What Motivates Gen Y Salespeople
One of the hot topics amongst a lot of my clients is what’s going on in the head of Gen Y salespeople, so I thought I’d get some insights from my daughter, Christine. She sells photocopiers like I used to, and she was the salesperson of the month in February – I’m a very proud dad!
Dean: We talked about the fact that your core motivation has to be helping customers because if you don’t care about the customer you’re serving, you shouldn’t be selling what you sell. But outside of that, what are the things that are motivating you in your sales role? You’re doing really well—obviously, I’d like to take all the credit—so what’s motivating you?
Christine: I think one of the things is definitely the competitive nature of the sales industry, so being in a team, one with basically all boys, has been a bit of a driver, because I love beating the boys. Coming from a background doing a lot of sport as a child, too, so being competitive is one massive driver. Another driver is being able to learn constantly. So being in the photocopy industry or in the tech space, it’s evolving constantly, and there are always new things to learn. Also, learning about new businesses. Every day, I go and see a different business, so I keep picking up new things—not just about photocopiers and stuff—but I learn about the businesses themselves.
2. Commissions and Incentives
Dean: What about money? It seems to be a dirty subject at the moment. Commissions, and should commissions motivate people or shouldn’t they motivate people? How much does or doesn’t the ability to earn extra money motivate you?
Christine: Massively. I think being on a commission structure’s really positive. Earning and getting incentives, too. I love hitting targets so I get incentives, but also for myself, knowing that I’ve set a task and I’ve hit it.
Dean: A lot of people are saying incentives are bad because they motivate people to do deals that aren’t in the interest of the customers. How do you balance that out? Is that something that you think about? Do you think that’s real? What are your thoughts?
Christine: Well, I think you’ve got to think about the long-term there. If you want to keep your customer, you need to have a good relationship with them, and they’re going to figure out pretty quickly if you’ve done something wrong. Putting the customer’s needs first is always going to assist you in the future when you want to roll the contract over, upgrade them or sell them something additional, so you always have to put the customer first.
Dean: What about referrals and asking for referrals? Is that something that’s top of mind? What are your thoughts on those?
Christine: I didn’t ask for referrals in the past, but I’ve been doing a little bit of your training, and I have asked for a few referrals. One of them came through recently. He referred me to the people that are moving into the extra rooms in his office, so we’re seeing how that goes. I have a meeting with them soon, and I only got that because of the referral.
Dean: Another huge theme we talk a lot about is peers and the importance of being surrounded by a team of people who are also committed to the customer, to success, and excellence in learning and understanding about their product. I know that you love beating the boys, but what’s something that you admire about another salesperson in the team?
Christine: I admire someone in my team because they’re so good at following up. They really stick to a schedule. They make sure they put their tasks into Salesforce, and they always make sure that they get them done, or they move them to a date that they know that they will complete it. I find that their ability to set appointments is much easier for them than it is everyone else, because they’ve so thoroughly followed up, and they know where everything’s at.
Advice for managing Gen Y salespeople
Dean: If you had one piece of advice for the sales managers out there who are managing you crazy Gen Y kids, what’s one thing that you’d pass on to other sales managers?
Christine: I think making everyone compete against each other a bit. So the incentives I think, works really well for our generation. I know it definitely works well for me. I think it’s great to incentivise smaller things within the team. Not necessarily about who sells the most, but smaller things that get you towards your target, like who gets the most appointments or who’s done all their follow-ups for the week, small things where everyone can compete on a pretty much even playing field.
Hope you guys find these Gen Y thoughts from Christine very valuable. Remember, All consistently good beats occasionally great. I’m going to be educating, sharing ideas with, and probably learning a heck of a lot more from other Gen Y-ers, so stay tuned!