What Motivates Sales People?

If your employees aren’t motivated to excel then the problem lies first with you, the owner/manager, and then with the employee. The owner/manager controls the work environment and creates the atmosphere that fosters the employee attitude. The level of motivation is dependent on the level of trust that the employee has in the consistency of a workplace to recognize and reinforce better than average performance.

For example, if an employee gets lots of high fives one day and a chewing out the next day they are not sure what to expect other than a lack of consistency. Negatives don’t motivate behavior they just decrease behavior. Employees who are in an inconsistent or negative work environment tend to do just enough to not get in trouble. They are not going to step out and take risks. An inconsistent work environment creates a timid and reticent work force.

Building a team requires each person on the team to be outward focused not inward focused. Only positive work environments produce that type of team. A positive work environment would establish that all are in this together including the owner/manager. It isn’t just sell more so that the company makes more.  It is sell more because we all win – customer, sales person and company.

Recognition and Appreciation
Most all people like to be recognized for a job well done. Even if they are paid well they still appreciate a “slap on the back”. Typically, high achievers are very prone to looking for this and wanting to be in a work environment that provides this. When this doesn’t occur, the assumption is that they are not doing well. Working harder or producing more is not providing that feedback. So eventually they level out, digress or leave. The owner/manager has to provide the answer to: “How am I doing?”

High achievers who are money motivated like to have control of their work environment. They want to know that they are ultimately responsible for what they earn and want as much control over that as possible. These are people that will always be wanting to know what the rules are. They may also be the ones that will try and bend the rules in their favor. But, most likely these are the 20 percenters that are going to produce over 50% of the revenue.

Setting goals with rewards works very well for the high achievers. Changing rules and/or adjusting goals does not go over well with this group. They do not like the game to change, especially If they are successful with the present rules.

Great Managers are Rare
Just so you know, great managers are very rare and hard to find. They are very good at managing by the rules and dealing with the exceptions. That is one reason they are rare. Many owners/managers spend more time focused on the exceptions rather than the rules. In fact, what happens many times is creation of rules to deal with exceptions. Great managers avoid that temptation and deal with the individual event or employee instead of adding additional work or “got you’s” to the entire sales team.

Sales people are not necessarily good with paperwork, but the can do what most others cannot do and that is turn a contact into a customer. If as an owner/manager you find yourself frustrated by poor sales person paperwork stop and ask yourself:  what is it worth in future sales? Another feature of great managers is that they focus on what their employees do well and try and manage what they don’t do well. For example, hire a $15 dollar an hour clerk instead of having a high performing sales person use an hour a day to do paperwork. That hour could be worth a $1,000 of sales per day!

  Robert Counts       Chad Counts         Johnny Logel






Robert Counts, robert@countsbusinessconsulting.com; 512-693-6915

Chad Counts, crcounts@countsbusinessconsulting.com; 512-963-4626