Part 3: The Truth About Motivating a Sales Team

Ensuring people are motivated to succeed is a critical part of managing any team.

During my sales management workshops there are a number of “truths” that we work through, together with a couple of exercises that help everyone in the room recognise how to both motivate their team – and maybe more importantly – stop doing the things that demotivate them.

So today, let’s talk about;

  • How successful managers motivate people to achieve greater things
  • How most managers actually de-motivate their teams
  • The member of your team who is hampering success and demotivating others

Not so long ago a study was carried out to try and work out what it was that genuinely motivated people at work.

As part of this study a large selection of managers and their staff were asked to put in order of importance a list of key motivators.

I run through the same list at my FAME Sales Management workshops – and the sales managers top choices are always very similar

They believe their teams are motivated by things like money, job security and good working conditions.

But it helps to understand the similarities here to certain Customer Service principles with regards to this part of the management process.

The way I present these principles during our customer service training days is to through the explanation of something called Satisfiers and Dis-Satisfiers.

As an example, if you order Fish and Chips at a restaurant and the food is served cold – you would complain.

You expected hot food – that was the deal – you want what you were promised – so you demand that it be put right.

One Dis-Satisfied customer

However, if it was served hot as promised you wouldn’t write a letter to the manager thanking the staff for hot food – because you expected it to be hot.

Things that you were expecting to happen cannot Satisfy you – they can only Dis-Satisfy you when they are missing or go wrong.

When you offered me the job, you promised to pay me a certain amount of money if I turned up every day and did the work – that was the deal – that is now an expectation.

And you cannot motivate me or satisfy me with something I was expecting – only demotivate me by getting it wrong.

Same with job security and good working conditions – why wouldn’t I expect that?

Whereas, things that motivate are the things I’m not taking for granted.

Helping me to feel in on things, having my back and helping me to become better tomorrow than I was yesterday – stuff like that.

The next thing to bear in mind, is the thing that most new managers screw up really badly.

Not so long ago, during darker times, the secret police of a particularly harsh regime created a psychological torture that was designed to break the will of anyone who opposed them.

I run through the whole list during my FAME Management Workshop – but here’s a few you might recognise;

  • Knock self-confidence by regularly assigning menial tasks in front of peers
  • Change regular procedures without reason or consultation
  • Demoralise with discipline after they fail to complete impossible tasks
  • Ensure you are emotionally unpredictable in their presence

That’s part of a psychological torture list – but it might as well be the management playbook for some of my worst bosses.

And you know, most managers are doing this kind of thing by complete accident – they’re just trying to get the job done – they’ve no idea of the harm they’re doing.

The final piece of the motivation jigsaw that I’m going to share with you today is an internal threat that I like to refer to as Lobster People – take a look at the video and article at this link; How Do I Motivate My Sales Team – and make sure that Lobster People don’t infect the thoughts or hinder the achievements of you and your team

So, let’s assume that you have mastered the first three quadrants regarding managing salespeople. You know exactly what you and your team need to be focusing their efforts on; you’ve worked out which tasks are your responsibility and which one your team should be working on to make your job as easy as possible – and you understand not only what motivates a successful sales team, but also know how to avoid the things that will demotivate them.

Tomorrow, I’ll share with you how to put a together a simple coaching template that will enable you to understand exactly what it is that’s holding your sales team back and what you can do to help them exceed even the toughest sales target.

To your success


Chris Murray

PS: If you missed any part of this Sales Management Mini Course here are the links:

Sales Management Mini Course Part 1: The 3 Numbers that Really Need Your Focus
Sales Management Mini Course Part 2: Every Sales Manager Should Be Told This


Interested in finding out more?


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Our Sales Management Open Workshops show you how to piece together the four main elements of successfully managing a team – Focus; Accountability; Motivation; Education – and show you how to get the best out of everyone involved.

At the end of this workshop delegates will be able to:

  • Work out how to focus on the real tasks that need to be achieved – and find a way to ensure every member of their team is doing that too.
  • Create a culture where every member of the team understands that they are accountable and responsible for their own success – and recognise exactly what that makes them accountable for.
  • Genuinely motivate people to over deliver -and even more importantly – learn how to make sure you don’t demotivate them.
  • Coach the entire team to greater things – learn how to give them a net of their own rather than continuously feeding them individual fish.
  • Feel competent and confident enough to conduct staff discipline in a professional (and legal) manner.


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