If you are in a leadership role in direct sales, you are probably always looking for ways to keep your team motivated and engaged. Since direct sales consultants are independent (rather than employees), you obviously can’t “tell” them what to do. You can, however, use different strategies to keep your team engaged and motivated to work their business. In general, direct sales teams can be divided up into thirds. One third will be actively working their business and want to grow it, one third will be hobbyists and not necessarily interested in growing a business, and one third will be inactive or declining. Your goal should be to continually motivate the top third, encourage the middle third to stay active, and replace the volume from the bottom third. How can you do this? Check out these 10 tips to effectively lead and motivate your team.
Everyone will be motivated differently. Some want warm fuzzies and recognition. Some will be competitive, and want to win every challenge. Some want a personal connection with their team leader. Identifying what motivates each of your team, will help in building the right strategies to move the whole team forward.
1. Create a team identity.
Do you have a team name? Logo? Does your team call themselves something? We had team apparel, tote bags, graphics, and a team logo. I plastered it on everything, and it helps create an identity. When members can identify with a team concept, they will start to build an emotional connection to that identity, and will want to maintain the team membership. If you have a team Facebook group, continually post things that aren’t just about your brand, but fun things as well that will help team members get to know each other. For example, my team did regular #MotivationMonday and #ThrowBackThursday games, where members are encouraged to post quotes and pictures. It’s fun, and helps everyone feel more connected to both the team overall and each other.
2. Offer incentives and challenges.
Many will be competitively motivated by a win, even if there isn’t a prize associated with it. Just putting out a challenge will get some people engaged. I offer monthly challenges to my team (volume, sponsoring, biggest increase over last month, biggest team player, are some recent challenges), along with “Pop Challenges” that are for a shorter duration. Prizes might be bragging rights, product, or other business materials that will help the winner. I always post the prize with the challenge, so they know what they’re working for.
3. Hold regular team meetings and training sessions.
One of your primary responsibilities as a mentor and leader, is to provide training to your team. Whether this is through team meeting, documents, videos, or chatting on social media, continually offering new and fun ways to stay connected to the educational aspects of your business, will help team members feels engaged. I offered “Pop Quiz Challenges” to my team a couple times per month. We met on Facebook, and over 60-90 minutes, I post questions related to our business. The first person to answer correctly get the point, whoever has the most points then gets bragging rights. It turned into a fun activity that we looked forward to. It’s still training, but fast paced, slightly competitive, and can be held publicly so everyone can “read” it, even if they don’t all participate.
4. Encourage shameless self-promotion.
Because everyone is independent, no one is going to know how great things are going for you, unless you tell them. I encourage my team to share their successes on our team Facebook page. Maybe it’s about their table display, or a particularly great party, or where they just passed out a catalog or business card and got a new lead. Giving everyone permission to brag freely encourages a couple things. First, when someone posts “Hey I just had a great party, let me tell you about it!” that person is going to get all kinds of congratulations from other team members. Warm fuzzies! Second, showing how people are having success, may motivate others. Perhaps there is a little jealousy there, with a “if she can do it, so can I. I want to brag about my success too!” You are then duplicating your model of leadership, by encouraging everyone to be a leader.
5. Recognize and celebrate.
No success is too large, or too small. Did someone just have their launch party? Brag about them! Did someone just do her first vendor event, where she was so nervous? Post a picture of her display and congratulate her! Did someone just sponsor her first team member? Congratulate them both, and make sure to call your new leader the very best choice in mentors the new consultant could have possible made. People love to be recognized publicly. And for someone who is a bit more humble or shy, shameless self-promotion in #4 above, may not be their cup of tea. So you need to keep a watch, and brag for them. This will help establish YOU as a leader for celebrates the success of her team.
6. Create a no-drama/no-negativity team culture.
This starts and ends with the leader. If you allow negativity, drama, frustrations, or toxicity into your team, be it online through social media, or in person, it will spread. Setting the team tone and expectation directly and assertively, will help people know what is and isn’t allowed. People will of course have challenges and frustrations. Channel them appropriately to 1/1 conversations, keep it in perspective, and keep public team forums for positivity. My team knows I’m a no-drama-Mama. So if they see even the tiniest inkling of something, I’ll have half a dozen people messaging me immediately “Brenda, go shut that down.” They don’t want it on the team either.
7. Connect with each team member personally.
I mentioned that people are all motivated differently. Take time to connect with each of your team members. Or if you team is too large, at least your first two levels. Ask about them personally, their children, jobs, etc. Care about them personally, more than just what volume they’re doing for the team.
8. Welcome new team members at all levels.
This may seem like a small thing, but building that personal connection with your team members makes a big impact to a new consultant. Phone call, email, Facebook message, welcome note in the mail… all will help that person feel important, and that you took the time to welcome them. If they are on your front-line, you should be also welcoming them personally to the entire team on your Facebook group. Recognize and celebrate!
9. Encourage collaboration vs. competition.
Direct sales is inherently competitive. We’re all looking for team members, customers, and hostesses. But the best leaders are going to promote collaboration first, and competition second. Information sharing at all levels, sharing success at all levels, recognition at all levels. I personally tend to share a lot of motivational team-oriented quotes: “We row fastest, when we all row together.” Your team will know that you are encouraging everyone’s success, and it will help breakdown the barriers of competitively hoarding information. Is there a fine line here? Of course. My direct sales team was large. I don’t push anyone to share outside of their own downline team, as of course – everyone wants their own team to be successful, and information gives you the edge. But “I” share freely, and encourage others to do so. My team shares graphics, training ideas, strategies of what’s working or not working for them, and it’s building the culture of collaboration.
10. Walk the talk.
Finally, be the role model. Be the change you wish to see in your team. When your team sees you doing the things above, working your business, sharing your successes, recognizing and celebrating others, connecting personally… they are going to want to continue to stay engaged and connect with you. Ultimately, this comes down to leadership. Whether your team is 2 or 2000, or if you work your business an hour a day or full-time. When you truly care about the success of your team members, they will see it. And they will want to help you be successful, because you are helping them be successful. Be a strong leader and people will be motivated to follow you. THAT is how you are going to successfully grow your business!
What do you think? Do you have more ideas and suggestions that are working for you? Share in the comments below!