Can you be bought? What inspires you to extra effort? Will you do anything to win a trip even at the expense of your relationship with your customer? Obviously to the heads of Enron and WorldComm and a huge number of people in the financial industry, massive amounts of money overrode all other considerations. How do you feel about that?
Surveyed employees usually put money as 3rd of 4th in importance
As a management consultant for an international company specializing in small to mid-sized businesses, my co-workers and I often surveyed our clients’ employees to find out what was most important to them in their jobs. Interestingly, money was the most important motivator to only a fraction of the people we surveyed. For most, there’s more to life than money because they ranked it third or fourth in importance. Ahead of money were things like job satisfaction, recognition for a job well done, being part of a successful team, challenging and rewarding work, flexibility in work schedule, educational opportunities and opportunity for advancement.
Especially fascinating is that most small business owners and their managers were surprised. To most people I’ve known, this position sounds strange for a sales trainer and former sales manager to make. It is universally accepted that you motivate sales reps with money and material gain, like trips and bonuses. The thing is, I myself, am rarely motivated solely by money – and I have noticed lots of other salespeople who aren’t either.
Don’t get me wrong, money is a strong motivator for us, or we probably won’t make the effort to overcome a natural reluctance to make prospecting calls and deal with rejection day after day. Besides that, few really good salespeople work only a 40-hour week. We’re studying, researching for prospects, preparing presentations, or doing paperwork, sometimes even attending networking events after normal work hours.
Heart centered salespeople put clients ahead of immediate gain
But heart centered salespeople prefer the soft sell approach. As such, you won’t pressure clients just to win a trip or a bonus. Soft sell means that you care about serving the customer first; making a commission follows. Because of this, you may work extra hard to win a contest; you may even talk with your prospects about moving up their timing, but you value your relationships and your prospects’ trust too much to use high-handed techniques to manipulate them into buying now just for your gain.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs applies to sales rep motivation too
To understand this better, look at psychologist Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The most basic needs motivate people first. These form the foundation, the bottom of the pyramid. As you satisfy those needs, they lose their ability to motivate you to take action so you progress up to still higher needs. The higher you fall on this pyramid, the more likely you are to value heart centered sales and marketing. Keep in mind, as things in your life change, you can regress down the steps to more basic drives.
Remember, salespeople are people too. That means some are definitely motivated strongly by money and achievement; they respond well to hard sell. They love the game of “I win; you lose.” But the more you operate from Love/Belonging, Esteem, and Self-Actualization, the more likely you are to find greater satisfaction in heart centered sales and marketing that uses soft sell over hard sell. For you, there’s more to life than money alone.
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