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How do I motivate my sales team?
(Transcribed from podcast)
We are on episode 102. And today, we’re going to talk about the rules for motivating your sales team. You know, in our previous episode, episode 100, we talked about how salespeople are motivated. I shared some stories and that. Well, today we’re going to get a little more tactical. These are some of the things you can do as a sales leader to help you motivate your team. And it’s also a couple of reminders when it comes to motivation. So, we’re going to get into that in just a moment.
Before we do, a quick shout-out to our sponsor, Andrea, over at The Creative Impostor Studios. You know, podcasting does not have to be as hard as we might think. If you’re thinking of launching a podcast or getting one started, reach out to Andrea and her team. They can do a wonderful job of just helping you get started. All the tech that you’ll need designing a platform, developing everything from the show notes to how often you should publish your show. So, anyway, reach out to Andrea over at The Creative Impostor Studios. We’re going to have a link to her website on this episode’s webpage.
Also, Value-Added Selling is available wherever you get your books. I know there are sales leaders listening to this particular episode. As a sales leader, you help set the tone, and you’re also a sales coach for them. So, pick up a copy of Value-Added Selling. Familiarize yourself with the content. Use the tips and advice in there to help you train and develop your team. It’s available wherever you get your books.
Let’s get into that question. What are some of the rules of motivation? How can we motivate our sales team? That’s where we’re going to focus on today’s show. The first thing we need to remember is that you can’t really motivate someone. And I know that might sound a little shocking saying —. “Well, sure you can, Paul.” Here’s what you do. You end up creating an environment where people can motivate themselves.
That’s the first rule you need to remember with motivation, because, as a sales leader, it’s probably frustrating for you. When you’re trying to interact with your team, when you’re trying to get them fired up, when you try to, when you try to surround them with the passion you have for your vision, yet they’re not on board with it. I realize that that is frustrating. The key is we got to remember that we can’t really motivate someone. Instead, what we do is we can help create the environment. We can manipulate the environment so that it creates a motivational environment for them. When I say manipulate, I don’t mean that in a negative way. We have to tweak the environment. We have to look at how we set things up, how we set up our team for success. What are the things we can do to create a more motivational environment for our sales team. Create an environment where people can motivate themselves and they are going to sell much more effectively, more passionately, in this year.
Tip number two. Remember that people do things for their own reasons, not for your reasons. As a sales leader—as a sales coach—one of your primary goals is to understand what motivates your team. What keeps them going? What do they— what are they really trying to achieve? And what are the reasons behind that? The more you can understand that, the more likely you are to help create a motivational environment. And so, keep in mind that your reasons for wanting them to achieve that goal might not align with their reasons. And we have to understand at a deeper level, what’s important to them, what matters to them. And once you understand that, you’re more likely to be able to motivate your team.
Think about this, the same way a salesperson has to motivate a buyer. They have to get to the root cause of their desire, what they really want to achieve. Once they tap into that, it’s easier to sell. The same is true for you as a sales leader. Once you tap into what really motivates them—what they care about, their reasons—then it becomes easier for them to align with your objectives. So, remember, people do things for their own reasons, not for yours.
Also, the third one, and this one is absolutely critical. People rise or fall to the expectation they are given. That means if you expect more from people, you’re generally going to get a little more. If you expect less, you’re also going to get less.
I remember working with a client of mine and the goal of this project was to analyze their sales team and figure out why they weren’t hitting their objectives. What’s going on? And after I did all this research, there was one common theme. And the common theme was their leadership team expected nothing from them in the way of performance. They didn’t have sales targets. They weren’t given goals. I talked to their sales team. I go, “What do you expect your salespeople to do?” And it was clear that no one had a response.
And I said, “If you don’t know what you expect from them, they don’t know what to expect either. People rise or fall to the expectation that they are given. And one of the worst expectations we can give someone is zero expectation.
This has been proven in so many ways. This has been proven in so many ways. There’s a famous experiment. Back in the 1960s, Rosenthal and Fode, they conducted a series of experiments on rats. They had several participants train different rats to run through a maze. Now, some of the participants were told that they were going to train smart rats. These smart rats were determined by their genetics. Their genetics proved that they were smarter.
Now, the other group was told that they were going to be training dumb rats. These rats were proven to be dumb because of a genetic analysis and all that good stuff. Well, as you can probably guess, the smart rats did perform better on the maze, and the dumb rats performed poorly. But not for the reasons that you may suspect. You see, there was no real difference between the rats. The rats were the same. The only difference was in the behavior the experimenters showed toward the actual rats.
The researchers were told that they received smart rats. The researchers that were told that they received smart rats, they developed a higher expectation of performance. For the other experimenters—the researchers that were told that they got dumb rats—they had lower expectations and that translated into their behavior as they drove that expectation into the rat.
You see, what happens is we rise or fall to the expectation that we are given. So, if you expect more from people, that’s generally what you’re going to get. If you expect less, that’s also what you’re going to get. Make sure you’re [raising] that level of expectations.
And the last tip here today, it’s important that when we’re trying to motivate our employees, that we challenge them, but we don’t make them feel defeated. People—. There’s an optimal level of challenge where if a goal is too challenging, we’ll give up, we get frustrated. But if it’s not challenging enough, it’s like we don’t even care. We won’t even get started. Our goal is to find that sweet spot. And if you want to read more about this, there’s a famous law called the Yerkes-Dodson law. And basically, it’s like the Goldilocks Rule. You don’t want it too hot—too cold—you want it right in the middle. That’s where you want the goal to be. You want it to be challenging enough to where it stimulates the person, but you don’t want them to get defeated. You don’t want them to feel overwhelmed. You don’t want them to feel like, “Okay, there’s no way I can achieve that.” So whatever goal you have set for yourself, for your team, just make sure it challenges you a little bit. If it doesn’t give you a little bit of angst, you probably need to raise that expectation. Because remember, the last thing we want to do is set a low bar for ourself or for anyone else.
All right, folks. That’s the show for today. Four things to remember about the episode: Number one, you can’t motivate people. Instead, what you do is you create a motivational environment for them. Number two, people do things for their own reason, not for yours. Number three, people will rise or fall to the expectation that you give them, so keep aiming high. And then finally, make the goal challenging enough so that it stimulates them, but not too challenging that it defeats them.
Make it a big day.