Need to attract, hire, and keep great salespeople? We’ve written about motivational strategies before, but the truth is that motivational strategies can often be much too complex to be described in a single article. Motivation is a skill developed over a lifetime of study and experience. Here are 5 books you and your employees should read:
1. Marketing Strategy by O. C. Ferrell and Michael D. Hartline.
There’s no better way to start learning a skill than to dive right in. Marketing Strategy is a big sprawling textbook that will help you develop an overall motivational strategy. Among the parts of this book that will be most helpful:
- Chapter 2: Strategic Marketing Planning. This chapter will help you develop goals to motivate your sales team.
- Chapter 8: Ethics and Social Responsibility. This chapter describes how to give your employees something to feel good about in your company.
- Chapter 10: Developing and Maintaining Long-term Customer Relationships. This chapter describes
2. The Ultimate Sales Training Workshop: A Hands-on Guide for Managers by Gerhard Gschwandther.
- Workshop # 5: Rapport. This is one of the best training programs ever created on how to train your salespeople on developing rapport. It’s hard to teach better social skills, but with this book, it’s not impossible.
- Workshop #14 and #15: Psychology and Emotional Intelligence. These are fantastic training programs to help you develop the soft skills of your sales force.
3. 151 Quick Ideas to Motivate your Sales Force by Frank Horvath and Julie Vincent.
This is a good book if you already have a strong and cohesive overall marketing strategy, but just want to tweak a few details to make it a little better. All of these ideas are solid, but you should pay particular attention to the following sections:
- Idea 23: Establish “buy-ins” to sales goals: this is a good way to get your team invested in your strategy.
- Idea 41: Don’t tolerate the strip club mentality: this section is all about keeping toxic ideas from developing in your corporate culture.
- Idea 106: Help find the decision-makers: this section makes sure that no profitable deed goes unrewarded.
4. The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation by Matthew Dixon.
This book describes different sales approaches and convincingly argues that the best salespeople are those who “challenge” their customers to achieve greater goals. Challengers are excited about not only their own industry and targets, but also their customer’s industry and targets. By learning to become emotionally invested in customer goals, employees gain a new source of motivation.
5. To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth about Moving Others by Daniel Pink.
This is a great book to show your employees the value that salesmanship holds in society. The gist of this book is that very little ever gets done, bought, or learned, without someone selling it. Furthermore, the act of selling defines human experiences by shaping what aspects of products we focus on. This is a great book for salespeople who feel alienated from their industries or products, as it shows how they are psychologically helping to create those products.