When you must restore morale in a struggling sales force, where do you begin? Sales numbers are bad enough, but that’s not real problem. Poor sales performance sends moral into a downward spiral, in turn creating a plateau.
First and foremost you, begin with you! A sales team that finds itself struggling does not wake up one day to find the bottom falling out. This downturn in sales and subsequently moral happens over time.
Why didn’t you see the first signs of the let down in self esteem? The first signs include excuses for deferring uncomfortable activities such as prospecting for new business, or dealing head on with common objections in your world begins to surface. This drop in self esteem in turn lowers the level of expectation for success, which in turn lowers performance levels. This downward spiral all results in lower levels of productivity.
The first step is that you, the president or business owner, must come to the realization that change (sales behavior, routines, and mindsets) must occur. It is only until you determine that status quo is more financially devastating than change itself will change take place. The problem is that change in and of itself is uncomfortable and uncertain. What is certain is that without change you will remain stuck on a plateau.
Upon accepting the fact that change must occur, you then must have the ability to gain acknowledgement from others that change must take place before a change in results can be realized. Human beings unfortunately typically do not change while under stress or when in extreme circumstances. Instead, they resort to extreme behavior, meaning that they simply resort to doing more of, what isn’t working. This begins the downward cycle.
It is your job as a leader to be the catalyst for change within your own company. If you agree that human beings, while under extreme circumstances or extreme conditions, resort to extreme behavior, doing more of what used to work, then you must step in to break this cycle. Simply telling your sales team to do more or to work harder only accelerates this downward spiral. The reason is that we have not first changed their minds, in order to change their routines to obtain an increase in effectiveness. If we do not change their routines and method of selling they will simply experience more negativity and rejection faster leading to further depletion of self esteem.
Keep one thing in mind: people do what they do because they believe that it is the right thing to do, however it is not always the most effective thing to do!
Until sales people come to the realization that certain components of their sales routine are positive and productive, and others are not, will they realize change is necessary. We all have strengths and weaknesses. When we identify the actual root cause of sales failure (not the symptom, but the cause) and begin to support these weaknesses, the failures we experience in sales lessen beginning the process of increasing self esteem and moral.