How does this apply to managing a group of salespeople? It’s related. The mechanics are different, sure, but the concept is very much the same..
Fact is a salesperson is much like a personal bank account. For example, when you first hire a new salesperson, that person is a blank slate. You haven't made any "trust" deposits to that person yet, and in the same way he or she hasn't done you any favors yet, either.
But as time rolls around, and you continue to work with that person, you'll learn to make deposits—motivating him or her for an upcoming project, congratulating him or her for a job well done—and eventually a few withdrawals as well.
As the immediate supervisor, you are responsible for two very important factors that could either make or break the sales team's performance.
First things first. You’re the only person who knows each individual's PIN code. It’s your job to know what makes each person smile and what makes them tick. So you are always in the best position to build them up and motivate them for their next project. That's your primary role as supervisor, and it’s perhaps the most important.
The first duty is to motivate your salespeople, and the second duty is to make as many deposits as possible so they’ll feel indebted to you—in return, they'll produce better results than last time. It sounds like a dirty tactic, but it really isn't. It’s simply building your team's confidence to be able to come up with the best possible results.
It isn't too late if you've been making too many withdrawals out of your sales team lately. But I suggest you start with a clean slate now, before worst comes to worst.