Is Your Sales Team Lazy?

How do we get our teams to crank up their sales? How do we increase their close ratios? How can everybody make more money? In this episode of the Dropout Multi Millionaire Podcast, Brian Will discusses sales management, and unveils what truly motivates a sales team. He’ll explain methods that sales managers can use to push their teams to exceed their limits. Learn the importance of goal setting and consistent management practices, all aimed at making a sales team the best it can be.


We are back with the Dropout Multi-Millionaire podcast. I'm your host, Brian Will. And as always, this podcast is based on my wall street journal and USA today, bestselling books, the dropout multimillionaire, and no, the psychology of sales and negotiation. And by the way, stay tuned at the end of the episode, I'm going to give you a coupon code for a free copy of my intro masterclass.

In the psychology of sales based on my second book, it's a one hour summary course. It's four modules. I'm giving it away to you for free today, just for listening. So stay tuned. So today we're going to talk about sales management, how we effectively manage a team of salespeople. We're kind of switching it up from sales to sales management.

How do we get our teams to crank up their sales? How do we increase their close ratios? So everybody makes more money, them and the company. And I want to start this discussion today with what we call a few guiding principles of sales management, things that you need to base your decision making around.

And so one of my favorite questions I ask people is what motivates salespeople? And most people will tell you, Oh, it's money. Yeah, money is a motivator, but that's not the only thing that people say. Well, it's rewards and incentives. Well, yes, again, that's one thing, but it's not the only thing. And in fact, both of those may not be the primary driver of what motivates salespeople.

I like to call it and people, I actually got banned on Facebook for this for a day. I don't know why, but I said, salespeople are lazy and Facebook banned me craziest thing, but there is a laziness factor. in sales. And that factor really isn't as much lazy as it is based on an individual salesperson's self worth, their self image, and what we call the basic needs factor.

Okay? Yes, salespeople are motivated by money. But they are also limited by their own personal self belief. And this is where most sales managers miss out on coaching. They think it's all about the money. And then they get frustrated, they're like, I don't understand why this person slacked off the last week of the month.

Well, let me ask you something. In your organization, have you ever actually seen that? You ever seen a salesperson, they're crushing it for two to three weeks and then they hit their goal And then all of a sudden, they back off. They take some vacation time, they slack off, they come in late, they're not really pushing it anymore.

Why do they do that? So, we like to say there are a couple of reasons. One could be their own self image is limiting them from actually going out and over producing what their basic needs is. I call this a laziness factor. They've already met their goals. Why should they push? In other words, think about it like this.

If I'm a salesperson and I'm making 200, 000 a year, and I have built a lifestyle around my 200, 000 income, and I'm happy with that, right? I got a boat. I hang out at the lake in the summers. I got a good life. I know I need to make 16, 600 a month in order to keep that lifestyle up. That is a nice lifestyle.

So if I'm in sales and I start cranking it out on January 1 and by January 20, I have hit my 16, 600 goal. Not only have I met my goal, but I now have the opportunity or the option of taking off the next 10 days of the month and really just, just kicking back and taking it easy because I've already made the money I need to make.

Now my lifestyle is even better. I'm only working 20 hours or 20 days a month to make my 200 grand, right? This is what we call the laziness factor. And by the way, if you have a salesman that has a current book of business, it amplifies this particular problem because they know they don't have to actually go out and produce to get whatever that baseline book revenue profit commission.

is going to generate. So that laziness factor can be amplified by that book of business. In fact, I asked myself, if I'm a salesperson, I'm already hitting my goals by the 20th of the month. Why would I go out and work 10 more days? I don't really care. I got a good life, right? I can do very little to have what I already have.

So the challenge becomes as a sales manager, how do we motivate salespeople to max out their potential? Not just hit their personal basic needs goal. Okay. How do we help them move up the ladder? To the next step. And I'm willing to bet in every sort, uh, every sales organization out there, including yours.

If you're listening to this, you have people that perform at different levels. I've never seen a sales organization where everybody performs at the same level. They all perform at different levels. And I break these levels into three, right? And let's call it the one to 10 scale. We have a few salespeople who are operating in the nine to 10 range.

