Inspiring others to (as John Quincy Adams once said) “dream more, learn more, do more, and become more” is the ultimate aspiration and achievement of the quintessential leader. Most salespeople are under-inspired and lack adequate motivation to meet basic expectations let alone grow and excel. Turnover remains incredibly high. Many salespeople are disengaged…lacking energy, ambition, desire, and any enthusiasm whatsoever. The great news is that you CAN inspire your team, improve their lives, improve your own life, and improve the bottom line by first laying the cornerstone for leading salespeople.
Let’s face it…we all need motivation! There are two main classes of motivation: extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic motivation is the motivation to perform a task or engage in an activity in order to earn a reward or avoid a punishment. Extrinsic motivation is certainly the most prevalent and widely employed. The majority of salespeople are motivated out of fear…out of duty or obligation…or out of pursuit for the “good life.” Unfortunately, extrinsic motivation is one dimensional and completely unsustainable. Just look at your sales leaderboards from month to month… Extrinsic motivation is dependent upon wins, but as every human being knows, no one wins all of the time. In fact, salespeople lose more often than they win (that’s just the numbers). Relying solely on extrinsic motivation is a recipe for inconsistency at best and complete and utter failure at worst.
The Cornerstone for Leading Salespeople is Intrinsic Motivation.
Intrinsic motivation is the motivation to engage in a behavior because it is personally rewarding…performing an activity for its own sake rather than the desire for some external reward. In other words, doing something because of what it is that you are doing…rather than what you get for doing it. To hifalutin for you?
Don’t forget… almost every company was originally created to fulfill some basic purpose beyond generating revenue. Wealth and profitability is not why a business exists, but merely an indicator of its success. Every company exists to serve someone or something. Maybe the business was formed to serve a particular customer base and improve their lives with its products or services, perhaps the business was formed to serve an industry and improve the state of the industry as a whole through esteemed representation, conceivably the business was formed to serve a community and improve the lives of those who live in the community through job creation and charitable donations, maybe the business was formed to serve employees and improve their lives though education, progressive policies and work/life balance, or perhaps the business was formed to serve a greater cause all together. I know this…the business was created for a purpose!
Unfortunately, most businesses never communicate this purpose to their sales team with consistency, clarity, and practicality that hits home. For many businesses, their “purpose” is merely a statement. A statement displayed on a dusty plaque halfway down a dim hallway, or on some webpage that no one reads. This communication (or lack thereof) sets the stage for the entire sales culture (what they do, how they behave, & how they succeed). If your team is not doing what you want them to do, behaving the way you’d have them behave, or measuring success properly….going back a laying this critical cornerstone is key.
Listen, many salespeople are ashamed of their profession to the point where they won’t even openly discuss their work with family and friends. These salespeople lack intrinsic motivation, they are not emotionally invested in their work…they are totally disengaged. All salespeople want to be part of something special…something grand….something bigger than themselves…and guess what??? THEY CAN BE…. YOU CAN CREATE IT!
Your company’s intrinsic motivation is hidden in its purpose and your ability to communicate that purpose with consistency, clarity, and practicality that hits home; as well as your ability to inspire your team through encouraging and facilitating the sharing of stories that are aligned with and support your company’s purpose. Stories are a powerful tool to grab the attention of your sales team, engage them on an emotional level, and enable them to cultivate and contribute to a winning sales culture. Nothing fuels intrinsic motivation and emotional engagement like positive stories of contribution. The only thing people enjoy more than winning is giving! Sharing these stories about how salespeople, by giving their time and energy, are changing lives, improving the community, innovating the industry, or serving a greater cause is the catalyst and cornerstone for inspiring salespeople.
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader!” John Quincy Adams
Cornerstone Dealer Development, LLC