“I want them to charge prospects like a bull.”
“They should have balls of steel.”
“My sales people should get their teeth into our customers.”
When it comes to the performance of the sales team, some of the most creative figures of speech are thrown around. That last quote in particular gave me a lot of inspiration. So these managers want their sales force to fight harder for their customers, work themselves to the bone, and bite down and hold onto their leads.
It reminds me of my field hockey coach. ‘Passion and excitement ladies, that’s what it’s all about!’ he calls out before every game. But what exactly is passion and excitement? And how do you get Account Managers and Business Developers “to get their teeth into customers”?
Let’s see what scientists have to say about excellence in the workplace. Not until the early 21st century did the focus in workplace psychology shift from dysfunction to positive psychology. One of the most noteworthy subjects in this field is work-engagement: ‘a positive state of utmost satisfaction, marked by vitality, dedication and absorption,’ according to Bakker & Schaufeli.
Several studies show that engaged people and teams vastly outperform others in terms of creativity, revenue and customer satisfaction. It also appears engaged employees are more optimistic, have more confidence and are more involved with the organization.
So scientist prove my coach right: passion and excitement really do make for a better performance. The beauty of work engagement is that it’s infectious: it generates a positive flow. During the last Olympics, several athletes set a great example.
In my view, Churandy ‘I’m just happy’ Martina is the big hero of the London Olympics. One of the highest goals an Olympic athlete can achieve is inspire others to push their boundaries. And that is exactly what Churandy and his infectious enthusiasm do. Because who doesn’t want to have as much fun as Churandy in their profession?
That joy was also evident in Ramoni Kromowidjojo and Epke Zonderland. And what about the world’s number one soccer player? Lionel Messi is often spotted skipping across the soccer field like a calf set free in a meadow.
The 3 ingredients of engagement are clearly visible in these athletes: their vitality is expressed both physically and mentally, their dedication is translated into discipline and drive, and their absorption enables them to focus 100% on the moment of performance, without concern for potential gain or loss.
And the same goes for being a successful sales professional: enthusiasm for your work, your organization, and most importantly, the customer. The top performers are professionals who stand and go for products and services with head, heart, and hands.
Go get ‘em tiger!
In order to inspire engagement, you can influence a number of elements. For instance, optimize the balance between job demands and job resources. Examples of job resources are autonomy, social support from your manager, and the possibility for growth. High work pressure, emotional or mental strain, and conflict are job demands. The more job resources a sales force experiences, the better equipped it is against the energy drain of job demands.
Another crucial factor in passionate work is competence experience, or mastery. Nothing is more motivating than work in which you feel ‘competent,’ but which also offers room to grow. The same desire that makes us want to break our Snake or Bubble Hit top scores makes us have a lot of fun when we feel more skilled at our work.
Sales is a craft. If you and your account manager can figure out what your energy sources are, this will lead to more passion and excitement in the short term. And, why not get your teeth in a customer every now and then? Happy selling!