How To Help Sales Reps Who Lack Motivation

BY Kathy Crosett
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Do you have skilled sales reps on your team who aren’t making their numbers? The root of this problem is often a lack of motivation. Kevin Davis, author and president of TopLine Leadership, says the best strategies to improve motivation involve staying positive and communicating that energy to your reps. Here are a couple of his favorite tactics.

Proactive Coaching

Any sales rep can have a bad month. A mature rep with the right attitude will chalk up the poor performance to karma. They’ll acknowledge they fell short of goal. They’ll promise to do better. And, you’ll see them putting their plan into action. 

A rep who needs your coaching will display a different kind of attitude. They’ll blame someone else for their problems — the client, the marketing department, or the IT folks. In trying to shift the blame, they’re failing to own up to their responsibilities. 

When you hear this kind of grumbling, it’s time to be proactive. You don’t want this rep’s attitude to spread to your other team members. Start meeting with the rep. Together, you can identify what went wrong in the previous month. Maybe it was a failure to identify the true decision maker. Or they may not have qualified the account very well. Work with them to identify these shortcomings, and the rep will be motivated to work more efficiently instead of complaining.

Confidence Coaching

Being positive and energetic is driven by having confidence. If one of your reps is always avoiding a certain task, such as negotiating, their career will suffer. So will company sales. At first glance, you may decide that the rep has a bad attitude. But what if they have some history they’re trying not to repeat? They may be carrying around the burden of a previously failed negotiation session. What’s coming across as a poor attitude is instead a crisis of confidence.

As a manager, you can help to fix this problem. Work one on one with your rep to get to the bottom of the issue. Then agree on a strategy of how to fix it. Your rep may be open to peer-​coaching or role playing. Or they may benefit from quick-​coaching tips available from a product like SalesFuel Coach. Once your rep builds confidence, they’ll be ready to tackle the part of sales that they found so intimidating. 

Davis says, “If you have a sales team with a bad attitude, you may also need to consider the possibility that your management style may be part of the problem.” Take a step back and review what's going on before you decide on a plan of action to help your reps.