Be Careful What You Call Your Employees

Be Careful What You Call Your Employees
Table of Contents

Table of Contents

How to Fire Up and Incentivize Sales Employees Sincerely and Respectfully by Sharing Insights into Your Business and Their Role within it.

Maybe it’s just me, but it’s difficult not to cringe a little when I’m in a major store that should know better than calls its employees “associates,” or “team members” or some name that promises more than work-for-wages but doesn’t deliver on it. You know who you are. You have to wonder who they’re doing it for.  

How to call your employees?

Reality. You own a company that employs people. An indisputably key subgroup within that group of people in your sales employees. They are the employees who are absolutely responsible for revenue and, ideally, profit.

Whether you’re a company owner or manager of a law firm, factory, or tech giant, you not only have a responsibility to train sales employees properly, you have to support a strategy that nails it for everyone: a professional relationship where the roles are clear but everyone is comfortable with the reward.

Back to the issue of what to call your employees. Now, this is important, so pay attention. Here’s your answer: It doesn’t matter.

Talk is cheap, and corporate culture is rife with jokes, and tragedies, about titles and promotions given in lieu of actual money. Calling your employees “associates” with nothing else is just that, funny and/or sad, whether you’re a mega-mart or a Mom and Pop.

How to call your employees

I’m writing about this today because as misguided as labeling employees as such is, it’s mean to achieve something that is important and necessary: incentive. And the incentive is important, make no mistake. But it’s only part of the picture.

What is also needed when labeling employees?

Here’s the rest of it:

1) Understand the Math. How it affects you and the business, and how they look at it. I doubt there is anyone reading this who doesn’t think they are underpaid, and that’s my point. Share some information about the company that will give them greater perspective, but also look at the fairness of what you’re offering them. We are not talking about sharing financials or treasonously piercing the corporate veil, we’re talking about sharing intelligence for a mutual mission. I’m not doing it justice here, but it’s all a part of an algorithm.

2) Train Them! This is not to make sure you use a firm handshake and beat the prospect to death with a CRM email attack stuff. This is pure and to the core: Product and Service Knowledge. The more they know, the more they will project sincere, impassioned respect for what they’re selling. They will be better attuned to red flags with competitor products, trends, prices, and what they’re dealing with  — and more viscerally than if their relationship with what they’re selling is just platonic.

3) Incentivize and Devise. These are two powerful components, but they thrive so well together in their natural habitat, successful sales environments, that I’ll present them together.

Incentivizing is critical, so use the bigger picture you’ve been painting to come up with effective approaches. You’ve shared some insight into the company, and they know the products or services better than they ever have. They’re feeling more engaged with the company, so now…Devise.

Putting thought into a new sales strategy will not only further connect you with your sales employees, but it could also make them feel that they’re in on the ground floor and more of a part of it. With an eye to their income, and the company’s, devise cross-selling and upsetting techniques. Selling suits? When closing in on a sale, present to the customer that another pair of compatible pants will not only expand the look of their wardrobe, they will extend the life of all three pieces. Be creative, and realistic, and emphasize this: WHEN you present an upsell opportunity is at least as important as what you’re saying during it.

4) Execution. Your sales force (I allow myself to say that because now they are.) has been given greater insight into the company, knows the product better, and is more enthusiastically incentivized because there is a realistic and workable upsell plan.

There are variations on this theme, of course, but they don’t stray very far from it. Try it. And if you would like me to show you how, I can.

Frank Bastone can be reached at 718 662 8581, or schedule time for a chat here