Last updateWed, 19 Feb 2020 12am

My staff doesn’t seem motivated!

So you think that your staff doesn’t seem motivated. You don’t see them prospecting, making phone calls, enthusiastically helping customers, and generally aren’t doing much of anything to create sales. They just sit back and wait for customers to come in and then they give them a half-hearted presentation. What can you do?

I will go to the grave believing that, in general, people are good. I don’t believe that anyone ever takes a job wanting to fail. I think that most salespeople want to do a great job, create tons of sales and profits, earn substantial commissions, and be the professional that your customers expect, that you hired them to be. Far too often we hired someone that is motivated to do a great job, they leave the starting gate with a ton of enthusiasm, and then they fall into the sea of mediocrity of an average stereotypical salesperson. On the other hand we have seasoned veterans who were once top producers and they are now cruising along at half speed. In my experience I find that the number one thing that people want out of their jobs is the ability to be and feel successful. The number one complaint that I hear from salespeople is that they don’t feel appreciated, or that there is not enough positive feedback, or praise for a job well done.

To this end I find that there are basically 10 issues that cause salespeople to lose their motivation, or that makes them seem unmotivated to do a great job. All of which are easy to correct by management.

1) The rules, policies, procedures, or standards have not been justified to them. They have been told what to do, but haven’t been given the justification behind it. For example, simply explaining how add-on sales can dramatically increase sales and profits for the store, and that add-on sales can and will substantially increase their personal commissions. In other words too often management tells people “What” to do, but not the “Why” you are having them do it.

2) They have not been given the knowledge and/or skills needed to complete the jobs or tasks given. How often can a salesperson hear a customer say “I’m just looking” or “I’ll be back” without knowing the proper way to handle these two common occurrences before they are going to seem unmotivated? At every seminar that I do I ask how many of you offer a formal sales training program to educate the staff. Rarely is the answer more than 5 – 10% of the group. There is no such thing as a born salesperson. Sales Professionals are educated and trained on their professions.

3) There are factors preventing them from doing their job completely. I refer to these as quality of life issues. Let’s say, for example, you have a salesperson whose son or daughter is going to be “Happy the Snowman” in the school Christmas play on December 21st at 2:00 in the afternoon. That is a busy time and you can’t let him/her see their child in the Christmas Play, they will seem unmotivated. Be compassionate with Quality of Life issues.

4) The salesperson is not rewarded based on his/her productivity. Every company should have some form of productivity based pay and incentives. If you pay commission, over time it simply becomes a form of pay. People will reach their comfort zone and stop being motivated. You need added incentives to keep them going. If you want to make changes in your organization, 3 things have to happen - Policy, Training & Incentives. Make it a policy that this has to be done, train them on how to do it, and then reward them for doing it.

5) The salesperson does not have a goal set that he/she is working to achieve. People need goals. The human being can accomplish some incredible things if they have a goal set and are determined to achieve the goals. Anything that is measurable, thus incentiviable (I made up a word), should have a goal set for salespeople to work to achieve.

6) The sales manager does not provide positive reinforcement. As earlier stated, one of the most frequent comments I receive from salespeople is that they don’t feel appreciated. I believe the formula should be 10/1 positive to negative comments. Look for things that your staff is doing right, praise them for it, and then the negative will be better accepted and more than likely changed.

7) The sales manager resorts to fear, intimidation, and belittling the salesperson. The days of management by fear, intimidation and belittling are long gone. If you want a staff of adults, then treat them like adults. I find that once managers eliminate comments based on opinions, and only focus on facts based on statistics, then the job of coaching and managing becomes easy. Manage based on statistics, coach on the actions that produced the result, not the result itself and you will have a staff of adults.

8) The sales manager does not provide fair discipline and/or praise. Create a fair and equitable environment for everybody. If a top producer is violating a policy, they should be dealt with just as a lower producer would be. The policy is the policy and no one, including management, should be allowed to violate a policy. Equal discipline and equal praise across the board will produce a cohesive team that works and produces together.

9) The sales manager does not give adequate time to the salesperson. I can’t tell you how often I hear salespeople complain about the lack of communication within an organization. When was the last time you spent 15 minutes talking to your salespeople individually? Open the channels of communication. I suggest 3 forms of communication. 1) A weekly sit down one-on-one conversation with each staff member. Talk about goals, productivity, what is being done to create sales, adhering to the non-negotiable standards, review performance, give praise and constructive criticism. 2) Have a weekly staff training meeting. Spend 30-40 minutes every week talking about the 4 areas where people need training - Sales Techniques, Product Knowledge, Operations and Customer Service. 3) Have a morning huddle. Fifteen minutes before the store opens, gather everyone and highlight what is happening that day, review the previous day, recognize top performers, etc. Get everyone focused and ready to do business right before opening.

10) The sales manager does not make the job fun. If your staff doesn’t wake up every morning enthused and excited to go to work at your jewelry store, then you have a problem. Productivity equals morale and morale equals productivity. Create a fun and happy place to work. Games, contests, goals, statistics, recognition, praise, positive reinforcement all make the job fun. If the salespeople are having fun, the customers will have fun, and sales can’t help but increase.

If you have done all the right things to enable your salesperson to be successful and thus “motivated” them to complete the job, yet he/she lacks the “drive” to do the job, they should be replaced.

Create an environment of personal growth and development within your organization, where people want to excel and do a good job. Set the tone and culture for your organization and provide a WOW experience for staff and customers, and the store will excel.

Author, trainer, consultant, and speaker Brad Huisken is President of IAS Training. Huisken has authored several books and training manuals on sales and  produces a Weekly Sales Training Meeting video series along with Aptitude Tests and Proficiency Exams for new hires, current sales staff and sales managers. In addition, he publishes a free weekly newsletter called “Sales Insight” For a free subscription or more information contact IAS Training at 800-248-7703 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Visit his website at www.iastraining.com.