Offering Hope Through Connection

By Lain Ehmann

According to motivational speaker Mike Marchev, author of Become the Exception (Greyhound Press, 2000), today’s sales audiences, regardless of the industry, need hope. “They need to feel good again,” he says. Offering hope in an uncertain political and economic climate means more than a pep talk at the annual sales meeting. Marchev says meetings that provide a forum for salespeople to connect with others can lift reps’ spirits. Here are his suggestions.

Choose a speaker who connects with the audience. When selecting a speaker, look for one who is going to get down to your reps’ level, not offer pie- in-the-sky ideals that bear little applicability to what your team goes through on a daily basis. “Audiences need content, and they need connectability,” says Marchev.

Celebrate wins. It’s easy to focus on improvement without looking at how much has already been accomplished. This can leave salespeople feeling that their best is never good enough. “They need to know how good they are,” says Marchev. While improvement is always desirable, so too is making note of big orders or conversions and publicizing them.

Take advantage of your reps’ expertise. Ask a handful of salespeople to put together a case study of an account where they turned things around or were able to penetrate a new customer’s organization. Then have them present their case study to the rest of the team to show that their colleagues have faced – and surmounted – obstacles they encounter every day.

Make time to connect. Set aside time for reps to bring problems to the table and brainstorm with other salespeople about possible solutions. When people see they aren’t alone in their challenges, they’ll feel more motivated to keep going.Extend the relationships beyond the meeting. Celebrating successes and encouraging employees to rely on each other for suggestions and ideas should be a year-round occurrence, not just a once-a-year one. Send out emails about successes, and suggest that reps make it a habit to turn to each other for assistance.

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