The most celebrated athletes aren’t always the best ones. They’re the ones who work the hardest, overcome the most, and refuse to quit. Take Bode Miller, the oldest Olympian to medal in Alpine Skiing. More than his athletic talent, fans rooted for him because of his age and because he is still mourning the untimely loss of his brother last year. They celebrated his bronze medal at Sochi more than the athletes who placed above him. Miller stood out among the competition not because he finished on top, but because he was an athlete who gave it his all.

When we celebrate effort in new home sales, we are doing more than giving a high five for a final result. Instead, we are recognizing sales professionals who create the sale, make it happen faster, or simply execute a beautiful presentation (whether it leads to a sale or not). When you, as a leader, reinforce that effort makes a difference, you help create a constructive culture where salespeople feel that they are in control.

Adam, a sales coach for one of our clients, rewards standout sales professionals with a unique award that isn’t about a number of sales or an amount of profit. It’s a trophy that recognizes effort rather than numbers. And I think that’s fantastic. By celebrating effort, Adam is acknowledging that what each salesperson does matters. We don’t want to celebrate sales that come just because someone was in the right place at the right time (if a resident brings her mother in to buy the home next door, for example). While the sales professional should appreciate the sale, it shouldn’t gain extra praise. The ones that get the accolades should be the ones sales professionals have to really work for. We want to celebrate sales athleticism, no matter the result.

Jason Forrest: Do your sales pros believe their effort makes a difference? from Forrest Performance Group on Vimeo.

I don’t care how stylish the outerwear, how shiny the equipment, or how lucrative the sponsorship. It’s not the digs that win Olympic medals; it’s the athletes. Similarly, it’s not the whistles and bells that sell homes; it’s the salespeople. Salespeople matter. Despite the widespread belief that price, product, and packaging make the difference, X factor sales professionals are the most powerful force you can have on your team.

There’s no doubt you’re investing in your marketing, design, merchandising and more. The real question is: Are you investing in your salespeople and celebrating their efforts?