How to Motivate Sales People When Sales Are Poor

Published: 05th February 2010
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Managing a sales team can require special skills when business is poor. Many attendees to management training seminars regularly say that when orders start to fall, salespeople react by working more slowly and therefore the level of sales tends to fall accordingly. Thus becoming a very dangerous vicious cycle of events.

In order to break out of the vicious circle and boost your salespeople try the following managerial ground rules:

1. Inform the sales department about the situation (company, branch and economic). Do not keep bad news to yourself. If your salespeople have to read in the press about companies going into liquidation and sales departments going under, it is understandable that they will lose faith in you.

2. Do not propagate any doom and gloom. Do not feel drawn to make any overly pessimistic statements, which might make your sales staff feel even more insecure. Show that you are the boss. Set new sales strategies in regard to terms and conditions, the product range, the service levels and the delivery and ensure consistency when putting these into place. Nothing demotivates or makes people insecure than constant changes in direction, reducing discounts one day and increasing them again the next.

3. Discuss your concepts, plans and guidelines with your salespeople. Get their opinions on these matters and discuss with them any future action. Do not shy away from setting yourself high objectives. Salespeople who are aware of the hard, brutal facts will be able to do the impossible.

4. If you want to increase sales efficiency you will have to decide on drastic measures. Crisis management does not mean streamlining your product range and reducing your client base one day, changing your prices and sales routes the next and extending your sales areas the next again. Managers attending management training course often admit to this problem. Summarize all the requisite measures in a Sales Innovation Program.

5. If you appeal to your salespeople to tighten their belts you must lead by example. If the quality of sales people's cars have to be reduced, the boss must also do the same. If you are cutting back on expenses the sales manager should not be put up in a hotel for £250 a night.

6. Consider the individual care of the sales force as being of utmost importance. Those who are perhaps having to do more work for less money need their souls massaged. Discuss with them the conceivable negative effects this commitment is having on their private life. Help to clarify and solve any problems, which may arise.

7. Do not leave your salespeople alone at the front line during difficult times. Accompany them more frequently on client visits.

8. If you delegate additional responsibility also make sure that they are freed from less important, time-consuming administrative duties. Check, therefore the work that can be reassigned different members of staff.

9. Increased responsibility motivates salespeople. Let them have a say in all new regulations governing sales policy during times of crisis. Extend their negotiating scope concerning the elaboration of orders, client selection, conditions and dealing with complaints.

10. Let your sales team know about product innovations and improvements in good time.

Good performances by your salespeople in times of crisis deserves particular recognition. Let the salesperson know about the positive effects this has had and encourage them to keep up the good work.

Implementing these points will help to motivate your team in difficult times. Good motivational ability that can be readily learnt from management training is imperative for increased amounts of sales force motivation and improved performance.


Richard Stone ( is a Director for Spearhead Training Limited that specialises in running management training courses to improve business performance. View more ways to motivate a sales force at =>

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