On this 100th episode, Paul takes on an important topic leading into 2021: Motivation.
Have you ever been told you couldn’t achieve something?
“What’s going to motivate you into next year?”
“The sting of reminding yourself that it might not happen is only going to ….”
There is someone willing to take more risk to achieve their goals. Your competitor? Your colleague? It’s ….
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What motivates you?
(Transcribed from podcast)
Paul Reilly here welcoming you to the 100th episode of The Q and A Sales Podcast. It’s amazing how this journey has gone, going from the very first episode to where we are today—The 100th episode.
Now, on previous podcasts, I know that I mentioned I was going to revisit some of the previous questions, some of the most downloaded questions, and provide you a little more depth. The other night, I had a thought. Rather than doing that, rather than going back and answering some of the common questions that we receive on the show, I wanted to talk about something bigger, something a little more important, and that is motivation. What motivates us? What motivates you?
I’m going to share a little bit about what motivates me as a salesperson. And as we look through this show—and I’m going to share some examples and stories—you’re going to notice a common theme. This common theme is something that I’ve seen with salespeople throughout my entire career. It’s something I’ve experienced as a salesperson. And so, I look forward to sharing this with you.
Now, before we get into the hundredth show, I want to give a quick shout-out to Andrea over The Creative Impostor Studios. Andrea, thanks for all your help getting to this point. You guys do an awesome job. And if you are considering starting a podcast, if you have a platform for a show, if you’re just curious about how to do it, when to do it, and why to do it, reach out to Andrea and her team. We’re going to have a link to her website in this episode’s webpage. So please check it out.
Also, as we get closer to 2021, it is time to make this your best sales year ever. You can do this by starting out on the right foot with the right skills. So, pick up your latest copy of Value-Added Selling. It’s available on Amazon. It’s also available wherever you get your books: Barnes and Noble, Chapters for my Canadian folks. Pick up your copy. Make sure you read it, apply it, and study it and you’ll make it your best year yet.
Let’s get back to what motivates salespeople. When I think about salespeople that I have worked with, that I’ve trained, that I partnered with over the years, there are a few that come to mind; a few examples that I wanted to share with you.
This first example is actually a guy I used to work with, and he was an inside sales guy. That’s where I first met him. He’s a consummate professional. I mean, he’s always looking to build his skillset, build his knowledge. And this inside sales guy, more than anything, he just wanted to become an outside salesperson. He wanted to get out of the store. He wanted to go meet with customers. He wanted to go on jobsites. This guy interviewed for an outside sales role on three different occasions and he never got it.
Every time he’d go through the interview process, maybe the interview didn’t go all that well, or the sales manager at the time just didn’t feel like he would be the right fit. But the guy interviewed three different times and there was really no reason he shouldn’t have gotten the job. I mean, he had exemplary performance. He was constantly winning awards in his current role. He’s proven that he’s a professional salesperson, yet it didn’t happen. It wasn’t until his fourth interview that he was actually given that role as an outside salesperson.
Now he was so excited, and we were all excited to welcome him to the team. And what was amazing is that once he got out there, this guy lit it up. I mean, he was a selling machine: opening up new accounts, selling new products. If we had a promotion, he was going after it. This guy was going out there and he was selling. And I remember talking to him, because he had one President’s Club at this point, two or three years. So, he’d been in his position for a while, in outside sales and, and he has proven that he is a successful salesperson. And I remember asking him, “Hey, what motivates you?” And he said, “All those people that didn’t hire me.” Think about that, all those people that didn’t hire him. He was selling with a chip on his shoulder. He was out there to prove all those people that said he couldn’t do it, that he did it. And he did. He still does it. He still goes out there and he crushes it. In fact, he was promoted several times to managerial positions within the organization. The guy did it because he was told he couldn’t.
This makes me think of another seller that I used to work with. This guy is a top achiever in the truest sense of the word: always winning awards, always winning President’s Club, Masters Club, whatever it might be. And he had nothing to prove. Really, he had nothing to prove to anyone. So, his motivation was a little bit different, but it ran along that common theme.
I remember, he had like three huge months in a row; months where he was crushing his quota. I think he hit his yearly quota in one quarter. He was having monstrous months. And, you know, in sales, sometimes we hold back a little bit so we can make sure that we spread the sell over a couple of quarters. If we max out our bonus, we don’t want to keep going. We want to hold back a little bit. Everyone games the system.
And I remember talking to him, I said, “Man, why do you keep pumping up these numbers?” I go, “You know, you’re maxed out on your bonus and all that.” He said, “You know, there’s just something about our manager. He’s getting inside my head. He’s telling me that that’s the most I can sell. He’s telling me that I couldn’t sell anymore, even if I tried.” He said, “Every time I think about that, it makes me want to go out there and hit it a little bit harder.” And similar to the first example, he was told he couldn’t do something. He was told he reached his full potential. That’s what was motivating him is, again, someone telling him he can’t.
