What is the best way to motivate a sales team without them relying on commission as the reason to unleash the best in them???

Sales is one of these professional careers that people enjoy mainly because you don’t get paid in a fix payroll but on a commission basis. However, there are still companies out there that make compromises on giving sales people the alternative of either to be on a payroll or to be on a commission. The benefit of being in commission is that there is no ceiling as of what you can make. In other words, when you are paid on commission you understand that your paycheck depends on you. The harder and smarter you work and close deals, the higher is your paycheck. With that said, if money can be what motivates the sales people that work on a commission basis, what then would motivate a sales team that do not rely on commission?


The solution on this issue starts with the recruitment. I’ve been working in sales force building the last seven years of my professional career and the one irrefutable law I noticed is that people work performance os linked to toughness they have been hired in the company. Sometimes, the hiring team is the one that spoil the newly hired ones. No matter how perfect the candidate might be for the position, the recruitment process shouldn’t be as easy as entering a party room. As you hire people you need to profile and recruit people who have the right motivation and cope with the business model. The other point here especially in the case of salespeople is to understand sales is a human job and therefore the salespeople you work with as you recruit them need to be bound to you. There should be a kind of recruitment creed stating points of agreements between the Sales Manager and the team. Point such as: I will always level with you, I will never ask you to do anything I will not be able or willing to do, I will be frank and transparent to you, I will hold myself reliable and accountable. When the sales person is hired and agreed on this recruitment creed, that will already limit the possibility of him letting you down or not giving his best. The last thing when you build your sales team is to make sure you make them understand the company’s vision and mission. This is more about leadership. People cannot follow you where you don’t go, such you can’t expect from people what you fail at doing yourself. So as you hire new sales team member, make sure you sell the value behind the task to be done, the mission and vision of the company and make the buy it. Don’t foul yourself, money will rarely be what will motivate them so don;t waste time talking about money thinking that because you put them on a payroll of two thousand dollars a week then they will perform equally.


People love to be challenged. Challenging someone basically means to push him to reach his personal top potential. It’s to take the person from where the person is to where the person can ultimately be. When you challenge the sales person, what you want to avoid is to become a skeptics. Always make sure you are perceived as a motivator, a leader, someone he would love to make proud, someone he doesn’t to let down. Now understand for this particular case that the sales person might not care to win the challenge or not since he is not paid on commission. So you have to sell him the challenge and attach some emotional feelings to it. In a personal conference with the sales team make each of them think of the WHY the would love to win the challenge. Again, business is human and humans are led and influenced by their emotions. At the end of the day, it’s emotions and the answers to the “WHY” that motivate and create a burning desire for people to unleash their power within.


The American Society for Training and Development has a great book called, “Training Ain’t Performance.” In it, the authors cite numerous studies that show job failure is very frequently attributed to two things: lack of clear goals, and lack of consistent feedback on whether the employee is hitting those. Because his paycheck is not linked to the businesses he brings in, the salesperson might feel like being in a comfort zone of not having to work too hard. So what you want to do here is after they accepted the challenge, you want to work with them on setting goal and be committed to reach them. As you have them set goals and have those goals written down, you definitely have to do what you promised on the recruitment creed which is to level with them. To level with a salesperson basically means to give feedbacks, commendations, and recommendations. When you do so, the sales team understand that you care and that will flatter their self-esteem.


Once again,I guess we can agree that sales people are humans and like any other human they look for a way to thrive mentally, socially and financially. The reason we gave sales people commission is because the goal, feedback reward system is so easy to define. Yet, on that case, the already have the financial part covered. So what the Sales Managers need to do is to develop some kind of public recognitions and appreciations for any kind of achievements from the sales team. We know today that money is not the first thing that drives or motivates people. Actually money comes between the 5th to 7th position, the first position being the recognition and appreciation. Recognition can be any kind of reward system such as bonuses, gist cards, tickets to special events, VIP diner with CEO, Be the Man of the Month…

It’s true, unlike other professions, when sales people are not paid on commission, specific strategies need to be put in place to enthuse them and make sure the always go the extra-mile. Yet, the executives and managers are the ones responsible to put the proper system in place right at the very beginning of the recruitment.

Author's Bio: 

Max-Marc Fossouo is a Relationship Strategist, Founder of Act2be.com He believes that relationship is at the heart of any success and so is action. Driven by passion, Max is convinced that relationship matters and here is his view of relationship: "In relationship, do not ask what someone can do for you, but what you can do for the person. It is not how you can be served, but how you can serve. Not what you can benefit, but what they can benefit from you. To be there for others is not just relationship, it's also leadership."
Max conducts Motivational speaking, seminars, and shows about Relation and Success.
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