The greatest leaders the world has ever known universally consider their effectiveness in dealing with people as their greatest assets when it comes to motivating and leading. Churchill, FDR, Schwab, Kennedy, Carnegie all say that how they have been able to deal with people led to their success as leaders.

In this sales management training we will enumerate a number of simple everyday techniques sales management professionals can easily employ even while performing mundane everyday tasks that will motivate and lead their sales teams more effectively.

  1. Use humor as a motivator.
  2. Instead of taking your salespeople to task the next time they make a mistake, try using humor instead.

    One of the most successful industrialists of the 20th century, Charles Schwab ran US Steel throughout the early 1920s. He had an uncanny knack for using humor in just the right spots to motivate and lead his troops.  One day, he was taking a walk through one of his steel mills when he spotted a group of his employees enjoying a cigarette break directly in front of a “no smoking” sign.  Refraining from yelling at them, he calmly walked up to the steel workers, handed them each a cigar from his breast pocket and said, “I’ll appreciate boys, if you’ll smoke these on the outside.”

    How did those employees feel? They certainly got the message not to smoke in the factory. But Schwab had accomplished the task in a genius stroke of humility, generosity, as well as humor. Wouldn’t you want to work for a manager like that?

  3. Avoid criticism if at all possible. 
  4. One of the best ways to motivate a salesperson is to avoid criticizing them directly.  Criticism doesn’t change behavior; instead it oftentimes has the opposite effect: it makes people resentful.

    When at all possible, bring about change using a positive approach by not calling attention to failings directly, instead do it indirectly so that the salesperson saves face and keeps their prestige intact.

  5. Avoid direct orders

    Oftentimes, giving options instead of orders is the most effective way to spur change in behavior. Instead of saying “do this” or “do that”, consider instead saying “have you ever considered this?” or “Do you think this might work instead?”

    If you let your salespeople figure it out for themselves and learn from their own mistakes saves their pride and gives them an honest feeling of importance both motivates and leads at the same time.

    Furthermore, this kind of sales leadership encourages a feeling of cooperation instead of resentment.

  6. Instill a desire to achieve 
  7. All things considered, salespeople are a pretty self-motivated bunch. So to persuade salespeople to do something that you want, create within them a desire to do it. A major secret to sales management success lies in the ability to get the other persons point of view, and to see things from that person’s perspective. 

    See what’s in it for your salesperson first. What is it that they really want?  Then help them go get it. If you can align yourself with their goals, together you can achieve incredible things together.  If you can help instill that desire in them and also lead them to aspire to even more, that's what sales leadership is all about.

  8. Speak to people’s interests. 
  9. The last key to motivating salespeople is to simply get to know them.  Get to know what they want, get to know their families, get to know their kids, get to know their desires and understand what’s most important to them. As a sales leader, unless you know your salespeople and figure out what’s most important to your salespeople, you’ll never going to be able to get what you want.    

    The road to great sales leadership is to understand what’s most important to each of your sales staff, then talk about the things that he or she treasures most.