I was reminded the other day of a dilemma occurring more and more on the sales floor when it comes to motivating a salesperson to do the tasks that their role demands of them, especially with budgets not being met as speedily and sustainably as one would want. A sales manager at his wits end was no longer confident in his ability to motivate a couple of team members and asked for my thoughts.

Now when I talk about motivation, I don’t mean the rah-rah, pump your fist in the air and shout out affirmations type of motivation, rather what creates a motive for action for and within any person.

I mean, it’s an age old question – Aristotle talked about it, Frederick Herzberg addressed it in the 50’s and 60’s and Dan Pink talks about it in his current day book, ‘Drive’.

Just because it is an age old question though, doesn’t mean the age old answer of ‘the carrot and the stick’ is the only answer.

There’s a different conversation occurring in many environments and it is being taken up by those that ‘get it’. The successful strategy of up-skilling sellers over and above product and sales methodologies, and more in line with philosophies and psychology is paying huge dividends. Take the ‘soft skill’ of ‘communication’, as an example – According to the Mitchell Communications Group, a lack of this skill alone cost business $37billion in the US and UK each year! Who would think interpreting someone’s words, actions and meanings would cost $36K per employee! And communication is SO much more than ing.

And then take the introduction of social media, there is a whole new set of skills and motivation required today – connection, engagement, collaboration and the debatable writing skills salespeople need to either have, or not have. With social media budgets having doubled over the past few years, then that brings with it a whole new set of ‘social skills’ that also includes a base line of motivation – a motive for action.

Here are a few ideas to chew over as a result of my conversation with this sales manager:

Sales Leadership and Motivation Best Practices


Motivating a sales team is not woo-woo! It is needed for survival.

If you do not have a sales team who are motivated, that is, have a motive for the action you want them to take, then you will continue to get little action and when there is not enough action or activity of the right kind, then there are no results of the right kind.

It’s a no-brainer.

Sales leaders are as much responsible for their sales as their salespeople.

They are responsible for the motivation and best practices of their people, the action or non action of their team as well as the results or non results of their scorecard.

Be Bold, Brave and Brilliant

Bernadette McClelland is CEO of 3 Red Folders – a modern day saleswoman and keynote speaker on business growth, personal leadership and sales performance.

BIO: Business environments wanting to increase their revenue and profits, and differentiate themselves in a competitive market, ask for Bernadette McClelland because of her thought leadership on sales performance, her ideas on thinking beyond resilience and her fresh perspectives surrounding personal leadership skills — all designed to master the outcomes that matter.

Bernadette has proudly coached Harvard MBA students on their sales enablement curriculum, been the Master Asia Pacific coach for Anthony Robbins across twelve countries, authored five books on leadership and sales transformation, won a coveted Telstra award for Business Excellence, and continually shares her ideas around behaviour, the brain and business growth on stages in the UK, Europe, Thailand, India, NZ, Australia and North America.

Believing that sales performance is a leadership issue, you will also find her heading Melbourne’s human potential based sales performance consultancy, 3 Red Folders, as she navigates lead generation, message to market and digs deep into sales process activities with her clients in the mid-tier sector as well as founding ‘Women Who Sell’, an initiative designed to bring more women up to speed in their sales success.

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Image courtesy of Sarah Joy

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