How do I get my sales staff to want to kill?

Hi Aunty B,

I have been following your articles for awhile and love them.

I have a sales team of five who are mostly Gen-Y. I have trouble instilling that ‘thrill of the kill’ in hunting and landing a sale (two of them though are not bad at it).

They are all currently paid a flat wage (well above award). In our industry it’s tough to find sales staff that have good product knowledge and excel in sales so it’s often a compromise. They have gotten used to me and my business development manager feeding them leads and landing jobs, but as things have gotten a bit quieter I need to get them out hunting for leads and orders.

I was thinking of introducing some sort of a bonus scheme and wondering what some of the best approaches are. I was thinking of things like a bonus for landing a new client and getting that first order and then maybe a percentage of the sales for that client for six months to make sure they look after them. One downfall is they may get too focussed on finding new clients and forget about the old ones.

Any advice would be great thanks.



Dear Warren,
I notice you are in the wholesale nursery business. I love a man who knows his plants. But unfortunately, you do not know how to run a sales team and you should be reading Sue Barrett’s blog religiously.

Okay. Here is what you must do. First you sack the three duds (one by one) who are not good. And don’t forget to do it properly, ticking off your eight point checklist.

Then you use this downturn to rehire. As we speak, great employees are miserable at your competitors. Steal three new people – which weakens them at the same time. (What’s wrong with that? I assume being in the nursery business you are a Darwinist??)

Then you lower their base wage and put them on commission. They must make finding leads and getting the appointments part of the job. You should not be doing it for them. You need to keep track of how many leads they have in the pipeline, how many appointments they have made, how many calls they have made and ultimately, how many sales they make. BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT YOU PAY THEM FOR.

What do they do? Just go in and close??

One idea we just tried was a competition where we all hit the phones for a day and the people with the most appointments at the end of the day won a $300 voucher. Do that every month as a fun way to motivate the team.

Think about restructuring the team. I would make three of the team the hunters and the killers. Then I would make two of the team responsible for servicing the clients. That way you will maintain your service levels. All the team can share in the commission. What do your other experts and readers think? Any good sales tips?


To  read more Aunty B advice, click here.


What are you waiting for? Email your questions, problems and issues to [email protected] right now!


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments