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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Let's Fire Up Your Sales Team!


As we enter the final months of the year, there is a good chance that you will begin to observe a few signs of complacency, or even fatigue, settling in among your salespeople. They are already starting to look ahead, focused on hitting their annual goals, working with clients to secure next year's business, and seeking new prospects that will help them to hit their new business goals next year. We all know this has been a hard year. Your salespeople have worked to get every dollar out of their account lists. And their clients are feeling the pressures themselves; it's common to hear them talk about how tough it is out there on Main Street.

That is the exact reason this article is going to focus on how to fire up and jump start your sales team. It's time to get the swagger back and reinstate the optimism that was felt throughout the office earlier this year.

Everyone knows that when the sales department is fired up, sales tend to go up. Sellers enjoy coming to work, there is a positive vibe in the office, more work gets done, more results are noticed, and an overall "We can make it happen" spirit becomes the norm.

Here are five things you can do this week to light that fire.

Show them your vision of the future: It's natural for salespeople to want to know where they are going. This is the perfect time of year to clearly articulate your vision for the future and discuss how they will play a role in that future. Do this and watch the energy return to the sales team.

Share information: This is by far the easiest item to implement. A quick way to jump-start activity and fire up your sellers is to share information with them on what's going on with the company. I see it all the time. Recently I attended a sales meeting where the general manager shared with just the sales team some of the more important growth information. The response was incredible. It was amazing to watch their spirits being lifted on the spot.

Have fun: Yes, I said have fun. It seems like a no-brainer, but in reality it's not always easy. Fun is hard to manufacture, so you need to look for opportunities to make it happen. Find opportunities for the sales team to enjoy a shared positive experience and feel inspired as a group. But remember, fun does not always equal success, so make sure to find the right balance to achieve productivity and still fire up your sales team.

Share and recap the good stuff: This is sometimes overlooked, and yet it's very important. Share some of the great things that have happened in the past few weeks or months with your team. This can be done in a sales meeting, or even in a letter that you might send in the mail to their homes. Imagine the infusion of energy they would feel if they received a letter in the mail this weekend that recapped all the great things they have accomplished in the last three months, as individuals or as a team. The key here is that there can be no hidden agenda ? just a note of congratulations on what has been accomplished. That'll fire 'em up!

Set a new challenge: Carefully select a team goal that is attainable, yet challenging, and around which everyone can rally. Many of the clients I work with will implement a target account drive during the final months of the year to accomplish this. Make sure you set up a way to track your progress, and celebrate often.

I know I only promised you five ways to fire up your team, but I've got one more. One of my favorite things to do is to invite a very satisfied customer to come in and share with the sales team the successes they have had during the year and how your organization played a significant part in that success.

Take the time to jump-start your sales staff right now, when they need it most, and you will find an engaged and inspired team of sellers excited for the future.

Matt Sunshine is EVP of the Center for Sales Strategy. E-mail:

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