Q&A with Nancy – How to motivate your team

by Nancy on August 15, 2011

Q: I have had a direct sales business for a little over four years now. And I have big goals for myself and my Unit this year. I love my team but I find myself trying to motivate them to build their businesses despite the fact they almost seem resistant to do so. How do I get through to them?
~ Janice

A: Janice, if I had a dollar every time I heard this question in some form. The challenge in a direct sales organization vs. let’s say, a regular sales organization is that you are not the boss of the people on your team. If you worked for ABC company, as the sales manager, you would have the authority AND responsibility of hiring the right people and firing the wrong people. In direct sales, your team members are all their own bosses in charge of building their own business.

The first thing I want you to consider is this – external motivation typically doesn’t work. It is at best, short-term. You may be experiencing this when you find yourself having the same “pep talk” over and over again with the same people.

The second thing to consider is the 80/20 rule that applies to most things in life. 80% of the outfits you wear come from about 20% of the clothes in your closet. 80% of your sales typically come from about 20% of your customers.

This 80/20 rule applies to every segment of the population, as well. If you look at any sales team, 80% of the results are produced by 20% of the team. And this 20% breaks down further into 5 and 15 percent. 5% are your sales superstars and 15% have the potential to become superstars.

Now here, the most fascinating thing about the 5%. If you gave them no resources, no support, no mentoring, they would STILL find a way to succeed. It is their nature. And the 15%, by offering them some resources, support and mentoring (nurture), they may take it and run with it and enter that 5%.

But here’s the BIGGEST piece of advice for you – that 80%, even by giving them all your support, resources, knowledge, pep talks, mentoring, even money – will NOT move. It’s not because they are bad people – it’s because it’s just not their time. Maybe someday this will change because of something internal that shifts in them – but it will NOT change because of something you do or do not do for them.

So here is the last thing to consider. When you look at your team and you give them an opportunity to step up into the 5 or 15% segments (which is always determined by them taking an action you ask them to take – a self-selection process, if you will), this is how you decide who to spend your time with, how much time to spend with them AND how many more new people you will need to recruit for your team to reach your goals.

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