Four Ways to Keep Sales Teams Motivated in Uncertain Times

How to build optimism and enthusiasm to drive maximum results.


Keeping sales teams eager, focused and motivated isn’t easy when you are competing with continuous news app alerts and wall-to-wall breaking news coverage. The chaotic landscape of unfolding world events brings on daily uncertainties, rule changes and disruptions that leave team members confused and concerned. And while business can’t always go on "as usual" when disruptions occur, it must still go on, and sales leaders must help their teams navigate these challenges.

Following are four ways to build enthusiasm and optimism so your sales team can fulfill its potential.

Shorten and increase contests

Sales professionals love to compete, but when every day poses challenges, it’s important that wins can be achieved quickly. Create smaller and shorter contests that change 60-, 90- and 120-day or even annual sales goals to daily, weekly or monthly. In some cases, especially during seasonal campaigns, having surprise hourly contests can make a big difference. Revving up your team with ongoing contests and incentives are likely to have more of an impact than multi-month or annual rewards. Yes, the prizes will be less significant when you increase contests, but the excitement and thrill of quicker and more frequent wins can trump the size of the reward.

Pivot when necessary

When the headlines shift, pay attention and be prepared to shift with them through other types of motivational communications. If breaking news alerts start lighting up, making it the wrong time to make cold calls, sales learning shouldn’t stop. Order a pizza and have a relaxed and impromptu sales meeting with the team. Ask them to share lessons learned and favorite anecdotes about making, or even losing, a huge sale.

Redesign and update messaging

You may still be selling the same products and services, but their relevance may have changed dramatically as news events have unfolded. Instead of telling your teams to push harder, this may be the time they need to reframe their sales pitch with context that aligns with today’s world. Take a fresh look at your offerings and the new perceptions that may surround them. Remind your team they should always enter conversations by asking questions versus giving answers. No one will listen to what your product or service can offer until they realize how much they need it. Plan a few reminder training sessions, even for your most experienced pros.

Show gratitude and appreciation

No matter how successful salespeople become, recognizing them through kind and appreciative words will always be meaningful. Even if your budget won’t allow for a cruise as the top prize, the highest performers will appreciate hearing “thanks for a job well done” in shout-outs on social media, during department meetings (whether on-site or video) and in one-on-one sessions.

The world may be unpredictable but your enthusiasm and commitment to your sales team should never be. Going back to basics and reminding your team that there is no elevator to get results will go a long way in motivating them as they navigate rough waters brought on by world events. Lead with a combination of passion and compassion along with a seriousness of purpose and a smile, and your sales team will follow.

Jayson Waller is the founder & CEO of Powerhome Solar, a solar panel and energy firm. He is also a motivational speaker and author, whose latest book, Own Your Power, will be released this month.