A director tells an actor to walk across the stage, pick up a glass and say his line.
Actor: “What’s my motivation?” Director: “Your paycheck.”
Sound familiar? Unfortunately, as salespeople, there may be more truth to this than we care to admit. And why not? Sales can be a lucrative career. Compare that to acting where 85% of the Screen Actor’s Guild members make less than $5000 a year. If money were the chief motivator – there would be a lot fewer actors in the world!
Most salespeople would quickly turn and run from such odds. What drives actors if not a love for what they do and a consistent striving to improve? What motivates you?
“The man who does not work for the love of work but only for money is not likely to make money nor find much fun in life.” Charles M. Schwab
How much effort do you put into your career when business slows down or competition heats up? Do you jump from job to job in search of that perfect combination of right product, right client and right timing? Or will you, like dedicated actors, continue to hone your craft, finding new ways to adjust and grow?
Financial Motivation Equals Efficiency
Say it along with me: “Sales is a numbers game.” True, but beware! When approaching anything from a strictly financial motive, efficiency becomes your master, and any performance, whether you’re acting or selling, driven by efficiency creates cookie-cutter behavior and limited time devoted to finding creative solutions. And if there were ever a need for creative solutions – it would be now!
How to Find Your Most Powerful Sales Motivator
Here are some steps taken from professional actors that I’ve adapted to sales to help you find and put into action a strong, personal motivation:
1. Change “What Do I want?” to “What am I Fighting for?” Wanting is passive; it’s just a feeling or desire with only the potential to lead to action. On the other hand, think back to the last time you fought for something. Was it a job? A relationship? A parking spot? No matter how trivial it may seem to others, if it’s significant enough to you, even that first cup of coffee in the morning can be worth fighting for.
2. Think about your personal stakes: Are you fighting to keep your job? To earn money to pay the mortgage? Are you fighting for respect? Power? Attention?
3. Does your product/service serve a greater purpose? Who does it ultimately benefit and how: the client, the end user, the community? Put a face on them; get to know them. How does it feel to know that you are contributing to changing someone’s life for the better?
4. Commit to it. When you’re fighting all of your senses are engaged. You are emotionally charged, determined. You consider all the possible ways to reach your goal. You commit to attaining A and you will not settle for X, Y or Z. You do not hit a speed bump and head for the first exit.
5. Choose a New Action. Most of us end up taking the same actions or reactions – even when they have failed to work for us in the past! Replacing habitual actions with a different active word can trigger a whole new attitude, increase physical energy and open up new opportunities for growth. For example: Notice the difference in your attitude or energy when you focus on unveiling a feature as opposed to simply telling someone about it.