If sales are lagging and your team seems like it needs a double shot of caffeine each morning, interview the person who could change it all: you. Most owners and sales managers have misconceptions when it comes to salespeople. Here are five mistaken beliefs.

  • They're mavericks. While sales pros are independent, they need as much structure as the next guy. Set the big picture in front of them and wrap it with definitive outcomes and clear expectations. Allow them to use personality strengths but hold them accountable to sales goals.
  • They're self-starters; they'll figure it out. Salespeople experience higher highs and lower lows. Rejection and elation are a one-two punch that drains salespeople daily. Motivate and train them like everyone else. Give them sales systems. Hold them accountable and gauge success just as you do with everyone else.
  • It's all about the money. While sales pros love the benefits of money as much as anyone, they respond to recognition more than you'd think. Respect their individuality. Extend regular verbal praise. Award excellence, implement their suggestions, and give them genuine pats on the back.
  • You have to be a born salesperson. It's not in their DNA. Professional sales-people can be trained for sales success. Foster yearning to learn and grow by encouraging continuing professional and personal development. Invest in training, books, videos, audio programs, retreats, and industry certifications.
  • It's a numbers game — the more leads they get, the more sales they should generate. Wrong. The reality is, the more existing client relationships they nurture, the more business they'll generate. More leads don't translate into more sales. Working fewer leads more attentively and efficiently reduces the frustration of poor closing ratios and energizes salespeople.
  • Keeping your sales team motivated and inspired can be challenging. It starts with leadership and organization. —Paul Montelongo, CGR, is a construction industry trainer and consultant. For more strategies to increase sales, visit www.contractorofchoice.com.