Top Ten Motivators

By Malcolm Fleschner

How do you get your salespeople fired up to sell more? From his more than 30 years experience as a successful business professional, author and motivational speaker Nido Qubein has distilled his theory of human motivation down to 10 key points. Consider the following as you develop your next sales incentive program.

1. Motivation is universal.
Everyone has an internal wellspring of potential motivation. For some all you have to do is open the tap with an opportunity and it gushes out. Others can only channel their internal motivation in certain directions. Management’s challenge is to find those channels.

2. We’re all going for self.
Sure, your salespeople want the company to succeed, but that’s not going to drive them to push their own limits. Show them what’s in it for them with rewards and recognition that appeal to their sense of pride and achievement.

3. Pain drives change.
Before people will change their behaviors they must recognize that doing things the same way will be more painful than following the new course.

4. This time it’s personal.
To drive behaviors, get your people to identify with and make a personal commitment to the goals you’ve established. Management must communicate why the behavior will create good things for members of the sales team.

5. Pay them well with your attention.
If you want your people to listen to you, you must first make the commitment to listen to them. Ask your staff questions that make it clear you care about them, their families, their dreams and what they’re trying to achieve. They’ll soon trust you and begin to open up about their concerns and problems.

6. Pride isn’t just for lions.
Everyone takes pride in something. Find out what drives your salespeople’s self-esteem and you will hold the key to tapping into their wellspring of motivation. When your salespeople feel good about themselves and what they do, customers will take notice.

7. Behavior reflects feelings and beliefs.
To get people to change behaviors, you have to alter their feelings and beliefs. Rather than simply training them by exchanging information, educate them by going to a deeper level that involves behavior, feelings and beliefs.

8. Perception becomes reality.
You can tell people what you expect of them until you’re blue in the face, but it won’t matter unless you back it up by living up to those expectations yourself. Employees won’t value what you tell them; they’ll value what you show them.

9. Reinforce and reward.
If you want to encourage certain behaviors, back up your words with rewards. The reward doesn’t have to be financial – sometimes a simple pat on the back or accolade in front of peers works better than a cash prize.

10. Judge actions, not motives.
A near universal human trait is the inclination to excuse behaviors in ourselves that in others we might consider character flaws. An example might be labeling as lazy an employee who’s late to work, while rationalizing our own lateness because something important came up. The point is, rather than ascribing motives to unwanted behaviors, try to deal with the behavior alone. You can’t change employees’ character, but you can offer carrot-and-stick approaches that encourage them to change their behavior.