Professional Selling Skills: Sales Motivation and the Other Guy

“Why can’t I motivate my sales team?”  Every week, I hear this issue from at least one sales manager.  Each time I receive the call, I can hear the exasperation on the end of the line.  My conclusion?  The sales manager is not the least bit motivated themselves.  There may be a variety of reasons why they are unmotivated, including circumstances in their own life or the actions of the sales team or company.  Regardless of the cause, the fact that the sales manager is not motivated means there’s no way the sales team will be. 

I believe a very simple truth about sales management and motivation.  If you want your sales team to be motivated, you have to be motivated, and your motivation level must always exceed theirs.  It’s simply not possible for a sales team as a whole to be more motivated than the sales manager.  It’s as basic as the law of gravity.  What I find amazing is that the vast majority of time when I walk a discouraged sales manager through this concept, they fail to grasp the role they play.  For some reason, they believe the lack of motivation in their people has nothing to do with their own lack of motivation.

If you’re a sales manager reading this, I suggest you ask yourself this question:  “Do I know what the personal goals of each or my sales people are and what am I doing to help them acheive them?”  Please note that I did not ask about their sales goals, but their personal ones.  Why?  If you want to help get somebody motivated, allow them to see how you are helping them achieve their goals.  Keep in mind that in reality, it is impossible to motivate anybody.  Your responsibility is to create a motivating environment and then allow the individual to see and feel what they can gain from it. 

As a sales manager, you must also rise above the fray and any petty activity going on in your company to keep yourself focused on your own personal goals.  If you’re not able to acheive your personal goals in leading your sales team, you’ll never be able to motivate your team.  And, if this is the case, maybe you shouldn’t be in a sales manager role.

If you see where I’m going with this, congratulations.  If you don’t, then you’re not sales manager material.  Motivating a sales team is not about the other guy.  It’s about you.

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