How to Help Salespeople Stay Highly Motivated

Mike Schultz, President, RAIN Group

A bright motivational sign sitting on a desk

A Gallup study found that disengaged employees cost companies $300 billion in lost productivity each year.

That’s quite a price tag.

It was also revealed that only about one-third of American workers are engaged with their work.

As a sales leader, these stats should alarm you.

How productive is your sales force, actually? How much are disengaged sellers costing your company? How can you ensure your sales team is actively engaged and producing?

The RAIN Group Center for Sales Research recently studied 2,377 sellers and professionals to determine what the most productive people – The Extremely Productive (The XP) – do. Part of what we found was that it’s highly possible to manufacture your own motivation.

An infographic displaying habits but the hacks to these habits

Nine Ways to Boost Your Own Motivation Levels

Habit 1: Recruit Your Drive

The XP are exceptionally more likely (74 percent) to be very driven compared to The Rest (34 percent). Drive isn’t necessarily innate, though, as The XP take specific actions that contribute to maximizing their drive.

  • Hack 1: Choose Your New Reality: If you don’t know where you’re going, any path will get you there. To build your motivation, you can start by defining your goals – choosing your new reality of where you want to be. The XP are much more likely (40 percent vs. 12 percent) to have written goals.
  • Hack 2: Plan Actions Weekly: Once you know your goals, align your monthly, weekly, and daily actions to them. Develop a plan that will help you reach your goals. The XP are two times more likely to plan priorities and work activities weekly.
  • Hack 3: Track Progress Weekly: Maybe you set your plan for the week and, when Friday rolls around, you look back and find you’ve made progress on only two of your five key priorities for the week. What happened? What did you do instead? Was that the best use of your time?

    The XP are much more likely (76 percent vs. 34 percent) to hold themselves accountable for what they told themselves they were going to do.

Habit 2: Ignite Your Proactivity

The XP are exceptionally more likely (67 percent) to be very proactive compared to The Rest (25 percent). As with recruiting drive, being very proactive isn’t necessarily innate, though, as The XP take specific actions to getting started on difficult tasks.

  • Hack 4: Calendar Investment: If you have something important to work on that’ll help you make progress toward your goals (see Hacks No. 1 and 2), put it in your calendar. If you devote time to work on your most important activities, you’re much more likely to do them. The XP are 2.7 times more likely to calendar their investment activities.
  • Hack 5: Talk to Yourself: A great way to boost your motivation is to practice positive self-talk. If you tell yourself you’re not any good at something or can’t do it, then that will be your reality. Instead, tell yourself you can – or be realistic about the help you need to get there. The XP are much more likely (43 percent vs. 18 percent) to practice positive self-talk.
  • Hack 6: Say, “3…2…1…Go!”: Sometimes it can be challenging to be proactive, especially when the project you need to get started on is big, overwhelming, or daunting. Rather than procrastinate, count down from 3 and just get started on it. Dig in. The XP begin immediately 3.5 times more frequently than The Rest when they think of activities they should be doing.

Habit 3: Reengineer Your Habits

The XP are exceptionally more likely (63 percent) to have work habits that contribute significantly to being extremely productive compared to The Rest (12 percent). We found that The XP are more adaptive – able to change their habits and adopt new ones when they found doing so would make a difference. This had much to do with the following hacks they employed.

  • Hack 7: Say, “When I, Then I, Will I?”: Everyone has bad habits they need to stop that hurt their motivation – and good habits they can adopt to increase it. One way to change these habits is to plan in advance how you’ll respond to specific triggers. For example, if you want to start the habit of implementing a morning routine (see Hack No. 9), you can say to yourself, “When I first get to work, then I will immediately start my five-step morning routine.” To commit even further, ask yourself, “Will I do this?” If you say yes, you’re much more likely to follow through and do it consistently.

    The XP are much more likely (32 percent vs. 10 percent) to plan in advance how they’ll respond to triggers that impact their productivity.
  • Hack 8: Change Your Environment: Your work environment impacts your motivation. The XP are much more likely (56 percent vs. 17 percent) to organize their work environment to maximize productivity.
  • Hack 9: Make Your Morning Routine Sacred: The most productive and motivated people have a consistent morning routine that contributes to their success. The XP are much more likely (57 percent vs. 22 percent) to have a morning routine that starts the day off right.

Sellers who adopt these habits and hacks will see a sustainable rise in motivation across the board.

Headshot of Mike Schultz

Mike Schultz is a bestselling author of Rainmaking Conversations and Insight Selling, director of the RAIN Group Center for Sales Research, and president of RAIN Group – a global sales training and performance improvement company. He and RAIN Group have helped hundreds of thousands of salespeople, managers, and professionals in more than 75 countries transform their sales results and unleash their sales potential. Follow Mike on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.