Motivation and Sales Performance

Poor sales performance is often mistaken for a motivational issue.  A fine line exists between the two and unless you are an astute manager, you are going to miss the mark. image11

We first need to understand 5 myths of motivation. These are generally agreed upon as being the biggest culprits.

  1. Money as a motivator –if, as a manager, you believe this sits atop the list of motivators, seriously consider a refresher course in motivational management. Paying someone a hefty bonus will get the job done– but only short-term. This will be short-lived as the motivation wears off. Within itself, money has no sustaining power.
  2. Some people cannot be motivated –this unfortunately is a very common belief. Everyone, let me say it again, EVERYONE can be, and is motivated by something. What motivates one person does not necessarily motivate others. It is the manager’s job to know what motivates his team on an individual basis. As a manager, you need to match the motivators with the job responsibilities.
  3. People are happy and grateful to work here –not everyone is happy to work for your company and not everyone is grateful to be there. Assuming this attitude, as a manager, will just about guarantee you will lose your top [sales] talent. Non-engagement management usually accompanies this myth. You have to challenge, recognize and reward your team. The only way to be effective is by engaging your employees one-on-one.
  4. Believing you can motivate –no, no, no, you cannot and never will be able to motivate anyone, and neither can I. They must motivate themselves. Managers must find the factor(s) of motivation for each sales member as well as the environment that will enable employees to motivate themselves.
  5. Fear and intimidation motivate –for about 2 seconds! Beyond that, sales people begin to search for other positions. Unbelievably, some still manage by this course of action. Fear tears down any bridge of trust and cooperation between you and your team. It is a short-term compliance mechanism that breeds resentment. When you need to count on your sales team they will not be there for you!

Next are three perspectives (theories) on motivation directly related to employee performance. There are others, but I feel these to be most relevant. image12

  1. Expectancy theory suggests people are motivated to perform if they believe that their effort will result in high performance, that this performance will be highly rewarded.
  2. Equity theory is based on how fairly an employee perceives they are rewarded according to their contribution. If they are rewarded equally as compared to their fellow peers, then they judge they are being treated equally.
  3. Reinforcement perspective focuses on behavior that results in rewarding consequences, good and bad. There are several sub-categories that include positive, avoidance and punishment. It is simply a comparison between behavior and consequences.

There is no single solution to motivation, as no single theory should ever be used, but rather a combination of motivational techniques as appropriate.

So what does this all mean when it comes to the performance of your sales team? Your team must have four elements in order to have a positive performance.

  1. Motivation to do the job
  2. Ability to do the job
  3. The tools and information needed to do the job
  4. Reinforcement that their effort is wanted, needed and expected

Hope this message helps managers to increase sales. I also hope it enlightens members of your team as to what you deal with on a daily basis. Agree, disagree? Contact Me or leave a comment. If you have a Twitter account it would be much appreciated if you would retweet this at the top of the article!

Happy Selling!

Ed Warner

Experience, Sales Advice

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