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I am Just Not Motivated…

How many times have you heard that? or said it? The reality is there is a misconception about motivation. Most people, especially sales people, look for external motivators (income, incentives, awards). While those things can motivate for a short period of time, the results are fleeting. How then can we keep someone (or ourselves) motivated?  Here is the the formula and if you know the formula you can get the right answers…

Seeing is believing. There are two areas of Belief. First a person must be able to see others succeeding in order to believe that they can succeed. An effective leader uses promotion and stories to inspire belief. I remember going to a sales meeting with my Cutco team when I was a relatively new sales person in college at UNLV. Cutco offered a set of knives that cost over $2000 called the Ultimate Set. I remember thinking there is no way anyone would ever spend that much on a set of knives! I even hid the promotion page in the back of my sales presentation materials and never talked about it to customers. I have a very clear recollection of sitting in that meeting when my manager said, “Exciting news, Elizabeth just sold her first Ultimate Set.” He had her stand and she then proceeded to tell everyone how she sold it and that the customers were just normal people, not millionaires, but they loved to cook. I was stunned. First because this one sale made her pass me for the top rep that week. Second because I really didn’t think people would buy that set! The good news is the ‘proof’ that I was wrong led me to change my ways and I sold my first Ultimate Set within two days.  Seeing is Believing.

The second part of Belief is that a person must believe that they can be better than they are currently. They must SEE that things can get better and want for things to get better. If you or someone that works for you doesn’t believe that they can get better it is a problem that no external motivation will cure. This Belief comes from hope for a better day and a hope that things can improve.

2. What’s Next

How to get Off Hope and On Purpose. One of my favorite sales managers, Mark Lovas (, always made it so simple. What’s Next? If we don’t move from hope to action we will never realize the vision hope gives us. If we only hope things can get better we can get paralyzed with inaction and then self-sabotage — lying to ourself by saying things like “I just wasn’t meant to be successful”. The way a leader gets someone Off Hope and On Purpose, is to focus on what is next for them. When talking to a brand new rep the manager might say, “I am so excited for you to get your first sale! When are your first appointments set for?” To a new rep who has had several sales, “I am so excited for you to hit this benchmark (ex. 1st bonus or pay raise or a certain number of sales)!” To an advanced sales person, it takes a little more care. The manager must know their goals and what it will take to get their goals. Then help the rep work towards the incremental steps needed. For example lets say a rep wants to make $100,000 this year. Break out the calculator…$100,000 / $200 (or average commission per customer) equals 500 customers or just under 10 customers per week. There is no exact way to do this, the focus just has to be what is next for the rep, not the manager. Another key is to use stories to inspire and motivate. Also helping them to not just focus on the number (i.e. $100,000 income) but to focus on the lifestyle that income will bring.

3. Manage Activity

Dave Ramsey wrote in his book EntreLeadership, you cannot manage results you can only manage activity that creates results. I always tell my sales people; I can fix not selling (thats a skill), I cannot fix not working! Working a schedule and doing the right things within that schedule are THE key to increasing results. No Pain Relieving Non Productive Work! Activity for activity’s sake does not get the job done. The right activity at the right time is the key. If you have a good product and your people  perform the right activities then you will get the results you want. If you want more sales, have your people make more sales calls! For a sales person who is not selling the best thing for them to do is to keep doing appointments, the more the better. That is the only way they will get results. Results are the greatest motivator because the Belief becomes natural and the What’s Next becomes a reality.

It is that simple. The formula for motivation is,

Belief + A Focus on What’s Next + Effective Activity = Success!

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