Motivation Equation And Orientation
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When we break motivation down to its most fundamental
level, it’s either inspiration-oriented or desperation-oriented.
Whatever action we take, we are moving either toward
something we favor or away from something we disfavor.
The majority of the world uses desperation as a motivator.
Desperation is like a cattle prod forcing you to move
forward and take action. You can motivate anyone on
your team with desperation. The problem is that motivation
spurred by desperation does not last. When desperation
is the motivator, sales reps are in an “away from” mentality.
This kind of motivation is fleeting, arising only when
threat, fear or discomfort is present. If you want motivation
to last, you need to rely on inspiration. When your
team is motivated by inspiration, they’re moving of
their own initiative because they want to and are excited
to, rather than because they are being forced to. Motivation
becomes long term when it taps into a person’s inner
While the inspiration approach is certainly the more
appealing of the two motivational methods, sometimes
there has to be an element of “desperation.” I don’t
mean that you want to cause your team members to feel
despair, but sometimes things that push us away have
to be present just as much as things that draw us near.
The main reason for this recommendation is that if inspiration
isn’t quite enough, your prospects may just simply fall
into inactivity. That is, they fall into a comfort zone.
I’ve developed a grid that maps out the different motivators,
their varying degrees and the effects they have on others.
Draw a horizontal and an intersecting vertical axis
on your paper. On the left of the horizontal axis, write
“Desperation.” On the right of the horizontal axis,
write “Inspiration.” At the top of the vertical axis,
write “Internal” and at the bottom of the vertical axis,
write “External.” In the Internal Inspiration quadrant,
write the letter “A.” In the External Inspiration quadrant,
write the letter “B.” In the Internal Desperation quadrant,
write the letter “C.” In your last quadrant, External
Desperation, write the letter “D.”
The central region is the comfort zone, where we experience
complacency. How do you get someone on your team to
move outside the middle? Let’s start with the short-term,
easy form of motivation, quadrant D, where we find external
desperation. You apply an external pressure to force
someone into action. In other words, your team members
must do what you say or they’re fired. “Hit these numbers
or pack your bags.” Sure, it will work temporarily,
but long-term consequences will result.
The next area of the Motivation Equation is quadrant
C, where we find internal desperation. Desperation motivation
can be made internal if you can use your prospects’
sense of duty or obligation to get them to move. Internal
motivation works something like this: “I’m getting paid,
so I guess I have to do this. If I don’t do this, the
team will miss its quota.” You can see that in both
of these examples, the person is acting of her/his own
initiative but only out of obligation or to avoid a
So, is there a place for either of these latter two
motivational approaches? Yes, but use them sparingly.
Most teams will not put up with this treatment unless
they know it is tough love. Every once in a while, when
other things have failed, you can use these types of
motivation. You have to let your team know not only
that there are positive consequences for their actions,
but if they don’t perform, there may be negative consequences
as well. There has to be a baseline or a standard from
which to evaluate the situation. Your team members can’t
think that no matter what they will always have a job.
Let’s face it — sometimes we all need a kick in the
pants. When we do resort to this approach, it’s usually
a negative circumstance based on desperation. Just don’t
go overboard or take it to the extreme. Make sure before
you use any negative reinforcement that your sales rep
has the tools s/he needs to get the job done. Does s/he
need more training? Does s/he know exactly what you
expect and how to do it?
The next quadrant is quadrant B, where we find external
inspiration. Here, it is still external factors that
influence you, but this time in a positive way. You
are inspired and energized rather than acting simply
to avoid pain. External inspiration is getting on the
right motivational track because it can grow into internal
inspiration. Sometimes, this quadrant is referred to
as “borrowed light.” It’s OK to be guided and inspired
by borrowed light until you’ve lit your own flame. At
least this kind of motivation keeps you progressing
in a positive way. Even with external influences, this
type of motivation can produce long-term effects because
it is inspiring and thus begins to tap into your inner
The best type of motivation is internal motivation,
as shown in quadrant A. This quadrant is what we call
passion. There’s no stopping the person who has found
inspiration that is purely internally driven. You can
wind her/him up and s/he’ll go on forever.
Hopefully, this chapter has given you lots of ideas
on how to help individual team members as well as your
team as a whole feel more motivated. As I said earlier,
this material will apply to certain people in certain
situations and will help them learn to find the right
tools. The point is, you possess the knowledge and are
equipped to take on any situation. Review this chapter
anytime you need to give your team a boost, or even
just to keep current momentum going. Of course, any
of these suggestions may be adapted to suit your team’s
1. Why is the mindset of your sales force the foundation
of your success?
2. What are three ways in which you can praise and recognize
your team? How will you implement these strategies?
3. Gallup Consulting Group has spent more than two decades
interviewing hundreds of thousands of salespeople in
an effort to help corporate clients form and develop
their sales teams. Its findings suggest that the top
four qualities of top-tier producers are: 1) solid closing
skills; 2) self-motivation; 3) strong work ethic and
4) excellent people and relationship skills. How can
you implement these four qualities into your sales team?
About the Author:
Everyone persuades for a living. Whether you’re a
sales professional, an entrepreneur, or a stay at
home parent, you must convince others to your way
of thinking. Find out more at www.PreWealth.com
and get my free report "10 Costly Mistakes."
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