Nov 19, 2002

In Management, One Size Does Not Fit All

Most salespeople discover that you cannot sell all customers
the same way. Some are interested in savings, some in service and some in status.
Some can be pushed a little, others like to be in control. Great salespeople
learn to customize their sales presentations to the thousands of customer
types. However, many owners and managers stop customizing when it comes to
their employees. This article will look at some of the sales profiles you may
have on your team and ways to get the most out of them.

Some owners feel they are the boss and should not have to
play games with their staff. If you look at motivation-like selling, you will
see that it needs to be tailored to the "hot buttons" of the
individual. Try this interesting test. After you read the article, make a list
of all your employees, and indicate which type you think they are. Next, you
might ask them what type they think they are or ask a spouse or manager which
types they believe each employee is. Start motivating based on the type you
believe the employee is.

Family Members

Hiring family members is extremely dangerous. First, there
may be family issues such as sibling rivalry. Second, unless you make it very
clear to family members that they must contribute to profit to keep their job
and institute normal monitoring procedures, you are setting yourself up for

The Challenger

Some salespeople respond best to a challenge. They want to
accomplish difficult tasks, and the more difficult the challenge, the harder
they will work. Be sure to challenge them. For example, make sure they know who
is number-one in the country in sales for your brand and challenge them to meet
or beat them. You also might tell them the most that was ever sold at your
company in a single month and challenge them to beat the mark.

I once bet a salesperson $500 that he couldn't sell once a
day for 30 days. He did it. I lost the bet but made a lot of money from all
those sales.

The Cash Seeker

I have met many salespeople who are cash poor no matter how
much they make. Sometimes it is because their spouse is very strict with money,
sometimes it is due to financial problems. Whatever the reason, if you have one
of these types on your staff, offering immediate cash rewards for achieving
goals can be very effective. This type responds best to quick payouts--instead
of paying $500 for a great performance for the month, try paying $20 each day a
certain goal is met.

The Approval Seeker

There are salespeople who are motivated by their need for
approval. These individuals need to be praised everyday. If you have any of
these on your team, you will find removing your approval can be a great
motivational tool as well. Remember that these people need approval daily. You
can't tell them they are doing well and then forget about it for a week or so.
The more you give approval, the more they crave it.

The Gratitude Seeker

Similar to the approval seeker but this person wants
gratitude. You might call them in on a regular basis and tell them how grateful
you are for the money they are making the company or for help they have given
you. Giving thanks is inexpensive and can go a long way.

The Future and Security Seeker

Some salespeople are looking to build a career on a solid
foundation. They want to know where they will be in five years. They want to
feel that they can retire with your company and move up in the ranks to the
top. If you have no plans for the future for them, they will be de-motivated
and begin looking around.

The Discipline Seeker

Some salespeople like to be disciplined and have tight
rules. Don't be fooled into thinking this type will obey the rules. Often, they
will go through a period of defiance of rules hoping you will rein them in and
discipline them. Once they see you are an organized, strict and relentless
manager, they will follow your directions and enjoy the discipline. This type
will, of course, keep testing to make sure you can control them, and if they
ever feel you cannot, they will leave. However, if you can control them, they
know they will make more and enjoy your company.

The Example Seeker

Some salespeople work best when led by example. If you want
them to prospect for two hours per day, you have to prospect for two hours per
day. This type follows your example and so you must be careful as to the type
of example you are setting. Every decision and comment tells them how you see
your customers and business.

Do you recognize any of your team in the brief examples
above? If you are having trouble motivating and keeping staff, it may be
because you are trying to lead them all the same way. Learn to enjoy the
differences that make us unique. It will not only keep your life interesting,
it will allow you to motivate a wide variety of personality types.        

About the author

Carl Davidson is the founder and president of Sales & Management Solutions. This New York-based company has been offering video and live training for the water equipment industry for almost 20 years. More than 4,000 companies in seven countries use these training and consulting services. To find out more, call Davidson at 800-941-0068.