RAB Research Archive

Motivation is a Myth



As a new sales manager, one of the early mistakes I made was thinking that I could "motivate" my salespeople. In my experience, motivation comes from within. I believe the most we can do for our sellers is to inspire them.

Nothing motivates more than success. Have you ever had a seller close a big deal? They don't need a motivational speaker when that happens; they are on fire. They can't even wait to get back to the office to tell you about it, they usually call you to share the good news.

Our job as managers should be to educate, equip, coach and inspire our sellers. In short, our job is to prepare them for success. When they achieve, they are motivated to achieve more.

Iconic management guru Peter Drucker said, "We know nothing about motivation, all we can do is write books about it."

To influence your sellers' thinking, you have to know what they are thinking. To inspire them, you need to know what's important to them. Commonly, we think it's about money, recognition and status. While those factors are important contributors, it's usually something much deeper, more personal and more powerful.

The key to finding what "it" is for your sellers can be found in a simple question: Why are you doing this, besides the money? Don't just accept the first answer they give you; it usually requires a little digging.

Your conversation could go like this:

Manager: Why are you doing this, besides the money?

Seller: I like to help people.

Manager: Why is that important to you?

Seller: Because it makes me feel good.

Manager: Why is that important to you?

Seller: Because I can see that I’m making a positive difference in someone's life.

Manager: Why is that important to you?

Seller: Because I had people make a positive difference in my life and know where I would be without them.

Manager: Tell me about some of those people and what they did for you...

When you reach that level, you are reaching the core values and purpose of your seller. Can you see how knowing this information can help you guide them to greatness?

Are you willing to ask your sellers, "Why are you doing this, besides the money?" I'd love it if you would share with me what you uncover and how it changes your ability to inspire them.

Happy Friday. Have a good weekend!

Jeff Schmidt is SVP-Professional Development at the Radio Advertising Bureau. You can reach Jeff at jeff.Schmidt@Rab.com or follow him on social media: Twitter, LinkedIn.

Source: Jeff Schmidt, SVP of Professional Development, RAB





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