Variety is the Spice of Sales
There are two sides to sales; first up there is the exciting.
The exciting is characterised by that giddy sense of excitement that you get when you can sense an opportunity. When you sense that just maybe tthe person you are speaking to is someone who might need, or want, what you have to sell.
If you haven’t experienced it then it’s hard to describe but it’s like a prickling under your skin, a sixth sense, when you just know that the conversation is going well.
For those non sales people reading this think of the thrill of excitement you get when you play a board game and you realise all you need is one good role of the dice. Or when you are playing cards and you only need one more card to make that killer hand. Or meeting a person for the first time and getting the feeling that they might just be the one…
That thrill of excitement is, I believe, one of the reasons people do sales jobs. The thrill of the hunt is in itself rewarding…and oh so good when it results in a win!
But the other side of sales is the routine. The drudge work. Whether it’s writing up sales lists, making the first round of calls to a cold list or preparing your stock for display.
Now whilst there are ways to think about the routine that can make them more interesting every sales manager who has ever run a sales team will tell you that at some point people are going to get bored of the routine.
This boredom with the routine carries real dangers. When bored with something people don’t do it as well. They lose their attention to details and mistakes slip in.
This then brings frustration when further mistakes are made as a result of the first one and in the sales world there are few things more frustrating than a sale falling through because some of the prep work wasn’t done properly. Just ask any telephone sales person who has been working from a badly researched call list how much fun it is to make fifty calls to the wrong type of prospect.
So what can you do about it?
Well if we accept the fact that nothing kills passion faster than routine (just ask any marriage counsellor) then I think that one of the keys to keeping a sales team excited and enthused is variety.
The less routine there is the less chance for the boredom to set in. Now whilst the routine tasks do have to be done you can make changes to how they are done and the environment they are done in.
So here are some options:
CHANGE OF SCENERY
This one is simple ~ have people move seats every few weeks or months
Literally have people change desks with their colleagues. Have them move all of their personal and business stuff. They are moving desks completely not simply switching seats. Having people switch where they sit really wakes people up.
On a practical level it can also eliminate anyone getting the ‘good seat’ (e.g. the seat by the window or the one where the boss can’t see their computer screen! ). It can have the spin-off benefit of forcing people to be more tidy and organised. Having to pack it all up and move it tends to help people keep their clutter down.
I know quite a few sales managers who like this for the fact that it is easy to implement and it keeps people focused on the job instead of building a nest.
Personal note – Whilst I have seen this technique used very effectively, for me personally, it would be very demoralising. Anyone who has worked with me will happily tell you that I am very territorial and the last thing I would want to do is relinquish my desk and have someone else sit at it!
If you are going to do this one therefore either set that up as the rule before you establish your team or take a poll of opinion on whether people are willing to do it.
Sales people by their very nature are competitive. A well run sales competition can bring out the best in them. I’ve seen ridiculous amounts of effort from sales people fighting to win a (relatively small prize) when it’s put on the desk in front of them. I say ‘ridiculous amount of effort’ because if you compare the value of the price with the value of the bonus they could win if they applied the same work normally it just wouldn’t balance out – at all!
But they can’t see the bonus during the day and that is one of the key factors of a sales competition. Make the prizes visible – in the flesh if possible, otherwise pictures.
A point system enables you to spread the rewards across different sales activities and you can weight the points to encourage people to do more of certain tasks. Also if you can, put people into teams. Three or four (or more) sales people working together chasing a big prize can really power through their work.
A project is a sales push around a specific market, product or potential customer. It can be a great way to push into new areas although it is also applicable with existing ones.
Simply put it takes the idea of a competition and reshapes it into something more business like and corporate. So ideal for all those people who cringe at the idea of a sales competition. To put a project into place decide your objectives, a timescale, key daily activities and then establish a monitoring and review process.
The review process is key and ideally should involve a daily meeting where progress is discussed and charted against individual and team performance.
You can name them if you want it really isn’t necessary but if you do it can add a certain flavour and level of inspiration to them ~ Project Bebop is currently underway in the Edenchanges offices and it’s working for us! (which is where the picture at the top of this article links in)
So I hope the gives you some ideas of how to spice up your sales world. You can take these ideas and make them as big or as small as you want but if you want to keep your sales people fresh then do remember that variety is the spice of sales!
And if you need any help designing a competition or setting up a project simply give me a call.
Until next time; be successful!
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