Motivating Your Team to Success

April 22nd, 2015, No Comments, be the first ».

Similar to a coach who has to give a speech to the team that is down 20 points, what is the best way to ensure your sales reps pick up their game after a lackluster quarter?

Here are seven tools that will help put your sales reps in a position to succeed:

  1. Communicate the importance of the target to the team. While the reasons for hitting sales targets may be obvious to every senior manager in the company, sales reps may be too focused on their own day-to-day activities to see the forest through the trees. Even if the team has heard the message 50 times, it literally pays to keep reinforcing the message.
  2. Distinguish an excuse from a real issue. When a salesperson is struggling, he may make excuses. But there could be a real issue standing in his way. It is important for senior leaders to listen to employee concerns and do their part to fix any macro problems that could be hampering their staff. If the determination is that no major roadblock exists and the sales rep is still struggling, it may be time to have an honest chat about the company’s expectations and see if there needs to be a change.
  3. Monitor activity volumes. While some people possess an “it” factor, in most cases, sales success is simply a numbers game: Make 50 calls to line up 10 meetings and make five sales. If a sales rep is struggling, find out if the number of calls, meetings and proposals he is making are in line with typical ratios required to hit targets. If not, this is probably why he is struggling and it is time to remind him to pick up the pace.
  4. Track the deal slide. Take a look at what percentage of forecast deals are sliding into the next quarter. Often times, a rep will put a deal on the backburner because he believes there are other low-hanging fruits out there. Since time often kills deals, it is up to the manager to figure out why deals keep slipping and offer clear guidance and support to help the rep close before the quarter is up.
  5. Focus on the target and ask tough questions. Effective sales managers ask their reps tough questions to determine if they are on track to hit their quotas. By consistently qualifying and validating a rep’s pipeline size, in addition to emphasizing the right selling tasks and behaviors that will enable him to achieve his target, the sales rep will be able to keep his eye on the prize.
  6. Don’t let anyone quit. It is somewhat common for people to quit if they feel there is no way they will make their numbers this quarter. Sales leaders should watch for defeatist attitudes and focus on motivating those reps to keep pushing to close deals. Remind them that there is still plenty of time, that they are only one big deal away and that they should continue to prospect and good things will happen. If the sales reps consistently quits, it is time for a change.
  7. Find ways to have fun: There is an old sales saying to “smile through the phone.” Whether selling in person, on the phone, or via Twitter, remember to always encourage your team to have fun. Use friendly competitions and organize team-building events since clients and prospects will be drawn to the positive energy, which usually leads to more sales.

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By Eliot Burdett

Co-Founder and CEO of Peak Sales Recruiting

Understanding Retirees’ Money Mindset

April 15th, 2015, Comments Off.

Here is some information that may help you understand the money mindset of retirees—something that will come in handy during Retirement Planning Week, which is currently under way. New LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute research finds that pre-retirees and retirees fall into three categories based on their emotional attitude toward savings.

The Institute asked 2,000 pre-retirees and retirees (ages 50 -75 with at least $100,000 in household assets) what income product features they deemed the most important. Using cluster analysis based on their responses, the Institute was able to identify three distinct money mindsets:

  • Guarantee Seekers. Want to know that their income won’t disappear. Have a floor of lifetime guaranteed income and would be interested in converting even more of their savings to a pension-like contractual guarantee. Want to spend money without the day-to-day worry of how long it has to last. Want the peace of mind of a certain outcome.
  • Estate Planners. Financially savvy. Understand that equity markets generally outperform risk-free fixed investments. Can withstand a little volatility to maximize the potential of investments. Trust their own investment decisions. Want to maintain personal control over investment decisions and to retain the flexibility to adjust income and spending as needs change over time.
  • Asset Protectors. Have been saving money for a long time. Do not want to see savings account balances go down. Will live off the interest and dividends of savings, but uncomfortable invading the principal. Don’t want to be poorer.

The study found that people in each of these categories can look very similar on paper. They often share the same demographic profile, wealth level and lifestyle ambitions. But because their attitudes toward money are so different, the Institute found a distinct divergence in the income solutions they prefer:

“Guarantee Seekers” will want certainty and peace of mind and are not seeking maximum income potential, but rather a stable and predictable monthly income. This segment has the highest rate of ownership for deferred and immediate annuities (46 percent collectively) and are the least likely to own individual stocks, mutual funds, and corporate/municipal bonds.

“Estate Planners” will not be interested in converting savings to a guaranteed income stream. Investment growth and control are important to this segment. They have the highest ownership rate of individual stocks (69 percent), mutual funds (75 percent) and ETFs (19 percent).

“Asset Protectors” are reluctant to take risk and want guaranteed fixed rates of return without putting their principal at risk. This segment worries about running out of money in retirement and wants to hedge against unexpected future expense. Asset Protectors have the highest rate of ownership of CDs (44 percent) and are almost the most likely to own other conservative assets like annuities (31 percent), government bonds/Treasury notes (30 percent).

“The most effective retirement income strategy is actually a subjective assessment as much as it is an objective one,” said Judith Zaiken, corporate vice president and director, LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute research. “A subjective assessment, combined with a thorough look at the numbers, can help an advisor develop a more effective retirement-income strategy.”
What’s your Money Mindset? Take the Quiz here.