For many sales teams, a casualty of the COVID-19 housing boom has been the adherence to a tangible sales process.
Many strategies that worked so well have either been abandoned or forgotten. As sales managers, our job is to coach our teams and ensure they implement all of the steps of the sales and prospecting process that are proven to work. We want these best practices to become sustainable sales habits.
In his excellent book "Atomic Habits," James Clear explains that if you were to get on a plane in Los Angeles heading to New York and the trajectory was off by a mere 3.5 degrees, you would end up in Washington, D.C. So, ask yourself: "Hey, self, what is my sales team's trajectory?"
Are you on the correct path to long-term and consistent success? Being off by a few degrees could have a negative long-term effect on your sales path in the future.
With all the negativity and stress that comes with a changing market, now is the perfect time for you to introduce a fun and upbeat recognition and reward program. These programs come in many sizes, so, before we get too granular, let's discuss what we want to do.
By shining a light on exceptionalism, you are planting seeds of positivity that will continue to grow over time. Here are some "public displays of affection" that can get you started.
When a salesperson excels in any area, it is helpful to "catch them doing things right" and email the whole company outlining the story of their exceptional character or actions. This genuine act of appreciation will add a spring to their step and inspire others to keep striving—knowing it will be noticed.
Social media effectively shows public appreciation when your team shows excellence. Heritage Homes in Fargo, North Dakota, posts a Salesperson of the Month on its social channels. Can you imagine the pride the salespeople feel when their family and social network see how accomplished (and appreciated) they are.
Since sales are the result of the practices, identify the activities you need the sales team to do and create rewards for them. Here are some examples:
Also, you can add rookie and character awards to help focus on team spirit and camaraderie. Notice that the sale is the last item being rewarded, as the goal is to have the salesperson concentrate on all the other essential activities that lead to the sale.
Most companies will have a structured competition that lasts two to three months but will give out prizes at every sales meeting to reward the activities and create excitement. At the end of the competition, there will be grand prizes after you tally up all the points.
As a young salesperson, I had some excellent sales managers who created sales competitions that were highly creative and lots of fun. We had either car race tracks or horse races, and each activity would move you closer to the finish line. I remember bounding into sales meetings with excitement, hoping I had done enough to win a prize and secretly enjoying the recognition for my hard work.
I have won many vacations. But the picture of me standing in front of my "Salesperson of the Month" parking spot is a highlight. As eccentric as this now seems, I remember being immensely proud as I pulled into my private spot every day. It was a simple gesture that must have meant something to me, as I have kept this picture for more than 25 years.
Experts debate whether it takes 30 or 90 days, or even longer, to create a new habit. Fortunately, when you make a competition that rewards the best sales practices, the habits should have taken root when the competition ends.
As a salesperson, sales director, and coach, I have experienced firsthand how fostering this culture of recognition will create a more harmonious workplace with happier salespeople.
It will also help everyone develop and grow together - a true win-win.