Ain’t Misbehavin’

By Cindy Waxer

You’ve got a great new idea for how your sales team can gain new customers – but you can’t get your sales reps to try it. They’ve become accustomed to doing things a certain way, and they see no reason to change. Well, threatening your sales force and becoming autocratic will only make matters worse. So what can you do? Sales strategist Landy Chase suggests these tricks for convincing your sales team to embrace your new directives.

1. Engage salespeople’s input when planning a course of action. If you allow them to take responsibility for producing a solution to a problem, they almost always will take ownership of it. Conversely, if you don’t, you’ll usually get nowhere in terms of cooperation.

2. Let the sales team come up with the solution. Sometimes managers forget that salespeople are each running a business within their market or territory. As such, they are fully capable of solving problems and making decisions – and should be given the responsibility for doing so.

3. Require measurable results. When presenting your problem to the sales team be clear about requiring a quantifiable outcome as part of the solution. Management needs to have the sales force, as part of the problem-solving exercise, commit to a specific minimum amount of new business on a per-rep basis as part of the solution.

4. Make a reward system part of your program. Too many sales organizations overlook the importance of positive reinforcement as a motivational tool. Sales contests that are tied to the company’s sales objectives make the challenge fun and always should be an integral part of the problem-solving scenario. Let your salespeople tell you what they want for a prize – after you give them a budget.

5. Offer resources and support as required. Your first responsibility as a manager is to provide support and assistance to your direct reports in their selling efforts. Once the sales team establishes a plan for solving the problem, and you agree with their recommendations, you may be asked to provide training, computer resources or other support mechanisms as they tackle the problem. Whenever possible, give them the tools they request to get the job done.

For more information, please click on