Two Proven Methods To Supercharge Your Sales Force
The sales person who is motivated primarily by praise and encouragement is probably the most prevalent motivational profile that you will have on your sales team.
Everyone to a certain degree enjoys praise and enjoys encouragement.
And I thing that we all work under an environment of praise and encouragement better than an environment in which we are either ignored or there is a tremendous amount of negative feedback or criticism.
Most sales people that I have led over the years as a sales manager have benefited from the praise and encouragement motivational technique.
There are certain sales people that are far more sensitive to this, and this is one of the profiles that we have put together. You can tailor your individual approach based upon how they filled out the motivational questionnaire which you can get inside the Sales Management Mastery Academy.
For this particular motivational profile of praise and encouragement, we are going to teach you the difference between these two methods.
The first thing about praise is that praise can greatly enhance a sales persons feeling of self worth as well as their level of confidence. Praise is a very effective technique as maybe you were a sales person at one time, maybe you've just become a sales manager, maybe you are managing a group of sales managers, your feelings of self worth when you walk into that office, when you make that phone call, or when do the first task as the sales person, or meet someone on the showroom floor, depending on what type of sales you are in, the more confident you felt that day, chances are the more effective that you were.
A sales manager can greatly impact that feeling of confidence by using praise and encouragement.
With confidence comes self worth, this is how a sales person feels about themselves. You, as the sales manager are motivating them and providing extrinsic motivation to enhance their intrinsic motivations. In this case a person who is highly motivated by praise and encouragement, you can make them feel better and more confident and boost their self esteem by using some of these techniques.
One of the biggest questions that we always get is, "what is the difference between praise and encouragement?' because they are used interchangeable. For those of you who usually look at them as the same, I want you to think about them in two very different ways.
Praise focuses on performance itself and ignores the effort or motive that goes into it. You can make a sales person feel like they are being judged versus others by praising them but this can also be helpful becomes it can promote competition as well.
Praise can be used in many different ways.
It definitely casts a judgment on the sales person, which is a good thing, but out of the two techniques, praise versus encouragement, we advocate encouragement far more than praise.
Another thing about praise, it is conditional. It is granted in response to a success and typically it is withheld when there is failure.
We talk about typical praising in the Sales Management Mastery Academy we call them "Masterful Praising".
A typical praising might be, a sales person hits 110% of a quota for a month and the sales manager says, "Wow you hit 110% of quota last month, that's awesome". So you are praising their success, you are not praising the effort and I think that is really the biggest difference between praise and encouragement. Both methods should be used together.
It teaches the sales person, perhaps not in the best way, sometimes sales people are highly tuned in to praise or their motivational profile is tied to praise and encouragement, it almost reinforces the sales person to please their sales manager all of the time.
This is the sales person that calls you if they have any kind of success. They call you after any great thing happening, they are the ones that are fishing for praise from you. These are the people that give you a fair amount of phone calls and emails to give you all of this news, even if it is minor things.
You have to marry the fact that you want to praise, praiseworthy events, but you don't want to overdo it. You also don't want to teach the sales person to constantly be pleasing the sales manager in this extrinsic way.
You want sales people to derive more benefit from the actual event itself or the performance itself. If you can pull that off through the use of encouragement, it is a far more effective technique.
For example a sales person might call you and say, "I had a really good call today, and the guy is just about to sign the contract. I am going to go back next Tuesday, and he is going to sign it."
You might say, "I am really happy with that, excellent work."
So you are praising the result. The result being that they are going back to get the contract signed.
That would be praise.
We all have sales people that call us constantly to give us updates, maybe they give you updates on the negative side as well, but they typically do call you and want to tell you, which means that you are probably pretty good at praising them. You are self-reinforcing, you have to be careful that they are not constantly seeking your approval for everything that they do; they should seek their own approval. You do that by balancing a couple of techniques that we are going to teach you.
The last thing about praise is that you can only give it when that person is successful.
For example, if they had that sales call and got that meeting and the following Tuesday they actually did sign the contract, praise would be that they signed that contract. Praise would be, "that is tremendous that you got that contract signed."
And if you know that that person is tuned into the bonus you figure it out in your head, and say something like, "that was a $10,000.00 sale."
Put in relation to what it would mean to them in dollar terms, and then relate it back to the dollar amount for them. Let us say the person gets paid 2% commission you could say, "That is $200 in your pocket - fantastic."
