Monday, October 03, 2016

The ABCs of Sales - M is for Motivation

Motivation is necessary for success in sales, but different people are motivated by different things.  One of the hardest things for a sales manager to do is to keep everyone on their team fired up and working at their personal best.

Some believe that sales people are only motivated by money, but that is not true. While money is important, and the best sales people will leave a company that is not generously compensating their efforts, there are more things going on in the minds of successful sales people than just cash.

Being a contributor to a successful organization is what gets some people charged up and working hard, while others are pulled along by the recognition of being the best and are motivated by leader boards, incentive trips, and other types of public kudos.  Others like the independence of a sales career, and just want to be left alone to get the job done.  Then there are the sales people who are turned on by opportunity and will do whatever it takes to get the next promotion.

The best sales manager I ever had (his name is Steve) found individual ways to get the most out of his team.  The little perks he provided were not costly and were tailored to each person.  A single mom who met her quota would be encouraged to take the afternoon off, while the newlywed would be given the go ahead to expense a plane ticket for their spouse to join them on a business trip.  For me it was sushi.  I was young and could not afford too eat sushi, so he would give me a challenge goal and if I hit it he would take me to lunch or dinner while he was in visiting in my city.  He had to eat anyway, and he was also a fan of good sushi.  I worked harder and we both won on many levels.

There are those who discredit "motivation" and craft their own anti-motivation arguments as to how one cannot motivate others.  They claim that even if you can get someone excited, the motivation does not last.  Famous motivational speaker Zig Ziglar countered this by saying:
"People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily."
My experience is that motivation is a very personal thing and must be aligned between the individual and the company.  Not every strategy for motivation is right for every person, and the sales professional must take ownership of their own path to stay focused on producing at their highest levels.  Companies need to invest in training and incentives, but each person in sales needs to find their own motivational triggers on a daily basis.

Reading books, blogs and articles as well as listening to motivational audio books and podcasts are often the easiest way to keep enthusiasm for your own peak performance.  Getting up early to read, or tuning into audio while driving is a valuable investment in your personal success. Finding the right experts that speak your language will get your mind focused on the little things you need to do on a regular basis.  

Additionally, exercise, eating right, and getting enough sleep are important to keeping your mind and body operating at their top levels.  If you are tired and feeling sluggish you will never be able to keep up with the constant demands of a sales career.  

And do not forget to take time to think, meditate, and visualize.  Your brain needs a chance to recharge and if you are not building in time to find clarity in your head, you will easily get distracted from your goals.  When unclear what you are trying to accomplish, it is difficult to stay motivated.

Motivation is not hard to find and keep if you make it a priority. If you want to be a top producer in your career then you have to embrace what works to keep you focused and taking positive actions.  This is not hocus-pocus and each person will need their own set of tools to create the right environment for their personality and job situation.  But being motivated is necessary, and to lose sight of this could mean a lot of mediocre days in your future. 

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Thom Singer is a keynote speaker and professional master of ceremonies.  He talks regularly to corporate audiences in competitive industries that are sales focused and whose people are seeking greater success.