By Barb Bruno  |    Tuesday August 23, 2022

Category: Columns, Expert Advice


It is not the leader who works the hardest or the longest that is the most successful.  It is the leader who develops consistent habits to build a team of high achievers who is most successful. It’s critical to your success to learn to effectively build a sales team who will generate profits for your company.

People do things for their own reasons, not yours.  It is impossible to motivate an individual who does not want to be motivated.  If team members hit their goals, what will that provide for the people they love and for themselves?  If you want someone to set and attain higher goals and achieve greater success, it must impact them personally.  If attaining goals means they can buy their dream house, a new car, or financing their children’s education, it become the means to that end.

Most sales teams are motivated by instant gratification.  They can earn thousands of dollars from their production, but if you offer to pay for lunch or give them the afternoon off, it’s amazing the extra effort that will be put forth.  

You may want to achieve a record year for your company with increased revenues of 30%. However, you can’t assume your entire team is going to pay the price to increase their results by 30%.  Review the goals of your current team members.  You may have employees who are 100% satisfied with their current production and income.  To achieve your goals, you now know you must add additional members to your team. 

If you have individuals on your sales team who are working to only pay bills, have them identify something small they will do for themselves when they hit their goal.  Self-gratification is a great motivator.  The following are nine additional ways to create a motivating environment:

  1. Have automated systems, processes, or campaigns in place that touch your current clients and prospects on a monthly or bimonthly basis.  You might want to learn how to set up autoresponders to your database.
  2. Reward effort especially if you’ve implemented a new process or change.  When you reward the employee who embraces the process or change, it motivates others.
  3. Create contests that can be won by everyone in the office, not just your top salesperson.  Consider the tenure, skill set, and abilities of each team member.
  4. Make kick-off meetings fun and interactive.  Have different members of your sales team run the kick-off meetings to enhance participation.
  5. Offer sales, negotiating, and closing training on a consistent basis.
  6. Individualize contests whenever possible, to ensure the same person doesn’t always win.
  7. Only request reports that you plan to read and provide feedback.  Salespeople are often not detailed oriented.  Unnecessary paperwork and reports could have a negative impact on sales.
  8. Provide group rewards when goals are achieved to help motivate all team members.
  9. Bonus your sales support team so they see the value in achieving more.


If you want your team to take their goals seriously, tie in a consequence if they do not hit their goals.  What does it cost them?  What do they give up?  Announce the goals and consequences at the beginning of each month and trust me; your sales team will hold each other accountable.

When my training company does not hit a goal, I will give up eating Chinese food.  It may sound simple, buy my sales team would order in Chinese food at least twice each week, the entire following month.  Believe me, we never had two consecutive months where goals were not achieved.  The consequence should be something that the person enjoys which will motivate them to achieve future goals set.

Also, create an environment in your business where failure is not fatal. You don’t judge a person’s level of success by the number of their successes, but rather on the failures they overcome.  Successful people fail more because they try more.  When you hire over-achievers, they will want to try more, be more creative, and will make mistakes.  If your employees are empowered to make decisions and mistakes, you will benefit by increased profits for your company.  

It’s important to know each of your employee’s needs. For the first time in history, we are now employing four different generations in one office. Motivational factors are very different for your employees who are Millennials or Gen Z versus a Baby Boomer.  To create a motivating environment, identify their needs along with their business, personal, and educational goals.

Recognize and applaud achievements and efforts.  There is tremendous competition for all products and services.  Sales professionals are under pressure to achieve their goals.  However, if your top producers or super stars win all the contests and bonuses that will demotivate the other members of your sales team.

Recognize and applaud outstanding efforts and small wins.  It could be something as simple as a great prospecting call, obtaining the first order from a new client or mentoring a newer member of your sales team.   You might consider having gift cards in your desk that you could present to individuals who are putting forth great efforts.  

I often purchase gift cards or certificates that can be enjoyed by my salesperson’s entire family. Examples could include:  4 tickets to a local theatre, miniature golf, or a gift certificate to a local restaurant.  Often your salespeople make calls after hours or travel for business, which takes time away from their family.  Providing rewards that their family can enjoy is a great way to motivate your employees, by also rewarding their family members.  

Most companies hire Type A, assertive, ambitions over-achievers to join their sales team. It’s no wonder there can be storms when these individuals are competing on a regular basis and often are dependent on each other to assist in their success. When storms occur and issues are on the table, it is important that you solve them in a consistent manner. It’s easy to want to side with a tenured over-achiever, but you must review both sides of the issue before making your decisions.


Implement ideas shared and you will motivate your sales team!


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