How to Get Your Sales Team Behind a Travel Incentive Initiative

sales-team-in-meeting

Energize Your Sales Team

When implementing travel certificates as an incentive to bring in more customers and increase sales, you may encounter a situation where your sales team are somewhat resistant to them – and the question you’ll likely ask in response is, “Why?”

Oftentimes, we find that it comes down to a concern that implementing such a strategy will require a substantial amount of additional effort on their behalf. In other words, it’ll be even more work for your salespeople. So what can you do to assure them that the travel certificates are easy to implement and will only serve to help make their sales efforts more effective?

Understanding Your Sales Team

Now, it’s important to state from the start that energizing your sales staff is not a one-size-fits-all situation. And just as there are salespeople who are always energetic and up for new challenges, there are also salespeople who may find it hard to become enthused and get behind new initiatives.

When you stop and think about how tough of a gig sales can be, it’s easy to begin empathizing. Many sales staff have to deal with difficult and, sometimes, downright arrogant and disrespectful people. Add to that the experience of trying to just lock down one sale can often feel like a mental marathon.

Salespeople who work over-the-phone or go door-to-door know plenty about what it’s like to have someone tell them to go away – though the actual words used are often a little less family-friendly. Even salespeople on a showroom floor or at a retail store can be subject to dismissive customers. Many times, it doesn’t matter if you’re going to them or they’re coming to you – some customers are just difficult.

difficult-customers

This is important to remember because not every initiative is being put forward by a salesperson or head of sales. More often than not, that great new promotion idea is coming from someone in marketing; and while they may know marketing, they don’t necessarily understand why a sales team may be hesitant to try and “sell another thing” to customers.

You’re Not Selling Something Else. You’re Giving a Customer a Bonus

Education is important. When you tell the sales team that they’ll now be giving customers a travel certificate when they buy a certain product, you need to make it clear that the travel certificate is not something else they have to sell. Instead, you need to show them how this certificate is actually something they can add to their sales arsenal.

So when a customer is umming and ahhing, and one of your salespeople is thinking to themselves, Oh, here comes another loss, that travel certificate is the ace up their sleeve. As the customer debates the overall value of the purchase, that travel certificate brings them over the line. They’re not just going to get a great product – they’re going to get a gift that allows them to fly to Vegas or go on a cruise or spend 7 nights at a resort.

The Conference Call

This is why Odenza strongly encourages all new clients to partake in a conference call with us. It’s not just for the person at the company who ordered the travel certificates, but every single staff member who will serve an integral role in making them a success – sales team included.

During this conference call, they can ask any questions or voice any concerns they have, and we can provide them with advice and information that will make it far easier for them to understand and appreciate how the certificates will help them, not hinder them.

conference-call

As I said, the sales gig is already a tough one, and it’s understandable that salespeople can be hesitant about having to account for yet another thing. So you need to get everyone together, talk about the new initiative, and have a conference call with us.

Don’t Overwhelm Your Team

There are people who work well under pressure, but there are far more people who don’t. In the end, there is a difference between introducing an exciting new challenge and introducing a new process that only serves to overwhelm everyone. Most of the time, however, it’s not about what you introduce as it is how you introduce it. For the below hypothetical, let’s look at how the travel certificate strategy could be introduced to an auto dealer’s sales team.

First, imagine you say the following:

“We’re going to be using travel certificates to get more sales because, to be honest, our numbers have been way down. We expect you to use them whenever possible, and we expect an increase in numbers ASAP.”

How do you think your sales team will react? They won’t feel excited or invested. If anything, they’ll likely feel uneasy and not care for you that much.

Imagine, however, you said this instead:

“Hey everyone. For next month, we’re going to be trying out a new sales strategy where we’ll give a travel certificate to every customer who buys a car from us. We’ll start off with 25 certificates and want you to let every single potential customer who’s thinking of buying a car from us know about the offer. Let’s all sit down tomorrow morning and brainstorm ideas on how to best promote and tell customers about these certs. I think this is going to be a great success!”

A new promotion or incentive idea shouldn’t be proposed as some do-or-die challenge to your sales team. People are not inspired by fear-mongering; nor will they feel any true need to do well by you. Instead, position the new idea as something that is going to yield great results and encourage everyone to get involved in the brainstorming process. Also, don’t forget to remind them that this new initiative will come with plenty of complimentary marketing material to utilize.

Build a Cohesive Strategy

cohesive-strategy

In the continuing theme of getting everyone involved, be sure to remind your sales team that they’re not doing this alone. The most successful promotions are those that integrate various elements into a cohesive whole. This includes advertising and marketing; store signage and decorations; imagery and branding on- and offline; social media postings, emails/e-blasts, website updates to reflect the promotion; and, of course, your sales team.

When everything is brought together and made to work in harmony with one another, your sales team will no longer feel as though the success of a promotion or new sales strategy is entirely dependent on them. In addition to this cohesive strategy, remember to maintain an open dialogue with your staff – and if any of them have questions or are unsure of themselves, take the time to sit down and chat with them. Even five minutes of your time can mean the world to a salesperson who is still unclear on some of the finer details.

The Takeaway

How invested and excited your sales team feels about any new initiative depends on how invested you are in them. Show them how an incentive such as a travel certificate is not another thing to sell, but a tool for them to utilize to increase their likelihood of closing sales. And before making any assumptions about why they could feel hesitant, actually ask them and address those issues together.

An incentive-related initiative should be an exciting and inspiring time for everyone in your company, so present it as such. No doom-and-gloom, no unrealistic expectations, and absolutely no placing the responsibility on the sales team alone. Working together makes it easier for excitement to spread throughout the company, which is then passed onto your customers.

Also remember that even if everything is done correctly, external factors beyond anyone’s control can sometimes affect success. So don’t go placing blame if things fall short and you know everyone did their very best. Accept that there were things you could not control and try again. Perseverance, communication, and cooperation across the board are essential keys to success.

To find out more about our products and how we can help you go above and beyond your competitors, feel free to contact us online or give us a call on 1-866-883-2968.

About David Murton

David Murton is the Senior Editor for Odenza’s blog, where we share stories and insights about travel incentives, marketing solutions, client success stories, and the latest developments within our company. Odenza has delivered 3420 promotions in the last 3 years with 1140 clients in 43 industries throughout North America. Odenza is a three-time recipient of Carnival Cruise Lines' "Pinnacle Club" award for sales excellence and a member of Funjet Vacations "500 Club" of travel agencies. Odenza was recognized for providing superior customer service, demonstrating expertise in Funjet vacation destinations and ensuring that customers receive the best vacation value available.

Leave a Reply