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Know the Salesperson's "Why"

I have heard business owners and sales managers say it many times: "You just can't find good sales people" or "sales people just don't want to work."

The truth is that there are plenty of good sales people who do want to work. However, sales leadership and business owners spend far more time thinking about what the salesperson's results will do for THEIR OWN career or business rather than thinking about what the results mean for the salesperson.

What difference does it make?

Well, sales leadership has always assumed that good sales people are motivated almost entirely by money.  Pay good commissions and good salespeople will deliver.

However, research proves that not many people are truly motivated by money... at least not for long.

If you have salespeople, start off 2011 by talking to them about "their why." Not the politically correct "I just want to do my part for the company" why. Rather, find out what they want.

Anything they want will fall into one of four categories.
1. Money for something
2. Time for something
3. Autonomy
4. Attention
When you understand their why, then help them to see their sales role as the vehicle for getting what they want. Become their biggest supporter. Whether formally or informally, customize incentives and rewards based upon their "why."

You will find that you will get your best results by helping your salespeople attain  what is most important to them.

A composed satellite photograph of Africa.Image via Wikipedia

For example, one year one of my salespeople had planned a mission trip to Africa. She knew what she needed to earn and by what date. This gave all of our sales meetings a context that was relevant to her rather than. After all, producers are not intrinsically motivated by numbers on a spreadsheet. (We even shared her objectives with clients who made personal contributions.)

Despite what my ego would like to believe, she was working hard to achieve her dreams, not mine.  It was my job to make them congruent.
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