Paul Charles & Associates
                        Sales Management Consultants
In This Issue: 
 Money, Ego, Fear...
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Sales & Marketing Newsletter
Did You Know?

Just as a group of fish is called a school, and just as a group of geese is called a gaggle, a group of frogs is called an army.

An Army of Frogs:
A Motivational Story

One day, an army of twenty-two frogs was hoping through the woods. Two of the frogs were younger than the rest of the army, and this was the first time they had been allowed to travel along with the more senior frogs.

Suddenly, the unthinkable happened!

Possibly because they were not as familiar with the surrounding area, the two young frogs fell into a deep hole.

As the army watched in horror, the two frogs tried desperately to jump out of the hole...

But the hole was too deep. Even worse, each attempt they made to escape their fate came with injury and pain, as they repeatedly hit rocks and roots along the wall of the hole as they tried, in vain, to jump out of it.<

The leader shouted at them to stop!

"Stop jumping, the hole is too deep! You're only making it worse," he said.

"You should accept your fate; sit at the bottom of the hole and wait. Either you will die peacefully or, with luck, a heavy rain will fill the hole with water and you'll be able to float to the top and swim out."

One of the two young frogs did as he was told, but the other continued his efforts to leap out of the hole, his head and face becoming more and more bruised and bloodied due to hitting the wall.

Soon all of the frogs joined the leader in shouting for the young frog to stop! But it seemed the more they yelled for him to stop, the more determined he became.

Suddenly, with a mighty leap, the young frog jumped out of the hole!

The army was stunned...

The leader said, "We are happy you were able to free yourself from such a terrible situation... but why did you continue to jump when we were all telling you to stop?"

At first, the young frog seemed confused or surprised by this question.

Then, with an understanding smile, he said, "Oh, is that what you were all screaming about? I'm a little bit hard-of-hearing and I thought you were cheering me on!!"


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 Managing Quotes
"The wishbone will never replace the backbone"
—Will Henry 
"One of the most difficult decisions you'll ever face in life is whether to walk away or try harder."
"A leader is a dealer in hope."
"People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision."
—John Maxwell 
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Money, Ego & Fear

Most business leaders or sales managers agree that motivating the team is an important part of their job. Naturally, there are a number of ways in which people might go about this task.

Money, ego and fear are considered the primary motivational tools... except for a certain percentage of managers who believe that people should motivate themselves!

For the rest of us, what might be the best choice?

Research shows the most effective approach involves a “healthy” combination of all three methods, the mix will vary depending upon your personal leadership skills, situation and team composition. Here are a few guidelines:

Money – An Extrinsic Reward
Studies clearly indicate that compensation alone is not a sufficient motivator of a sales force – or anyone else, for that matter.

For example, as referenced by Richard Bakosh of Accenture, “financial compensation is analogous to the lowest tier of needs in Maslow's hierarchy; it is basic and important, but it touches upon only one dimension of motivation, and a comparatively low-level one at that.”

Similarly, as a Conway Management Company newsletter article points out, the traditional carrot & stick approach to motivation – if you do X, then you will get a bonus/commission (carrot) or, you will get to keep your job (stick) – is not a long-term solution. In fact, studies show that the impact of such extrinsic rewards wears off over time and, sooner or later, the rewards become expected!  At that point the rewards no longer motivate, but their absence de-motivates!

Even discretionary rewards or bonuses can backfire. Bakosh cited examples of how inconsistencies or “black box” components of compensation plans served as de-motivators. When sales people became unsure about the criteria associated with their bonus or commission plan, or about how to interpret formulas or components of these plans, they quickly lost trust in both the company and their managers.

Ego – Belief in a Job Well-done
If fundamental motivators such as compensation are at the lower end of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, then maybe managers should look for motivational strategies at the upper extremities – the areas associated with success. Sales people tend to thrive on success.

Two such areas are the need to belong and feel a part of a group, and the need to be held in esteem and receive recognition.

It is important to recognize that, while the esteem associated with recognition by management is an important motivational factor, the recognition from a peer group is also critical to motivating the sales force. Sales managers can make good use of these motivational tools by publicly recognizing achievement or desired behaviors during sales meetings or team conference calls. This presupposes, of course, that team meetings are a regular component of the sales management system (see related article).

At the top of Maslow’s list we have "self-actualization," something he often called a "growth need"—“striving to live up to one's potential,” Barkosh explains. His research revealed two key principles associated with this need:

  1. First, people are motivated to satisfy the lowest level of unmet need
  2. Second, a satisfied need cannot serve as a source of motivation; for example, a starving person can be motivated by the prospect of attaining food, but a well-fed one cannot

This might indicate that “one’s potential” needs to be a moving target, and that sales managers are better off focusing on promoting success as opposed to carrots and sticks.

Author Jeff Ernst refers to this concept as The New Rules of Sales Enablement, a theory that is based on enabling sales professionals to maintain high levels of motivation by providing the necessary infrastructure and an environment in which they can succeed.
His perspective is consistent with Barkosh’s, which revealed that sales enablement tools – such as reducing quote cycle times, getting better documentation and developing a product that is more easily differentiated and therefore easier to sell – were among the things that motivated salespeople the most, because they promoted success.
Along the same lines, it is equally as important for sales managers to promote a belief among sales people that the job can, in fact, be done and that they are capable of doing it and doing it well. 
Possibly Zig Ziglar summarized this concept best when he said, “A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else thought they could."
Fear – Bottom of the Barrel…?
Finally, we have the concept of using fear as a motivator, which might be looked upon as a double-edged sword.
While the “stick” has proven to be among the least-effective motivational tools, and one that often retains
“C players” and repels “A players,” fear of loss can be a strong motivator. This fear is not associated with a form of punishment or ridicule, but is typically associated with “not” achieving a desired level of success. Examples might include the fear of “not” making President’s Club, the fear of losing a customer or the fear of losing the respect of one’s peers or management.
In summary, the research referenced above is consistent with our observations over the past decade. The best motivators are those who recognize financial incentives alone cannot inspire positive attitudes or bring about the behaviors necessary to achieve sustainable growth and staff loyalty. These managers and leaders are able to incorporate trust, self-esteem, social recognition, strategic communication and enablement into their motivational strategy, and tend to be by far the most successful motivators over time. 
And for those who don’t believe in the importance or effectiveness of motivation, we’ll refer once again to a well known Zig Ziglar sound bite, “'People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing--that's why we recommend it daily!”

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A Few Quick Seconds…

Here are a couple of related articles from past issues you might have missed, and which generated especially positive feedback:

Are You Interested?
Whether you are a sales manager, business executive or business owner, becoming "interested" is an important component of driving your organization's sales effort and motivating the team…

Read full article

Selling to the Salesforce
If we, as managers or business owners, don't continually reaffirm the true message with our sales people, how can we be sure that they are expressing it properly? How can we be sure they haven't forgotten? Or that they haven't succumbed to the fears and doubts that are forced upon them each day in a seemingly hostile, uncaring marketplace?

Read full article


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