October 18, 2013


Sales managers occasionally tell us they are looking for salespeople who are motivated primarily by money.

They may look for candidates with a mortgage, a couple of car payments or kids in college as a way of insuring a consistent pressure for the salesperson to perform.

However, this approach can have some dangerous long-term consequences . . .

Salespeople motivated by money may come out of the gate strong, showing that they know how to sell, but later falter or just plateau.

The cause of this phenomenon is straightforward . . . the salesperson motivated by external needs or pressures will usually work to relieve those pressures, closing sales to pay off the mortgage, the car, etc.  However, when those external pressures are relieved, the salesperson will no longer have the same incentive to outperform.

On the other hand, a salesperson motivated by Need for Achievement, one of the elements of Drive, wants to do well simply for the sake of doing well.  She is motivated to raise the bar, jump over it, and raise it higher the next time.

Make no mistake; money is still important to a high-Drive salesperson.  However, she looks at money the way a great athlete looks at points on the scoreboard . . . as a measure of how well she is doing, rather than the end goal itself.

So, we, as hiring managers, need to look for candidates high in Need for Achievement, as well as the other elements of Drive.  This approach allows us to avoid the “flatliners,” and hire salespeople whose production will continue to grow over time.