In the last three articles in this series, we have discussed teaching, coaching and delegating as imperatives that the good sales leader should master. For maximum effectiveness, each of these tactical activities must be accomplished while constantly motivating those whom he/she is leading. Leadership is not for the faint of heart. If we have not proven that statement up until now, the imperative of constant motivation punctuates the ever-present intensity of the leadership challenge. Now, how is this accomplished?
The first step in motivation is the understanding of the generic reasons people act as they do. Equally, if not more important, is the understanding of how each person defines his or her own personal success and what drives each person to achieve that success.
Almost universally, sales professionals are driven by revenue, recognition, achievement, and “winning”…no surprise here. The question then becomes, “How is each person enticed (the carrot) or driven (the stick) to reach these often elusive goals?”
The place to start this process of understanding is in the people skills or behavioral analysis segment of the benchmarking process, discussed in an earlier article in this series. Leaders will probably utilize different motivational techniques for each of the 4 basic behavioral segments. For example, the Driver Personality is more likely to be motivated by a challenge, while the Empathetic Personality is likely motivated by relationships and inclusion. An Outgoing Personality is often driven by recognition, while the Analytical is likely charged up more by the details of the selling process and can often be stymied by their own necessity for exactness.
These are simply indications of the vast differences that exist in the often diametrically opposed personalities found on a sales staff. Care should be taken to design a plan for each person that is consistent with what motivates them best.
In the early 1950s, Leo Durocher, then manager and third base coach of the New York Giants, gave Willie Mays the bunt sign in a critical situation. Mays ignored the sign and hit a home run on the next pitch. As Mays rounded third, Durocher shook his hand…but as he passed by he also kicked him in the seat of the pants. I have always thought of those diverse actions used in that situation as different ways to communicate by a leader.
Effective leaders also knows what actions are required from them to put themselves in a position other than the wielder of the “hammer.” They know how to be viewed as a leader that his/her people want to follow.
A leader needs to be trusted…so honesty is an imperative. A leader should be skilled in the strategies and tactics that they teach…so preparation and learning is required of them also. A leader should be perceptive…so learning how to recognize where remediation is needed is critical. A leader must be everywhere at once, which is impossible…so they must master the elements of both Hallway Accountability and Delegation (see earlier articles).
Motivation is truly part art and part science. The activities just discussed are steeped in both. The mastery of these and any other experience-driven tactics provide the glue that binds producer and manager. Work for them and they will work for you.
Let us hear what motivation methods you have used or have been used by leaders you report to. We’d love to discuss this engaging topic with you. E-mail us or call us at 404.324.4600.