When it comes to managing employees, your salespeople are a special breed. Dealing with rejection day in and day out is tough, so it’s important that you are your sales team’s biggest cheerleader. Need help motivating your salespeople? Try these tips:

  1. Money matters. The salary, commission and bonus plan you offer is a key motivational tool—but what combination works best? While a commission-only approach can be motivating, it also tends to decrease teamwork. Straight salary, on the other hand, removes motivation and creates “coasters.” You’ll typically get the best results offering a base salary plus commission. Quarterly or year-end bonuses can be an additional motivator.
  2. Offer extras. Non-cash incentives like prizes, trips or gift cards are good motivators and help foster healthy competition among the sales team. You can keep costs down by bartering with vendors and suppliers to get incentives.
  3. Create “stretch” goals. Goals should be neither too easy to attain nor so hard that salespeople get discouraged. Aim for “stretch goals” that require just enough effort to build new skills.
  4. Be clear. Put the details of how commissions, bonuses and incentives are earned in writing and make sure every salesperson understands what he or she needs to do to attain the rewards. You don’t want disappointment and resentment.
  5. “How’m I doing?” You or your sales manager needs to provide ongoing feedback or salespeople won’t improve. Make sure criticism is combined with suggestions for how to sell better. Sharing positive feedback and praise in public (such as at sales meetings) is a great motivator.
  6. Know your team. Different salespeople are motivated by different factors. Instead of using a “one-size-fits-all” approach, tailor your feedback, rewards and interactions to each individual for best results. For instance, one person might be more motivated by tickets to a sporting event, another by an afternoon of comp time.
  7. Help them grow. Ongoing training such as that offered by sales or industry organizations is a great way to show your salespeople you value them—and motivate them to try the new tactics they learn. You can also have more experienced salespeople on your team mentor novices.