Successful sales professionals are motivated by many factors including compensation and incentives, greater opportunities, competition, and the visibility of their success. In senior living sales, helping families and older adults during a time of emotional need is often a strong driving factor too. While the commissions and bonuses top the list of motivations of top performing sales professionals, it’s important to know that praise – recognition, prestige, and attention of their success – fulfills an important part of their psychological esteem needs in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. In a 2004 Q&A in Gallup’s Business Journal, How Full is Your Bucket? coauthor Tom Rath stated, “Employees who report receiving recognition and praise within the last seven days show increased productivity, get higher scores from customers, and have better safety records. They’re just more engaged at work.” Keeping the praise part of the puzzle in mind as you coach your sales professionals to success is essential to promoting their professional satisfaction.
What to Praise
The most effective sales activities to offer praise to your sales professionals for are the ones that a) you’ve set a goal or milestone for, b) they have control over, c) are quantifiable, and d) result in an increase in sales. Examples of activities include the number of outbound calls, tours, visits to referral sources, and move-ins, all within a certain time period like a week or a month. An example of a milestone is reaching a specific occupancy level, such as 90%, 95%, 100%, or 100% with a waitlist. Your senior living CRM software keeps track of these activities for you, so as you have your regular coaching calls with them, review their activity and progress toward the goals and milestones, and offer encouragement to achieve them.
How to Praise
Knowing how to effectively praise your sales professionals makes all the difference in satisfying their esteem needs. Remember: it’s the recognition, prestige, and attention that satisfy this need, so praise them in a public way; suggestions include shout-outs via company-wide leadership calls, in the company email newsletters and bulletins, the weekly community stand-up meetings, and posts on social media like LinkedIn. A personal expression of praise from leadership is also very meaningful and effective, so see if your company’s president or CEO will make a quick call to offer their congratulations.
“Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise. They’re absolutely free and worth a fortune.”
– Sam Walton
Founder, Walmart and Sam’s Club
Other Ways to Praise
The receipt of prestigious awards and honors is very gratifying to sales professionals. A tangible symbol of an award or honor, such as a certificate or plaque that they can hang on their office wall, can hold tremendous meaning to them in their career. Likewise, honoring your top sales professionals with a designation like Sales Director of the Year, Top Performer, or President’s Circle is a strong psychological boost. Plus, the competitive spirit that is inherent in the personality of successful sales professionals will drive many of them to want to reach the top honors year after year.
Take a close look your coaching habits and routines and look for opportunities to regularly praise your sales professionals. The investment in recognizing and praising them for their achievements and successes is minimal to you and your company, but it will pay off in dividends of increased sales, employee satisfaction, pride in their company, and reduced turnover. A little praise goes a long way.