I remember, early in my sales career, I was taking over a new territory—really a great territory. I was excited. And the previous salesperson in that territory was training me. We were driving around, going to visit with different accounts, and we pulled past this one account. It was a, it was a concrete-type of company. And, and he said, “Don’t bother calling on them. That’s going to be a waste of effort. Nobody’s ever been able to crack that account.” As soon as he said that, man, that lit a fire and I asked him, “Why is that?
And he shared the story, the background. And our company, at the time, had a terrible record with that prospect. We just really, Oh man, we stepped on our own feet. We did all the wrong things when trying to pursue this account in the past, and it really burned some bridges. So I made it my mission, on that day, that I was going to win that account.
And the more he told me it couldn’t be done, the more he told me, “Oh, you’re wasting your time,” the more I wanted to prove him wrong. And again, that made me think: What motivates you? What motivates us and what motivates me is similar to what motivated the salespeople in the two examples before is when somebody tells you you can’t do something.
Walter Baggett, he said that the greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do. And I can’t help but think that is what really motivates salespeople. You know, I’ve never shared this story with anyone. Actually about eight years ago, seven-eight years ago when I was getting ready to get out on my own as a sales trainer, speaker and consultant, I remember thinking about it. And so I was taking a big risk, making a leap of faith. And at that point, I knew that I needed a nudge. I knew I really needed to think about why I was doing this. And so, what I decided to do was I actually wrote two letters. These were letters that I wrote to my future self. And the whole idea was, ten years from now, I have two letters that I could potentially read.
Now, the first letter was really a letter of remorse. It was a letter that I was writing to my future self saying, ‘Paul, you didn’t achieve your goals. You know, Paul, you’re not financially secure. Paul, you’re not living in the house that you want to live.’ It was, more or less, a letter to my future self highlighting all the things that I didn’t achieve. I’ve got to admit, that was pretty depressing.
Now, the next letter that I put together was a congratulatory letter to myself. It was a letter saying, “Hey Paul, congratulations! You have achieved what you set out to achieve. You’ve been able to help salespeople. You’re able to have that house that you wanted. You’re financially secure. You achieved the goals that you set out to achieve. Congratulations.”
I remember looking at those two letters, thinking, “You know, ten years from now, I’m going to have to decide which letter I want to read. Do I want to sit there and read that remorseful letter, that letter filled with regret, filled with all the things that I didn’t achieve? Or do I want to read the letter of all the things that I have achieved?” And as I looked at those two letters, something happened inside of me. I decided on that day that I was not going to live with regret. Win, lose or fail, I was going at it full bore. I was going to make sure that I put the effort in. I made sure that I was going to read that second letter, that congratulatory letter.
Sometimes when we’re looking to take a chance, when we’re looking to take a risk, we need to do something to highlight what we could have, and also to highlight what we might not have. We have to highlight what we know is going to be important to us. We have to highlight what we’re trying to achieve. We have to highlight that vision. We have to remind ourselves of that. And the sting of reminding yourself that it might not happen is only going to motivate you further.
So, as you think about this year, it’s been a tough year, no doubt about it. I want you to think about what motivates you. What’s going to motivate you into next year, the year after that, the year after that? What is it going to be? For me, it’s always been telling me I can’t.
So, to close things out on this episode—this 100th episode—I wanted to share a couple of thoughts. This isn’t really a poem, I’ll say, it’s just kind of a couple of things to think about as we close out the show.
“Keep up the work.”
“You’re doing all the right things.”
If you want me to fail, tell me those things.
Nothing will make you swell with pride like affirmation.
Nothing will make you rest on your laurels like affirmation.
If you want me to fail, give me affirmation.
“This could be better.”
“This is not your best work.”
“I don’t think you can do this.”
If you want me to succeed,
Tell me that I cannot do something, then I’ll do it.
Place an obstacle in the path to my goal and I will break through.
Give me a headwind and watch me take off.
Throw me into a current and then watch me swim.
Push me down then watch me get up stronger.
Put me at the base of a hill and watch me climb.
Tell me it’s impossible and I’ll prove that it’s possible.
Tell me that I’ll fail and then watch me succeed.
Here’s the truth. There is someone who is a harder worker than you. There is someone who is smarter than you. There is someone who can achieve more. There is someone who is willing to take more risk to achieve their goal. That someone is not your competitor or your colleague. It’s your potential.
All right, folks. That is the 100th episode.
Make it a big day.