Let's face it motivating salespeople is no easy task.
It is a job that never ends and requires you to have a high level of self motivation and commitment to every salesperson in your team.
Motivation is an inner drive, an energy that propels a person into action to achieve a goal.
It can be influenced by internal and/or external factors.
These are referred to as intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.
Intrinsic motivation This comes from within and is the desire to perform a task because it is of interest enjoyable and a skill is developed that in itself is rewarding.
When a salesperson is intrinsically motivated they find: • It easy to maintain focus • They want to do well because the task is enjoyable • They will do the task even if they don't get remunerated for it • The commitment to master the skill and be the best they can be • Enjoyment because they are in control of what they are doing Intrinsic motivation can only happen if the salesperson is happy to do the task.
It doesn't work if they are feeling down.
Extrinsic motivation Working hard particularly when times get tough along the journey to winning the award is not something a salesperson will delight in.
But the thought of winning the award can keep them going.
Designing an extrinsic incentive is easier than motivating intrinsically.
With an extrinsic incentive, focus salespeople on the goal and the reward and not on the process of how to get there.
You will need to take into consideration: • Salespeople who won't be motivated by the reward.
If so what can you do to convince them or modify the reward? • Possible short cuts a salesperson may take to win and the ramifications of such action Sales management's greatest challenge is to implement an extrinsic motivator that has meaning.
The extrinsic motivation can be internalized and become intrinsic if it complements the salesperson's values and beliefs.
As sales management learn and understand their salespeople better this will become easier.
Reinforcement Reinforcement is designed to encourage the salesperson to repeat certain behaviours without reinforcement the likelihood of repeating the desired behaviour is diminished.
It's about creating an environment that the salesperson likes and wants to be in or punishment which is to create an environment the salesperson dislikes and wants to avoid.
Noticing what a salesperson does is often an indicator of the type of reinforcement used by sales management.
Positive Reinforcement Positive reinforcement is a reinforcer used after a particular behaviour that strengthens the behaviour.
Positive reinforcement is more effective in terms of altering behaviour and therefore the chances of the salesperson's repeating the desired behaviour in the future is far greater.
There are 3 types of positive reinforcers: Social reinforcers - Any public recognition such as an award presentation Activity reinforcers - For example the conversion ratio of customer calls to orders confirmed Intangible Reinforcers - These are the acknowledgements for a job well done.
Salespeople don't tire of being given praise or recognition when it comes from the 'heart.
' For example "Sandy, I thought you did a great job in handling that difficult customer, particularly the way you empathised with their situation.
" Negative Reinforcement Negative reinforcement is designed to stop or avoid an unwanted condition so as to increase the strength of a desired behaviour.
For example, a salesperson attends quickly to a customer complaint to avoid their aggressive manner.
The strengthened behaviour is the salesperson's quick action.
Negative reinforcement is not punishment with which it is often confused.
Both positive and negative reinforcers have the same effect: they both strengthen particular behaviours.
Punishment The traditional view of punishment is about modifying a salesperson's undesirable behaviour.
Punishment does change behaviour but only temporarily and it presents many damaging after-effects in terms of morale and performance issues.
Usually there are clear behaviour signs that if they had been addressed earlier mean punishment could have been avoided.
What motivates salespeople? The most effective way to motivate salespeople is individually.
A blanket approach to motivation doesn't work.
One of the best known management theorists is Abraham Maslow who developed the Hierarchy of Needs.
Abraham Maslow classified human motivation into 5 hierarchical stages.
The following explanation of his theory has been adapted into a sales context: Self Actualisation These salespeople like to test their personal potential and prefer to work solo to push boundaries.
They are solid sales performers and are motivated by being shown the little things that will fine tune their selling skills.
They tend to be impatient with sales managers who can't add value to their sales performance Ego These salespeople are driven to achieve social status and recognition within the sales force by winning sales awards.
Whilst they can be outstanding sales achievers they rarely succeed as a sales coach.
Belonging These salespeople can be preoccupied with social relationships and therefore become too concerned with being accepted by their customers.
They are usually reasonable sales performers Security These salespeople are rarely successful because they are too concerned about their job security.
Motivation is difficult unless they progress higher up the hierarchy Basic These salespeople like to remain in their comfort zone and avoid prospecting for new business.
In most situations they are a wrong hire.
Salespeople as any other profession are motivated by different things so a one does all approach doesn't work.
It's up to you to get to know each and every salesperson in your team and understand who they are and what will motivate them to higher levels of sales performance.
If you would like to discuss this topic or any other relating to improving sales performance then contact Kurt Newman direct on 0412 252 236 or email kurt@salesconsultants.