1 How well Sales Representatives perform depends on many factors. One major one involves just how much they want to succeed. The term “motivation” describes this factor. In broad terms it means the drive to perform any activity.* The term “motivating Sales Representatives” describes the efforts made to make their desire to succeed in their position as strong as possible and to maintain it at that level.
2 One approach to achieving appropriate motivation patterns in Representatives involves giving them the opportunity to satisfy their needs.
The Needs Of Sales Representatives
3 Every individual strives to satisfy certain needs. A knowledge of the particular needs characteristic of Sales Representatives as a group will help Sales Managers who wish to achieve an appropriate motivational pattern for their Representatives. Most Sales Representatives will want to satisfy several or all of these needs listed below:
(a) Self-Respect – Most people need to respect themselves. Representatives who rate their work as important and who believe they represent a worthwhile Company and sell a worthwhile product will feel more satisfied with their job than people without this feeling/belief.
(b) The Respect of Others – This need related to a person’s status, prestige, and standing in the community.
(c) Self Expression – Most people like the chance to express them selves to others.
(d) Job Satisfaction – People need to class their work as interesting and useful.
(e) Opportunity – People do not like to feel they work in a “dead-end job” – they like to have something to which they can strive.
(f) Security – This need relates to feeling relaxed, happy and unworried in situations. Representatives who believe they may lose their job or work in a situation where they receive conflicting instructions will feel insecure.
(g) Competition – Many people like the opportunity to compete against others and to excel in their chosen field. However, too much competition and repeated failure in competitive situations will not help a Sales Representative to feel secure.
* See the Notes on: “Definition: Motivating” for a detailed discussion of the term “Motivation”.
(h) Self Determination – most Representatives will like a position where they can take part in the planning of their own activities, i.e. they like to have some say in their own destiny.
(i) Adequate Remuneration. Usually Representatives compare them‑
selves with others who do the same job. Provided they get the same as these others, usually they feel satisfied.
Importance of Motivation
4 The work of many Sales Representatives involves knock backs and disappointments. After a good deal of hard work someone else can beat them to a sale. They can lose a good Customer. A continuing decision to keep striving will prove necessary to help them overcome these difficulties. Even when Sales Representatives have made their quota of sales, they still require an appropriate motivation to make the one extra call and to prepare their reports accurately and on time. Some Representatives feel uninterested and apathetic about their work. They see it as a means of livelihood and no more. Thus their job satisfies only one of their needs. An appropriate change to their motivated pattern can release a vast reserve of productive energy which can increase sales.
The Importance of Attitudes
5 The attitudes of Sales Representatives toward their work, towards people, and towards their company and its products rates as particularly important. Sales Representatives with a suitable motivational pattern will have the right attitudes, prejudices, and manner of thinking. Sales Representatives with marked prejudices carry a handicap. They will find some people they cannot easily like. Often this attitude makes it harder to sell to these people – and, if they sense the prejudice, nearly impossible.