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Influencers Invited Sales Blog

Questions That Can Help Sales Teams Aim Higher

If you had to put your finger on one or two motivational techniques to get more from your sales team, what would they be?

Was it a change in your sales strategy approach? Did you make positive tweaks to the incentives program and start offering different rewards outside of monetary bonuses? Maybe it was being more aware of the day-to-day tasks that each sales person performed, offering encouraging advice when they stumble and congratulatory remarks when they flourish?

There’s a whole mountain of motivational ploys you can incorporate. But it’s how you incorporate them that matters. Motivation is a psychological positive if done correctly. It’s how we fight off stagnation in our personal and professional lives. Even the most out-going, hard-working salesperson can fall into stagnation with their job after a while. It’s not because they start to resent what they do, it’s more to do with not feeling challenged.

And if you’re the sort of environment that is harboring this stagnation, it could reflect poorly on your entire sales initiative later on down the road. That’s why you need a plan, a strategy that rewards and rallies the entire sales force in all sorts of different ways.

One such sales strategy is simply a series of questions to present an individual or the entire team. Questions of success, failure, what needs to be changed…questions that stir the person to do something about it.

Here’s a few examples of questions to pose your team:

What have you done lately that you’re proud of?

Pretty basic question, no? It’s something that people think they hear on a regular basis, but the opposite’s true. This question holds many layers outside of just a basic response of someone’s success. Sure, they could be talking about how they just sealed a sales call that turned into a yearly payout of around $100k for the business. But the simple gesture of asking what someone did to benefit themselves and the company: it makes that employee feel encouraged and valued. It’s little spurts of reassurance that can keep a salesperson’s mindset looking forward, instead of idly waiting.

What do you dislike about your job?

This may seem like a pressure question, but it’s not. And at first, you may hear crickets or less-than-satisfactory replies from the sales team because they may not want to seem too negative or be challenged for speaking out against the job itself. But the reality is, you need honest opinions about what’s not working. You could have a salesperson who brings in great numbers, but he or she may feel mentally and physically tapped out from an over-the-top flight schedule. Or they aren’t getting enough face-to-face time with clients and want to rack up some more airline miles. Whatever the issues are, the more open communications between the sales team and management, the better.

What talents do you have that we aren’t letting you use?

This question isn’t asking you to show us how you can juggle 5 oranges at once (although that’s a pretty neat talent, anyways). No, this goes more towards putting each and every salesperson in a position to grow even more. If you want to get away from cliches and sales pitches that businesses have heard over and over and want to try a different (but professional) approach, then let your manager know. Turn that hidden potential into engagement. Because a salesperson who feels they’re allowed to combine old approaches with new ones to help get a sale will gain more satisfaction from their performance and their work in general.

Have we set you up for success?

This question is all about processes: continued training, software and essential tools, incentives, project management, communication and so forth. What has the company done well to help your sales goals be reached? What has it done poorly? As is the case with the last couple of questions, the question seems like it should be answered carefully, but it’s about being truthful. If management spends significant money on training and they are forgetting to continue that process to reflect changes in the technology or methodologies of sales, now’s the time to speak up. There are dozens upon dozens of ways to blend tech and sales training courses for your team, to help get them up to speed, work more efficiently and close more sales. It’s just a matter of receiving adequate feedback from your team about which process to work better on.

What is your competitor doing right?

I promise, this question isn’t meant to be hostile of a salesperson’s performance. But there are always going to be competitors in any space. Sales are just as competitive and just as intense an experience. It’s not an underhanded question more than it is way to catch your attention, a way to inspire you to think that your competition is always trying to figure a better way to grab someone’s business from you.

And don’t go for the easy way out with this one. Don’t respond by saying there’s no such thing, or how we have the upper hand because of “blah, blah, blah”. Really think about it. It’s what this question should incite in the first place. Just by pondering and dissecting your sales habits even further can be a way to keep yourself prepared and yearn for more ways to topple the competitive mountain.

Final Thoughts

People try so many ways to motivate themselves or others, regardless of whether it occurs on a professional or personal level. For as much as someone loves their job, some level of stagnation or monotony can creep through. For sales teams, it could be something as simple as loathing a process or feeling disconnected from your department and fellow coworkers. It’s why a different approach to reignite that fire is sometimes necessary. By putting a new approach to how you critique performance, you give employees more levels with their answers, and as a result, you open up more solutions and build team morale along the way.

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