If the contract is an ongoing sale, you could say, "Your commission is 6 times $200 that totals $1,200, good work!"
You can tie back into the bonus plan, into the money that they make because you want the event itself to be self-reinforcing, and not just your praise. If you have the two of those things going together, than you really have a supercharged sales person. Praise is based upon a specific event in which they were successful and it is conditional. You are passing judgment on them based upon that. It is a very effective technique for this motivational profile.
Encouragement is slightly different in the fact it is a positive acknowledgement of the effort and/or progress that a sales person makes toward the ultimate goal. People say praise all along the way but that isn't really praising, it's more "encouraging" along the way.
This does is fosters an independence of the feelings and judgments of others by you acknowledging the effort itself, or by you acknowledging the effort itself.
This is an acknowledgement of what they are doing and the effort that they are putting in. That is what differentiates praise from encouragement. Use both of these techniques together, but use encouragement more.
Nice thing about encouragement, it also makes the sales person feel valued instead of being evaluated. This is important because people in this profile typically need boosts of self worth and self confidence so that it is very important that you praise and encourage along the way to boost the morale, boost the self worth and enhance the confidence.
A confident sales rep, strolling across the showroom floor to greet a prospective customer where they are exuding confidence and they feel good, the chances of them having a positive encounter with that customer leading to a sale is far, far greater. That is why praise and encouragement is so important because their feeling of self worth is so important.
Like all sales people during the day, there are highs and lows, like in any occupation. But with this particular profile, they are more sensitive to those highs and lows, so you really need to praise and encourage keeping them on the high self confident, high self esteem path.
The beauty of encouragement is that these are words that you can use so that you can notice what they are doing instead of passing judgment. You can say something like this, "I know that you were really focused on your pre-call planning and your data analysis yesterday". You are not necessarily saying "good job" or "great work", or passing judgment, you are more noticing, and that is encouraging to someone.
If you have a predominance of this motivational profile in your sales team, I would encourage you to use these types of words that "notice" instead of passing judgment.
Another thing about encouragement, it can be used when the sales person is failing as well. This is why it is such a tremendous strategy.
For example if they are failing in a particular task, you can always point back to the effort that they put in. For example, if they didn't make any sales on this particular week but you noticed that they are really working hard to make appointments for the following week.
So maybe they didn't have a great week on paper in terms of results, but they set up the following week. A great use of encouragement in this case would be to say, "I know that you didn't get the sales that you were looking for this week, however you worked really hard and you really made a lot of appointments for next week which I know will be a tremendous week for you".
You are encouraging, and pushing, and reinforcing that behavior that you want.
Not everyone is going to make a sale everyday. We all want sales people who make twenty sales a day who to continue to move the company forward everyday, but there really isn't the nature of sales. A sales leader you have to be realistic.
You can use encouragement when they are failing.
Another great part about encouragement is that it makes the sale person feel recognized and important. Who doesn't want to feel important and significant? Recognition is effective keeping that morale and self esteem up. Encouragement is a great way to do it.
Lastly about encouragement, it teaches the sales rep to teach themselves. And this is the beauty of encouragement versus praise.
You are not passing judgment but you are teaching.
For example, maybe you are coming out of a call with one of your sales people and you say, "I noticed that you asked a lot of investigational questions on that call, and you should really be proud of your progress."
Maybe you have a younger sales person, and they go right into the presentation and you are coaching them on asking more investigational questions. Maybe they are starting to turn the corner, and you are starting to see that they are heeding your advice, and they are starting to get more follow up appointments that will lead to a sale. Maybe the sale has not been made as of yet but you need to encourage that progress.
Encouragement does a very effective job at pushing your sales people towards ultimate success. And when they achieve the success, and they make the sale, and they put up the numbers, that is when you heap the praise on top.
Encouragement is much more effective in a day to day fashion in motivating this profile. It teaches them a lot of different ways in which they can self motivate.
To reiterate, there is a difference between praise and encouragement.
I would use encouragement far more because it is non-judgmental. It rewards progress with your interactions. It also makes people feel valued and boosts their self esteem.
It is not something that you have to wait until they actually achieve something, you can encourage all along the way in order to get to the ultimate goal.
I would highly encourage you to use some of the techniques described in the show in order to motivate this particular motivational profile.
Have a question for Ralph? Ask or leave a comment below!