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Motivating your sales team

February 6, 2013
By Jeff Mowatt


Feb. 6, 2013 – As a manager or sales professional interested in boosting revenues,
you've no doubt heard the expression, "selling is a numbers game." This makes sense in theory, but in the real world, Jeff Mowatt says this
belief often reduces revenues.

Feb. 6, 2013 – As a manager or sales professional interested in boosting revenues,
you've no doubt heard the expression, "selling is a numbers game." The
idea is that the more potential customers you contact, the more likely
you are to make sales. This makes sense in theory, but in the real world, this
belief often reduces revenues.

The problem with quotas
For decades, well-meaning sales managers have established sales
quotas that don't just measure a sales representative's monthly sales;
they also include measuring and rewarding the number of sales calls the
rep makes. But frankly, its irrelevant how many calls your
people make – what really matters is how many sales they make. The
problem with setting up prospecting quotas is that they encourage
sales people to rush through sales conversations. It happened to me as a
customer when I was interviewing sales reps from two moving companies.

My wife, Lydia and I had concluded that my 40-year-old lifelong
pals could no longer be bribed to spend a weekend helping us to move
residences. At this stage in life, they know that we can afford to hire
movers. And we know that they can afford their own beer and pizza. In
fact, we're pretty sure that if we promise to hire movers, my buddies
would even buy us the beer and pizza! So when we were scheduling our
move, I set up appointments with two moving company sales reps for
The representative from the first company seemed willing to take
his time. He was interested in hearing about the home we were moving
into and the special requests we had for handling certain pieces of
furniture. He walked us through his presentation binder and shared tips
that we could do to make move go more smoothly. The impression I got
was that he genuinely wanted to help.
On the other hand, the sales rep from the second company seemed
rushed. He dashed through the house checking items off on his
clipboard, answering my questions in clipped tones. He also went though
his presentation binder – which coincidentally, looked almost exactly
the same as that of the first rep. And he provided packing tips. I
felt like as far as he was concerned though, I was basically an
Both sales reps had spent more than 20 years in the industry, so
experience was not the issue. The services offered were more or less
the same. When it came to price, the second rep's – who was in such a
hurry – was actually lower. Yet, as you might have guessed, the first
rep got the business – because he took his time. In other words, he got
better results by going slower.


Keep in mind that shopping for a moving company is not something
most people relish. For most of us, even if we love the new home we're
moving into, the thought of the actual move itself is about as welcome
as undergoing amateur eyeball surgery. It's a chore that we want to get
over with as quickly and painlessly as possible. Ironically though,
when it comes to the face-to-face time spent between the customer and
the company employee, speeding up the process is not necessarily going
to be perceived as providing better service.

What's bizarre is that often times, it's not that the sales
representative wants to rush. Rather, it's that the company's quota
system – requiring sales reps to make x number of calls per week or month –
encourages and rewards this kind of hurried behaviour.

The training solution
A sales conversation with a potential customer is like romance . . . 
the recipient doesn't necessarily think the best thing about it was that
it was quick! As was the case of the moving company reps, there are
advantages to literally slowing down. When real money is involved, the
buyer needs to process the information, and more importantly, believe
that the seller thoroughly understands the customer's needs. Enrich the quality – not necessarily the quantity – of sales conversations. The quality approach results in sales reps
recommending products and services best suited to customer needs.
Customers are therefore happier with their buying decisions. They in
turn refer other potential customers. In other words, new customers
end up looking for you rather than the reverse. When that happens
price becomes less critical in the ultimate buying decision.

Customer service strategist and professional speaker Jeff Mowatt is an authority on The Art of Client Service .  .  .  Influence with Ease. For more tips, visit

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