Motivation: When the student is ready, the teacher shall appear.By: Bob Del Bianco
The shelves of the big box book stores are over flowing with self help guides ranging from How to fix a broken relationship to 12 easy steps to Fortune and Fame. Everyone seems to agree that the knowledge exists to achieve your dreams, it's not exactly unexplored territory, so what stops 85% of the population from getting to it? Anyone who has tried to motivate another person from the outside-in, knows how futile this effort can be. Motivation comes from with in. Managers need to learn that people act their way into new ways of thinking not vice versa. If those books came with a requirement to take the steps (via a personal coach guiding them along the way), eventually the inner motivation would come when the participant began to see the results of his/her efforts.
In the retail automotive sector especially, managers complain that the average sales person is too lazy to get up from his or her seat to greet an incoming prospect, let alone work to excel at the job. They use the word "lazy" a lot and often practice the "one moves away from pain more readily than towards pleasure" method of motivation. I've seen many ultimatums passed to cowering salespeople over the years and almost always an improvement in performance is short lived, they more often quit than stay. How can you create an atmosphere more conducive to excellence? How do you instill confidence in a disillusioned team?
The missing element in any poor performing sales environment is Pride. Despite the myth that sales people are self absorbed and egotistical they are usually caught in the trap of external validation, it's probably what attracted them to the job in the first place. Anyone who subjects them selves to the high incidence of rejection that is a core element of the job must derive a tremendous satisfaction from the proportionately few times they are acknowledged. It's part of human nature to take rejection personally, so the only way to lessen the impact of the outcome is to focus on the method or process that precedes it. It's not as easy as it sounds, we are measured by our results not our intentions, everything revolves around the "close" and the looming monthly target.
I've seen transformations take place only when the steps in the process become like strokes of the artists brush or slices of the carpenter's plain. If either concentrated solely on the finished product their work would suffer. They concentrate instead on the moment, taking pleasure in every part of their creation. They have a mental picture of what the piece will look like in the end, but only as a guide. Each product is unique. Each interaction with a prospect must be as unique. The salesperson who thinks only of the close is doomed to disappointment 60 to 70 percent of the time. Doing everything with enthusiasm and taking pleasure from the process is the key to developing pride in one's work.
Giving sales people the approval they crave for a job well done should include recognition for perfecting the steps along the way. Many excellent programs exist to measure the progress of the sale, attaching significance to them is relatively simple. Berating someone for losing the sale only confirms their belief that what they do has no relevance beyond the profit generated by the financial transaction at the end of the cycle. Of course we are more than this. Everyone feels it intuitively and are diminished when a manager suggests otherwise. Pride in one's work is vital for self esteem and longevity in any career. Look upon your sales team as students, accept the fact that there will be a learning curve and work to instill them with pride.
© copyright 2002 Qualified Users of Ethical Sales Training (QUEST)
The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. ManagerWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. ManagerWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.
Would you like us to consider your own articles for publication? Please review our submission and editorial guidelines by clicking here.
You might also be interested in: