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What’s your “Why”?

Recently, I’ve noticed Business Leaders asking how to motivate their sales people.  (Seems that increasing our companies’ top line revenue vs. merely cutting costs is now in vogue – who’d a thought?) 

OK fellow sale people, all together now – LET’S GET MOTIVATED!  No?  Our “Why” doesn’t quite work that way?  What now?  It seems hard for Leaders to figure out how to motivate sales people, yes?  

Many say we shouldn’t need a “Why”; commission plans and money alone should be enough to motivate us.  Amazingly, this folklore remains popular even though study after study has shown that “money alone” doesn’t even make the Top 10 list of things that motivate sales people.  

Check out this YouTube clip: 

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc 

What’s that?  We have a different “Why”?  The carrot-stick leadership approach doesn’t work for cognitive, complicated endeavors?  Sales professionals want to earn “enough money” and then seek a self-directed opportunity to get better at our profession and pursue a purpose, not just a profit?  Who’d a thought? 

What’s your “Why”?  The successful sales professionals I know have a clear “Why” while wanna-be’s, don’t.  Having a strong “Why” is certainly not limited to the sales profession.  We might agree that purpose has a link to being self-directed; self-directed links to knowing our “Why”; and distance runners are an example that personifies people with a great “Why”.  

A friend of mine, Jacque, celebrated her 60th birthday recently.  She’s been a long distance runner for many years; runs for fun.  Who’d a thought?  Her children run, too.  Even her husband did back in the day.  Now he’s her biggest supporter. 

She recently ran a half-marathon in Denver, while her twenty-something year old daughter ran the full marathon.  Daughter’s time:  about 4 hours and 12 minutes.  Jacque’s best marathon time?  3:08 when she was in her thirties.  Oh, she pooh-poohs it now.  But her time is still a family best by over 20 minutes as compared to her husband in his prime; and an hour faster than her children!  Talk about a strong “Why” – how else could she run every morning often before the sun is up?  Yep, a clear “Why” and runs for fun – who’d a thought? 

Although I’m no runner, as a sales professional I have a clear “Why”; have some fun and make some money – in that order.  It has served me well for over three decades.  Of course, I welcome a little help in the motivation department from time to time – perhaps you remember my little ditty about facing Mondays?

            http://thequoteguys.com/2011/04/mandatory-mondays%e2%80%a6/

And similar to distance runners, sales professionals are competitors, too.  In today’s tighter economy we have to be even tougher competitors to succeed.  Yet as professionals, we are motivated by a sense of mastery and we are willing to “put in the extra miles” to get better; to be more skilled; to be tougher; in order to win business.  

Like .300 hitters in baseball who earn acclaim even though they fail 7 times out of 10, sales professionals aren’t easily discouraged either.  It seems that our “Why” kicks in when we strike out.  We rely on our self-directed sense of purpose, perhaps like the great Leaders that came before us: 

Success is the ability to move from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. 

Winston Churchill 

Motivation?  I think our Business Leaders can put away their carrot and stick approach.  Connect to our “Why” and reinforce our “Will” and together we will all get to the desired “What”.                           

GAP 

Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my book, too:  The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective©  Please check it out Subscribe.

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