You have sales goals to reach. You need your salespeople to reach their goals to get you there. But if you’re like most sales leaders, 40-70% of your people will fall short of their quota. You have to get the sales reps to change their behaviors. You must get them in line to produce results, says Mike Donnelly, president of Hinda Incentives.
But, there’s a simple and universal fact working against you. It is impossible to force another person to do anything. You can encourage them to do things. You can compensate them for specific activities. You can threaten their job if they don’t do what you want. But in the end, people must choose to do what you are asking.
The challenge becomes how to create conditions that align their choice with your desired behavior. I like to think most people want both their company and themselves personally to succeed. They want to do the right things, but need your help. Our experience with sales incentive programs demonstrates answering these five questions in a way that satisfies salespeople will not only align their goals to yours, but dramatically increase your sales results.
1. What is it you want me to do?
Clearly communicate the behaviors that will lead to success. Make sure your people understand what is expected. How many prospects will they need to approach? How many qualified opportunities do they need to uncover? How many proposals will be needed to reach the goal? Give them a vision of success with a roadmap showing how to get there.
2. Why is it important?
This helps people understand the big picture and demonstrates how vital their role is to succeed. But it’s also the most common question people forget to answer.
3. How do I do it?
If they don’t have the right knowledge and skills, they can never do what you’re asking. Make sure to provide the training they need to achieve your goals.
4. How do I know when I’ve done it?
Keeping score shows people how they’re doing. Make sure you are measuring the right activities and providing regular feedback and progress reporting to keep them engaged and moving forward.
5. What’s in it for me?
Tell them why it is important for them individually to do what you’re asking. Showing them how it will pay off, whether it’s in more compensation, opportunities for advancement, more security or winning the big prize, creates a personal stake in the outcome.
We have seen how answering these five questions dramatically improves results in sales programs. But remember to answer the questions from their viewpoint. If you’ve set goals that will be seen as insurmountable or provide a payout that isn’t proportional to the work required, they will simply tune you out.
Try starting small. Answer these questions for your next month-long sales push and see how your results compare to other programs you’ve done. If our experience is any judge, it will pay off big for you.