Motivation to succeed in sales has been touted through a variety of means – there are a slew of self-help books, training programs, and business development philosophies geared at motivating the sales team losing steam. However, I’ve hired a lot of sales people over the years, and have found that they either “have it” or they don’t. That “it” is the innate ability to motivate oneself – regardless of external factors.
These folks – who are motivated by a passion that comes from within – possess core beliefs that drive them to act, that action produces results, and those results determine their future success. My advice to sales managers is to look for people who are already motivated – because no book (except for a Holy One) is likely to change them from the inside.
These candidates have most likely been motivated to succeed their entire lives – they were the kids running the lemonade stand, mowing lawns in the summer, and hustling the early-morning paper routes. Again, that drive from within – being cultivated even in their formative years. This type of early motivation becomes a “reflex” for action and drive, which is essential for a great business development executive.
There is no question that the green salesperson should be given a chance – you need to go with your gut on this one, as for some – the light will turn on. And, environmental motivations, additional resources, and the celebration of successes – work to inspire a sales team; however, I have found that those with instinctive character motivation – don’t need outside drivers to stay on top of their game.
It can take some doing – but, once you’ve assembled your dream team, get out of their way. Don’t create a lot of parameters, don’t change their comp plans every 6 months, and don’t contemplate whether their salaries are too high – because at the end of the day – with the right sales people, you won’t have to.
I also offer this postscript. Recently, author Michael Hyatt published an article, which reflects on a 13-minute segment that aired on 60 Minutes entitled, “The Shooting at Chardon High.” The focus of the story is an assistant football coach who saved countless lives during a school shooting by rushing the gun man. Within the piece, the coach’s actions were referred to as “a reflex of character.” Something that comes from within. It’s a good read and a good segment, and I encourage you to check it out.
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