Summer brings longer days filled with cookouts, beach vacations, and plenty of outdoor fun, but it also tends to bring sales slumps in many industries. Customers hesitate to buy and put off making decisions during summer months, leading to low sales figures. After hearing “no” hundreds of times—or never hearing back at all—sales teams quickly lose motivation to keep selling during this period. Try out these effective ways to keep your sales team motivated during the unavoidable summer sales slump.
Analyze Individual Motivations
Each team member has a unique drive that makes them a good salesperson. When deciding how to motivate, you need to decide whether the person is intrinsically or extrinsically motivated.
Intrinsically motivated people are driven by an internal desire to succeed. These salespeople want to learn and grow by mastering their skills to reach personally set goals. They have an inner drive that reveals a deeply competitive nature.
Salespeople that possess extrinsic motivation look for money, public recognition, and other tangible rewards. Although typically positive, some extrinsically motivated salespeople actually work to avoid negative consequences. These people are motivated by potential punishment and work hard simply to stay out of trouble.
By figuring out whether members of your sales team are motivated extrinsically, intrinsically, or a combination of both, you can decide which of the following motivational tactics will work best.
Provide Access to Additional Knowledge and Tools
Intrinsically motivated people thirst for more knowledge. These sales team players want to know everything they can about their craft, and if given the opportunity, they will jump at the chance for additional training. Whether this training involves international conferences, night classes, or just local speaker events in your industry, intrinsically motivated salespeople will want to participate because these opportunities increase their skill set.
Ask if the team has everything they need to succeed. Some salespeople feel that the company provides only the bare minimum when it comes to tools of the trade. These tools include sales tracking systems and sales training software. Although these tools can be a big investment for the company, they provide reinforcement training and motivate the sales team to try different techniques. Purchase or subscribe to these extra tools and improve their selling abilities during the summer slump.
Give Credit Where Credit Is Due
When your sales team succeeds, make sure you recognize all individuals that contributed. Sales employees that work hard only to have the credit for their work go to someone else quickly become frustrated and disillusioned. Acknowledge even the smallest contributions to set a pattern of positive reinforcement. Once sales team members understand that hard work gets rewarded with praise, they strive to bring in the best results. During a summer sales slump, this can be the difference between an apathetic group and a highly motivated sales team.
Create a “Fantasy” Sales Team
A great way to offer additional compensation on top of regular commissions and bonuses is to hold a sales contest involving all sales team members. Running a fantasy sales contest fosters friendly competition among members of a sales team while also boosting sales.
To start a fantasy sales competition in your office, provide clear, reachable goals and outline all the rules ahead of time. The last thing you want is to create tension with misunderstandings in the game. Pick a timeframe and set the rules, then make sure to stay true to these. Once you have outlined the rules, design a real-time leaderboard to put up on the wall. This creates transparency and lets every sales team member know where they stand in the competition at all times.
A fantasy sales game creates healthy competition within the office while teaching the team to rely on each other and build strong trust within the group. This contest provides clear motivation and allows employees to enjoy every step of the selling process.
Provide Public Recognition
Thanking employees in front of their peers inspires them to succeed. People like hearing that they are doing well, and acknowledging this in front of their peers makes them feel accomplished and proud. This can be an informal process that uses a group email to convey praise, or it can be an official ceremony with plaques and trophies. Both intrinsic and extrinsic sales employees appreciate public recognition. Scaling the recognition to the level of success encourages salespeople to work toward higher goals and motivates team members during the slow summer months.
Reward Even the Rejections
This may seem like an unexpected way to motivate, but sales team members hear a lot of “no’s” on a daily basis. Intrinsically motivated employees need to be encouraged for their hard work, even if it does not always pay off. Try tracking how many “no’s” each person gets in a week or month, and then let them know that you have noticed their hard work, even when it hasn’t resulted in a sale. If your sales group is more extrinsically motivated, award salespeople with a gift card or other small gift.
Avoid any sarcasm in this process, as the salesperson will lose motivation if they feel their efforts are being mocked. Sales are a numbers game, and the salespeople that get used to hearing a hundred “no’s” for one “yes” will stay motivated if their hard work is recognized. This is essential during summer months, when sales calls go unanswered, and the team faces constant rejection.
Celebrate Wins with a Team Field Trip
Sometimes, a win should be marked by a trip for the entire team. Celebrating together lets salespeople bond and share a unifying experience. Whether salespeople are intrinsically or extrinsically motivated, every employee enjoys a little time out of the office.
Take an afternoon off and go mini-golfing with the sales team or treat them to a lunch out at a nice restaurant. Anything that allows the team to celebrate together and enjoy the win as a group will motivate them and foster a stronger team bond to get them through the tough summer months.
Implement Tiered Commission Rates
Salespeople that bring in the most sales should be the most rewarded. Offer tiered commission rates that increase at the highest levels, motivating your sales team to keep selling no matter how much past success they’ve enjoyed. Sales teams feel the most motivated when they strive to reach the next level.
An effective company requires dedicated, motivated salespeople to achieve success. But salespeople won’t excel if they aren’t properly motivated, especially during the challenging summer months. Pay attention to the needs of the sales team, including their career aspirations and what motivates each person. By catering to those with intrinsic and extrinsic motivations, you help every salesperson feel appreciated. Use public recognition, awards, team field trips, and tiered commissions to motivate your sales team further and power through the dog days of summer.