Today’s post is by Norman Behar, CEO of Sales Readiness Group and author of The High-Impact Sales Manager: A No-Nonsense, Practical Guide to Improve Your Sales Team’s Performance.
The best sales managers know how to motivate and inspire their teams. They understand we all have different motives that drive us – and that those motives and their intensity can change over time.
To be a successful sales leader, you must be adept at identifying dominant motivations and recognizing motivation signals. Salespeople tend to be driven by one or more of the following six motives: money, opportunity, teamwork, independence, visibility, and excellence.
This is the most obvious motivator. Money – or what money can buy – is important to most salespeople. However, it isn’t necessarily the most important motivator to everyone. Other motivators may be equally or more important. Ways to impact and/or support money as a motivator include
- Relating sales results to financial gain or reward.
- Adding incentives for higher performance.
- Discussing and reinforcing financial goals.
Many salespeople are driven by opportunity. Motivational opportunities usually fall into the categories of challenges and the possibility of improving one’s situation. When you’ve recognized this motivation in members of your sales team, you should try to create an environment that offers opportunities. Ways to create and foster opportunities include
- Showing how success can lead to advancement.
- Providing for career opportunities where possible.
- Delegating responsibilities that prepare the person for promotion.
Many salespeople enjoy being part of a team and are motivated by the idea of contributing to the success of the group. They derive satisfaction from solving problems as part of a group, contributing to a coworker’s success, or even playing a major role at a sales meeting. If you identify teamwork as a motivating factor for a salesperson, you should
- Get the salesperson involved in team projects.
- Build team-based goals and incentives.
- Provide team recognition.
While some salespeople are motivated by teamwork, many salespeople prefer to work independently. This involves empowerment, independence, freedom, and enhanced feelings of power and control. This motivator should not be ignored or minimized simply because people belong to a team. For any salesperson motivated by independence, you can
- Delegate special projects or assignments.
- Provide greater autonomy and accountability.
- Reinforce their success at working independently.
Recognition, approval, or a need to stand out from the crowd drives some salespeople. When a salesperson is motivated by visibility, you should
- Highlight successes with a personal note, team recognition, or recognition from upper management.
- Be sure the salesperson knows his or her accomplishments are appreciated and recognized.
- Allow the salesperson to share his or her accomplishments in a group setting.
Most salespeople want to perform well. The difference between the “excellence” and “opportunity” motivators is that the excellence-motivated person wants to excel at what he or she does and is not necessarily seeking higher and more challenging goals and opportunities. Excellence means the person takes great pride in achieving or surpassing personal and professional expectations. When a salesperson is motivated by excellence you should
- Recognize the achievement of goals.
- Acknowledge consistency of good results.
- Reinforce the benefits of his or her high-quality work.
The best way to understand what drives your salespeople is to observe their behaviors and ask them what they enjoy most about their job. By taking the time to observe how they work and understand their perspective, you’ll gain incredible insight into their key motives.
In this video interview with Selling Power founder and publisher Gerhard Gschwandtner, we discuss the top motivation mistake inexperienced managers make – and how to find out what motivates each member of your team.