Part 3: The Motivational Challenge

This is the third instalment of a three part series.
Read part 1 | Read part 2.


Personal motivation is important to any successful sales career and is critical to great sales performance. In client relationship management, there are many ways in which a loss of motivation that leads to a motivation challenge can be triggered.

“I have only sold one this week and my target is 1000 this year!” An over focus on long range targets at the expense of shorter term targets can trigger a motivation challenge. Focussing on a target of 4.4 per day is more manageable mentally than 1000 per year. Shorter-term performance targets are advised by all the sales directors we have dealt with.


TIP: Big annual targets can be overwhelming mentally – smaller daily targets are mentally manageable. start each day with a potential small win and build on that win.


Another important source of potential demotivation is the length of some sales processes. A senior banker worked for three years to understand the operations and build relationships necessary to secure the transaction accounts of a Federal Government department that was a major provider of public services. A construction project manager worked for four years to secure the contract to build a major hotel in Sydney. In both cases, motivation was sustained by establishing shorter term objectives that brought the end sales progressively closer. This is an essential motivation sustaining approach in sales cycles that require long gestation periods.


TIP: After a bad week, modify the daily or weekly target to get back on track to reach the annual total.


Unfortunately the management of some motivation challenges are outside of a business generator’s control. Dealing with key clients who are not able to be serviced within a reasonable timeframe for some supply capability reason and who do not have a viable alternative can be demotivating for the sales team, particularly if the relationship manager has done everything that could be done to resolve the matter. To address this form of motivation challenge, one sales executive assured their key customer that a guaranteed place in the fulfilment queue had been secured and the client’s priority position would be defended at whatever cost. This provided an illusion of action that was favourably received by the client and as a consequence revitalised motivation.

Some business generators interviewed projected an outward air of apparent confidence that on further probing often disguised personal insecurities and motivation issues that clearly required some form of coaching support. Several great sales generators also claimed that without regular holiday breaks with their family they would not be able to sustain their motivation.


In summary

Each challenge that is overcome leads to a significantly higher level of confidence, motivation and subsequent performance. Some sales executives deal smoothly with these challenges and become great business generators, whilst others only partially deal with them and coast at an average performance level and some are so overcome that they see no alternative other than to recognise that their abilities would be better suited to another type of job.

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