Pretty much every sales position offers a level of remuneration as an incentive to achieve sales targets. Isn’t that what most people are motivated by, particularly in a working environment?
However, if that were true, wouldn’t all of our businesses be going from strength-to-strength – the scenario being that if someone achieves, they receive money, and it spurs the process to continue over and over again. Simple right? Wrong.
The key here is that people WILL SAY they are driven by the prospect of earning a bonus – but what can be uncovered is that this isn’t always their main motivator, and this is evident to see by the amount of salespeople who still don’t succeed despite there being appropriate money reward in place. (And it is also important to note that sometimes money motivation can change over time… where someone may have been motivated by it in the past to get where they are today, but for some reason it is no longer a big driver.)
So how else can people be effectively motivated? There are many different ways – both internal and external, and here are seven possible options below.
Does the salesperson:
- Love to win – or hate to lose?
- Spend money to force performance – or performs and spends the money as a reward?
- Respond better to being pushed by the sales manager – or prefers to push themselves?
- Perform better when closely managed – or when left alone?
- Perform better when competing against others – or when competing against his/her own expectations?
- Respond better to recognition – or satisfaction after meeting and exceeding goals?
- Become motivated by proving someone else wrong – or proving themselves right?
But this list is by no means exhaustive – it is about sales managers really getting to know their team to be able to implement the right motivators, as well as recognising it when it comes time to hire a salesperson. And the good news is that you can evaluate salespeople to get a greater insight into what drives them to keep their pipeline full and close opportunities. This will then give you the right tools to move forward with motivating them in an appropriate way – for example using the following phrases:
- Challenge them (I have a challenge for you…do you think you’re up to it?)
- Lose faith in them (tell them that you don’t think they can do it and they’ll say, “oh yeah?”)
- Encourage them (I just know you can do this and they say, “thank you”)
- Demand that they perform (You are required to do this and they say, “OK”)
- Ultimatums (If you don’t do this you’ll be out of a job and they either do it or not)
Sometimes motivation also gets confused with commitment – and while both of these things are critical to be successful in sales, they are different and need to be approached in a different way. Dave Kurlan from the Objective Management Group explains it well with this statement here, an important insight into why understanding motivation is so key:
“Motivation is the incentive to do what is required in sales. It is why someone will show up, day after day, for this difficult, sometimes demotivating, always humbling challenge.
“Whether it is the rewards, recognition, money, satisfaction, revenge, things, or mastery – what is it that’s powerful enough to make people thoroughly immerse themselves in selling each day?”
Awareness of the different kinds of motivators is the first step, with uncovering them in individuals being the next important task – particularly when hiring new salespeople for your business, as this way you can be prepared to ramp them up quickly and give them the best chance to succeed.