They're killing it. We have a few that are what we call sub five level and they're dying and then everybody else is in the middle. They're in that five to six to seven to eight range and that's their production. It's, it's the same month in month out. Why is it that we have people in these different ranges?

Why are some people killing it? Why are a lot of people, most of them average, and why are some of them not doing very well? We like to say that the sub five people, and by the way, this is where you have your biggest opportunity to fix your organization, but those sub five. Level people, they either need to be coached up or they need to be coached out.

And by the way, in our example, those people may be performing at a level that makes them happy, right? If you have an organization that pays really well, and they can be on a scale of 1 to 10 of 5 or less in production, and they're still making 100, 000, they may have a personal needs of 100, 000 a year or a 100, 000 self image.

And because of that, they're never going to produce above it. The problem here with you and your company, however, is that their personal goal is not in alignment with your corporate goal. They are the only ones winning in this scenario. They can make their hundred grand, they're happy, they got a good life, but if they're not maxing out their potential, if they're wasting your leads, if they're wasting your time, then they are not accomplishing what the company needs to accomplish.

Okay? And by the way, this is the area, as I said before, the sub five.

If, and this is a big one, if they are coachable and if we can get them to want more, okay, if they are, if they're coachable, we can make amazing transformations and their production, their personal income and overall productivity for the company. In fact, I would tell you we can change their life. Okay. If they're not, they're not coachable, they don't want it.

They're not willing to listen. Okay. Thank you. Then they need to go. Sorry. Most organizations I've gone on to, in fact, I would say every organization I've gone on to and done sales training, we have eliminated the bottom 10 to 20 percent because they just weren't interested in doing any more. Okay. Then there are the ones you have in the organization that are the nines, the tens.

These are your killers. These are your hunter killers. These are the folks that are making a lot of money. And these are the ones who are unfortunately setting the bar. For the rest of the organization on what is possible. If I have 10 salespeople and I've got two nine to tens and I've got two sub fives and I've got six in the middle, everybody below the two at the top need to be looking up and going, holy crap, we really can do a lot better.

It's just a matter of whether we want to and we're willing to learn. Okay, they're setting the bar. Unfortunately, they put the target on everybody else's back on that team. Okay, they are proving what is possible. The balance of the team is your bread and butter, right? These are the middle folks, and this is probably 70 percent of the organization.

They are doing well enough. To satisfy their personal needs and enough for the company goals to get by. But as a sales manager, have you ever looked at these people and thought, Holy crap, they could do so much better. They could. The opportunity is there. They're just not doing it. Okay. They need to want it.

Is the problem. So what do you do with the team that is doing? Okay, they're not the superstars. Leave those folks alone. They're not the bottom. They're not, you know, losing money for the company or just not doing what they need to do. They're just average. They're not bad. But you know what? They're probably happy with the income they make and they're happy with what it satisfies their personal needs goal.

So how do we motivate them? This is what we're going to get into, right? Now remember when I talk about motivation, motivation, uh, is money. Yes. It's incentives. Yes. It's personal needs and it's self image. Okay? If I don't believe that I am a top producer without any outside help, I never will be. That's just human psychology.

If I don't believe I can be the best, then I never will be. If I don't believe I can produce more, I won't. Okay? That's just the way people work. So let's assume that you as an organization have a proper compensation package in place.

The next two areas we want to focus on from a motivation standpoint are going to be the incentives. And the self image and needs issue. Those are the two we need to focus on if we're going to raise the bar in the organization. So, let's start with the incentives piece. And I love incentives by the way.

They're an awesome way to push people to do more than they would normally do. Okay, but, so many organizations screw up the incentive piece. There are rules for incentives and if you do not follow them, you will actually waste time and money from an organizational standpoint. Okay, it will not give you the results you're looking for.

If you do your incentive packages wrong, incentives have to push people past their comfort zone and not reward people for normal production. That's a big one. Incentives have to be for extraordinary production, not just doing your job. In fact, I see too many people say top sales people are going to get the rewards and incentives.

That is a complete waste of time because the same people are going to win those awards. Every single time the mass of the organization, most everybody else is not going to push for a reward that they know they are not going to achieve. They will not even try. You as an organization have just wasted an opportunity to raise the bar.

And I'll give you an example. I worked for an insurance carrier years ago and the top ten Managing general agents across the country would go on these amazing trips. I mean, every two years, they were amazing. I've done some stuff that would blow your mind. Okay? But the problem is, we were always the top ten managing general agents.

So we were the same group of people that went on these trips every single year. So how did that incentivize anybody else in the organization? You've got 15, 000 people in this organization. Probably five or six thousand agencies, but the top 10 were the same top 10. So I know I was going because I'm a top 10.

How did that help anybody else in the organization? How did that raise the bar? It didn't. Incentive programs need to be achievable for everyone, not just the top producer. Otherwise the majority of the organization won't care. And won't try, right? For instance, I could do a most improved. That means everybody can try to achieve that one.

That's not just for the people that are killing it. Average sales is a waste. Do not waste your incentive programs on what people should be doing anyway. Okay. You can't do giveaways from people doing their jobs. It just hurts your margins. Incentives need to come from increased production generated from additive sales Over and above what your fixed ops, op X is already figured into, okay?

Incentives need to come from increased margins generated from additive sales that are over and above your fixed ops. That's how you make money, okay? They also need to be done in a short enough time frame that people will get behind it, okay? If you set your incentive, if it's January 1 and you say, hey, we got a big end of year incentive, nobody cares.

Nobody's going to care about that incentive until maybe June or July. Which means your first half of the year, you're getting zero productivity change out of this incentive that you put out there. You might get it at the end of the year. But you're not going to get it for the majority of the year. Okay.

We like to say that incentives have three rules. They have to be achievable for everyone. Otherwise it will not raise the bar on the organization. It has to be substantial enough that it makes a difference. So people go, wow, that's, that's a, that's a cool incentive. I really want that. And it has to be in a short enough timeframe that it will overcome that laziness factor.

It will overcome what people normally do on a day to day basis. It will overcome the average. And push people into the extraordinary. If you're not doing those three things, if it's not achievable by everyone, the organization won't care. If it's not substantial, again, nobody cares. Like, I don't care if you're going to give me 20, but if you give me 20, 000, now I'm fired up.

And it has to be a short enough time frame. Right? It has to, if it's January, I'm going to get this incentive in March. Not December. December I don't care about until probably October. So those are the three big rules for incentives. That's how you raise the bar. Number two, the second motivation. We can use is what we'll call expectations, management, and goal setting.

And this is a one where we overcome the self image problem and the basic needs problem. If you remember what I said earlier about if someone's making 200, 000 in your organization and they're happy with that income and that's all they need to live a knife's lifestyle, you're going to have to push them out of their comfort zone to 200 grand they already need.

If you can't push them out. Then they're never going to do it. Okay. So as a sales manager, I ask people all the time, are you sitting down with each one of your team members individually? Okay. Are you sitting down with them individually? Do you, as a manager know what their goals are? And I mean, specifically, if you're sitting down with Bob or Susan, do you say, Hey, Bob, what are your goals for this year?

And if Bob says, Oh, I made 200 last year, I'm going to make 200 this year. Your answer is, Nope. That does not work for me. We are an organization that moves forward. We do not stay stagnant. Okay. So we need a bigger goal. If Bob or Susan says, Hey, my goal, I made 200 this year. I want to make 300 next year.

Now we got a goal. Okay. Do you know what their personal goals are? How much money do they want to make? And I want to get real specific on this one. And then. Once you've done that, are those goals written down, memorialized, and readily available so that we can use them every week, every month, for the entire year?

Have you gone the extra step, then, to reverse engineer that goal for them for the year? It's one thing to say, hey, last year you made 200, this year you want to make 300, awesome, go get it. That's, that's a waste of time, okay? It's, Hey, you made 200 last year. Your goal is 300. Let's figure out exactly how you need to, what you need to do in order to make that money.

I want to know what you have to do monthly and each month of the year. I want to know what you need to do weekly and whatever your metrics are, how many calls do you need to make? How many appointments do you need to set? How many quotes do you need to do? What does your close ratio need to be? Whatever those metrics are within your organization, you need to reverse engineer.

That increase in their goal from the end of the year all the way back to today so that we can build a plan on exactly how they're going to achieve that, right? If they need to do an extra two calls a day, if they need to do an extra two appointments a week, if they need to do an extra five quotes a week, whatever it is in order for them to achieve that goal, you need to reverse engineer it.

