – an extra half day off for example!

5. Recognition on Company intranet and Newsletters. As Andy Warhol once said, we all want our 15 minutes of fame and this is true in the corporate world. Seeing your name in print in a company magazine or online is a fantastic thrill for most staff members and shows their efforts are being recognised outside their own store.

Low cost ideas to motivate your sales team:

1. Give a certificate and have a small ceremony – even if it’s only once a month, it’s key for staff recognition

2.  Time off - As mentioned before, this is a relatively low cost award that has huge significance for staff – who doesn’t want to be recognised with such a prize as time off!

3. A gift certificate is another great way of recognising achievement – it doesn’t have to be a huge amount of money, but to allow someone to buy something as a treat for themselves or their family is a great incentive. A lot of organisations now also use cinema tickets and these are always well received by staff.

4. Again, a simple idea, but one which works well and is appreciated by the whole team.

5. Sales contests are a great way to boost sales. They are especially useful when a particular type of product/service needs that extra push. The key to remember with sales contests is that they work best for short-term sales results. Also, don’t implement them too frequently. The prize for winning a sales contest can be anything from a small gift to an extravagant trip. Trips are typically in the form of a
trip for the individual (or with a guest), or companies sometimes have more elaborate programs where multiple winners take part.

For example, the winners go to a resort where they can network with their peers and enjoy the atmosphere and festivities. However, if the prize is great or small, the added excitement in the store and the emphasis on a new product or service can work wonders for both sales and morale!

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