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3 Tips to Keep Your Inside Sales Reps Motivated If They Feel Like Giving Up


Any fans of the show Modern Family out there? If not, you should definitely check it out if you appreciate sarcasm and a good laugh in the middle of your work week. For those of you who don’t know the show, it takes a humorous look at three different families and the trials they face but in a very comical way. The topics of the show typically focus on every day occurrences that viewers can relate to. When I saw the show titled “Door to Door” recently I instantly knew I would appreciate the episode from a sales perspective. In a nutshell, this episode is about how Jay Pritchett (Ed O’Neill from Married with Children) helps his son, Manny, sell wrapping paper for a school fundraiser.  Manny does not want to sell the wrapping paper so Jay says to him, “You’ve got to learn to sell – this is the best business training out there.” Manny gives it a shot, and after knocking on the door at three houses in the neighborhood, he tells Jay that even “working his dimples” is not helping him and that he can’t handle the rejection. Jay explains to him that he isn’t hungry enough. Of course, by the end of the episode, Jay ends up buying all of the wrapping paper, and Manny says to the camera, “You’ll never go broke playing to a rich guy’s ego!” The point is that Manny found a way to reach his sales goal no matter what and never gave up in the end.

This reminded me of how I felt some days when I was on the phones, and when I have reps come to me today saying things like “Lots of rejection today” with a worried look on their face. As a sales manager, I’m sure you’d agree that when days like this come around, it’s important to keep your team motivated and act like Jay did when Manny wanted to give up. As you start to feel your reps becoming unmotivated or discouraged, pick them up with not only words of encouragement, but with concrete actions. Here are some things I do to help pick my rep’s spirits up when they are growing tired of rejection:

  • Provide them with a fresh list and targeted email campaign to uncover the “low hanging fruit” opportunities. Sometimes all inside sales reps need is one pick-me-up and they will get their motivation back. For example, a BDR on my team was struggling on a new project last week and I could sense he was feeling discouraged. I pulled a clean list for him and targeted email campaign – he was able to uncover a lead within 24 hours after the email, and from that point on, I could tell he was back to being his motivated self.
  • Search your own network for opportunities to pass along to your reps. In the “Door to Door” episode of Modern Family, Manny tried hard to make the sales, and in the end he did make his quota, it just happened to be with his own dad. Manny did whatever it took to reach his goal, and he made it work by reaching out to his own network. This reminded me of a time we were behind in the number of qualified leads we needed for a client one month. I started searching my own network to see who would be a good fit for the product, and I ended up having one of my insides sales reps reach out to my father’s company. We were connected with the IT contact and they ended up being a perfect fit for our client. Being a good sales manager is about jumping in the trenches to offer support when things get tough for your reps – as long as you offer the help, you can expect great results because they realize they aren’t in it alone.
  • Spend time with your reps by listening in on their dials. If a rep seems to be discouraged, make the effort to sit in with them to listen in on their dials as a support system. Offer advice as to how to work through their list better and how to change up their messaging a bit to get better results. Continue these call shadows until you can sense a mood change within your rep and can clearly see they are out of their slump. Jay went from house to house with Manny while he was selling the wrapping paper and it clearly had a positive effect because he was shadowing him and offering sales advice.

Feeling rejected is the hardest part of sales – Manny certainly felt it in the episode of Modern Family I have been referencing throughout this blog. As an inside sales manager, it is your role to sense when a rep seems discouraged, and to help them shift their mindset as quickly as possible. By keeping things fresh with new lists, offering up connections through your own network, and spending one on one time with your reps, you will ensure that your reps stay motivated. What other tips can you offer?


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