How Do You Keep Your Associates Motivated?

Strategies for keeping sales associates on a success track throughout the year.

It’s a new year. Goals are set. Business plans are written. Enthusiasm is high. Now what? Will your associates execute their business plans and achieve their goals? Or will they be like the health club member who loses focus and commitment after January? How do you help them stay on track? Here are three simple steps.

  1. Know their why. What are their reasons for living? Perhaps it is to provide for their family, pay for their kids’ college education, fulfill a dream to live on water, or be financially independent. The why is what gets them up in the morning. It is the rocket fuel that motivates them. Their why needs to be funded and real estate is a great way to do it. There is no upper limit on their income. You need to know their why.
  2. Focus on activities. Associates are great at setting goals. Unfortunately, most of them are not disciplined at doing the activities that will achieve the goals. They need your help. First, show them the productive activities that generate business—personal notes, live interviews, real estate reviews, open houses, value added mailings, etc. Focus on the right activities and production takes care of itself. Help them gamify these activities (like a fit bit) by setting activity goals and tracking them.

When an associate falls off track and is not doing their activities (resulting in a sales slump), don’t scold them like their mother who is upset because they didn’t make their bed. Simply, help them reconnect with their why. Ask them, “have you given up your dream to provide for your kids’ college education?” They are more motivated by their why than by your scolding.

  1. Rewards and Recognition. In a study of 65 potential incentives in the workplace, conducted by Dr. Gerald Graham of Wichita State University, the most motivating incentive was simply a manager who “personally congratu-
    lates an associate for doing a good job.” However, 58 percent of the respondents said their manager rarely – if ever – offered such simple praise. Graham concluded, “It appears that the techniques that have the greatest motivational impact are practiced the least, even though they are easier and less expensive to use.”


Listen To the Podcast : Keeping Sales Associates Motivated

by Larry Kendall, Brandon Wells & Steve Murray

Rewards usually involve giving something tangible —cash, gift certificates, trophies, etc. Recognition, on the other hand, usually involves intangibles such as words of praise. As commissioned sales associates, their primary rewards come through their production. Recognition is where you come in. There are three types of recognition and you need to practice all three.

Recognizing Achievements. Frederick Herzberg’s ground-breaking research on motivation in the 1960s led him to discover two powerful motivators which, when combined, have the potential for explosive results. These motivators were the desire to achieve and recognition and appreciation for that achievement. At the end of every week your associates will have achieved any number of things—some big, most small. Whatever their achievement was, you want them to feel that it was valuable.

Recognizing Behaviors. As a manager, you are in the business of managing behavior. Encourage your associates to perform the productive activities and their production will follow. When you see them doing the productive activities, reinforce their behavior through reward and recognition.

Recognizing Attributes. While recognizing your associates for what they do is essential, you also want to appreciate and value them for who they are. Recognize them for their loyalty, creativity, work ethic, humor, teamwork or something else. By highlighting their personal qualities and characteristics, you place value on them as people.


Follow the three steps above and read the excellent book, Nine Minutes on Monday, The Quick and Easy Way to Go from Manager to Leader by James Robbins. You will keep your associates motivated and productive throughout the entire year (not just in January). They will achieve their goals and so will you.


By Larry Kendall, author of Ninja Selling and chairman emeritus of The Group, Inc.

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