Write it down, memorialize it, and use it as a guide week over week, okay, to keep them on track and hold them accountable. This is the biggest area where sales managers fail. They fail to specifically plan how to meet the specific objection or the specific, uh, goal, not objection, the goal of each individual salesperson.

And then they fail to manage it, okay? This, this is going to apply to every single person on your team. You got 10 people on your team. You got 20 people on your team. This requires 10 to 20 meetings. Okay. Every single person needs to go through this exercise. Are you as a sales manager then actively managing those goals?

And I call this my, my, uh, core metrics chart, right? So once I have my 10 or 20 people on my team, I have each one of their goals. We've reverse engineered each one of those. We know what everybody has to do weekly and monthly. I typically, in my org, in my organizations, I will have a project manager come in, build these numbers out, build these metrics out so I can see each person in a glance on a spreadsheet.

And then every week I have that person go in, feed, bring in all the data from that, that salesperson, from each one of these salespeople, fill in those marks so that I can get actuals against projected, and then highlight the folks. That are not meeting the specific goals for that week and or for that month.

Okay, so some project manager will build this for you. Literally, you can have a spreadsheet pop in front of you every week that shows you, Hey, I got 10 people. These five hit their goals. These two were close and these three are way off. Now, if I'm a sales manager, where am I going to focus my time? I'm going to focus my time on the people that aren't hitting their goals.

This is problem solving from the bottom up. Okay, so I'm gonna, I don't worry about the people that hit their goals. They're good. The people that barely missed them. Okay, if I have time, I'll get to them. The people that are missing them big time. That's where I focus my time. Okay, if I go, if you will focus your time on that and you will bring the level up from the bottom up, you will see amazing differences in your organization.

Okay, now let me say this, and this is the trick, right? As a sales manager. If you commit to doing this, by the way, first of all, if you commit to doing it, it's going to make a hell of a difference in the organization. But secondarily, if you commit to doing it, you have to actually do it. You have to actually do it every single week.

And here's the challenge. If you miss a week, you are two weeks behind. Okay? That's just a fact. If you miss two weeks, you're a month behind. So you've lost one out of your 12 potential months, you need to be accountable to yourself. You need to be accountable to this management practice and you need to be accountable to your sales team to keep them on track.

If you do again, amazing results. If you slack, you will see this whole thing go to hell in a handbasket pretty quickly. I promise you that. Okay. So focus on the metrics. Focus on the people that don't hit the goals. This is the type of management accountability management and goal setting that will help your team Overcome that needs based limitation laziness factor because they know Somebody's watching they know somebody's managing they know they have to hit specific goals and targets each week They know that if they hit it, you're gonna leave them alone.

They know if you don't if they don't Then you're going to be in their office or at their desk asking them what's going on. Okay. So here it is. You are a sales manager. You have one goal, just one. If you have a team, you have one goal. Your goal is to make your team better. If you are not making your team better.

Then you're a paper pusher and we don't need paper pushers. I can get a paper pusher in here for 40, 000 a year. Your goal is to make your team better. This is how you do it. Individual goal setting, reverse engineering, individual accountability and consistency. Every single week, every single month. Okay.

This is a huge topic. There are a lot of specifics I can't get into because we just don't have time. Sales management systems take time to build, they take time to implement, and they take discipline to manage. Okay. This is the stuff we do in my coaching and consulting practice. Personally, I would love to work with your team.

And by the way, I told you at the beginning, uh, I have this coupon code for my free master class in sales. If you go to my website, brianwillmedia. com, click on the coaching tab. From the coaching tab, click on the training courses on the training courses, click on the sales course and you'll get in there.

You'll see a box for a coupon code. You can enter the word sales, just sales. If you do that, you'll get the course for free. I suggest you watch it, give it to your team to watch. It will make them better. So that's it for today. I appreciate you being with me on the Dropout Multimillionaire podcast. If you want more information, like I said, go to or That's my coaching page. Check it out. If you have any questions, if you want to get with me, if you're interested in learning more, drop me a message and we'll get back with you. See if we can help. And remember, You have to be in the game to win the game.

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