How To Inspire Sales People To Do Their Best

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

The sales team works hard. Most put in long hours, study diligently and follow the plan. However, are all doing as well as they can? Are all of your sales people actuallyRoad sign Inspiration working as hard, trying has much and giving it all they have? In short, are they doing their very best?

Below are some effective ways to help you motivate your sales people to do their very best and try their hardest. After all, often the only missing ingredient between success and failure is that last little push.

Money is Not the Prime Motivating Factor
First, find out what it is that truly motivates each sales person. Understand that on the surface, and even to the sales person, that motivator may appear to be the money, but it is not. The sales person who is motivated by money, is really inspired by the things that the money will do for him or her. The person’s desire is the results, lifestyle, power, influence, fun or any number of a thousand things that the money will provide.

Your job is to find out exactly what it is that money provides that powers the sales person, and use it as the proverbial “carrot.”

Uncover Past Feats of Great Inspiration
In attempting to discover what a sales person’s motivating triggers may be, look to a time in his or her past, for a demonstration of great inspiration. Everyone has a story when they persevered through enormous adversity to succeed. Everyone has a story about when they would not stop, would not give up and won against all odds.

Such an experience could have been in a business setting, or something personal like overcoming a health problem, passing a difficult test, getting a degree, pursuing a member of the opposite sex, quitting smoking or learning to swim. Everyone has a situation where they pushed their hardest and succeeded.

You should get to know your sales team on a level more personal than just business. Take an interest in their lives and get to know them. In doing so, uncover one of those great challenges, and see what was the underlying motivation.

Perhaps it was love, or the feeling of power, or being in control. Often, it is recognition and pride. The point is that you want to take those past underlying motivational triggers, and use them today.

The Marathon
As an example, you ask a sales team member to explain the greatest challenge he has ever faced and overcome. The reply is that he trained for years, tried and failed many times, but finally he completed a full marathon race.

You next ask him to explain why he went through so much effort. Why was it so important and what drove him to keep trying? He tells you that it was simply to be able to know that he was capable of doing it.

Obviously, self-satisfaction and inner pride are driving issues for this sales person. You then use such ideas during your personal motivating meetings with this sales person.

“You know Steve, it is extremely tough and may take a lot of tries to do it, but if you can hit 45 sales in one month, you can take pride in knowing that you are the first person to ever reach that goal in the first year with the firm.”

Perhaps the marathon runner’s answer was that she wanted to prove all of those people wrong who said that she could never do it.

“Sarah, if you could close 45 sales this month, you will prove me and other managers wrong…”

Do It Again
Please understand, I am not talking about trying to manipulate people nor am I suggesting some psychological mind games. I am simply suggesting that you find what motivating factors led someone to overcome great obstacles in the past, and use those same factors in the present. In fact, do this to and for yourself!

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image courtesy of Nattavut at

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 27 January, 2012

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