When Michael Jordan came out of retirement for the second time, he said he needed the competition -- the chance to prove himself against younger players -- more than the money. Many successful businesspeople who could afford to retire keep on working. After all, Warren Buffett still picks stocks.
Successful people find fulfillment in the work itself, and not just the money they earn. That doesn't mean they would work for free, but they do get more from work than a large payday.
Frederick Herzberg wrote, "The manager's job is not to motivate people to become successful. It is to get them to become successful so they become motivated."
How about you? Are you motivated by a perk or by the work?
Walking home from the third grade, my friend Steve told me that he was going to be $1.25 richer that evening.
"My Dad gives me 25 cents for every 'A' I get on my report card," he said.
That night at dinner, I told my father that I thought it would be a good idea to pay me for my good grades.
"Son, you go to school to learn. The 'A' is the reward. It indicates that you've learned something. Someday, you'll go to work and earn money by applying your knowledge. But for now, enjoy learning for its own sake," said Dad. Every night, I'd see him reading. Today at age 81, he still loves learning for the sheer joy of it.
Extrinsic vs. Intrinsic Motivation
Giving people money to do what they should be doing anyway is called extrinsic motivation. Many sales managers believe by offering salespeople bonuses, they can drive behavior. Make your quota and get a big-screen TV. Sell a million dollars' worth of product and win a trip to Tahiti. Right now someone is trying to invent the next big-sales incentive program and sell it to sales managers to motivate their sales teams.
You may, however, have noticed that there is a tremendous amount of satisfaction when you close a sale. You have achieved an objective, and you feel good about it. That's intrinsic motivation -- finding joy in the work itself. Yes, you get paid, and sometimes very well. But you are deriving satisfaction from the work, not the paycheck.
There is one other thing that can increase your motivation to sell more, and that's a happy customer. When you satisfy a customer by solving his problem, you will be more passionate about your product, service and company.
You make a sale, earn a commission and create a happy customer. The new, happy customer will help you approach a fresh prospect with more confidence to make another sale. You earn more money and create another happy customer. You are now more successful and, therefore, more motivated than you were yesterday.
There are three vibes that successful salespeople give off to customers:
1. I'm glad to be here.
2. I know what I'm talking about.
3. I love what I'm doing.
You may not love your sales career yet, and there may be parts of selling that you simply tolerate. Until you become motivated by the work itself, managers will keep trying to manipulate you with extrinsic motivators. They'll keep dangling the carrot, and you'll keep chasing it.
H. Ross Perot tells us that "most people don't know why they come to work until they don't have to come to work anymore." Many people believe that work is God's punishment for not being born rich. Another view is that work is a way to structure your life and be of service to others. Before you go back to work, jot down five reasons why you're returning to work besides the money -- five good things you get from work besides a paycheck.
Now you are starting to focus on the intrinsic motivators. And salespeople who are intrinsically motivated are more fulfilled and financially successful than extrinsically motivated salespeople.
However, if you happen to win a big-screen TV or a trip to Tahiti along the way, enjoy.