I once had the choice between six smart engineering students to hire a summer intern. They all had good things to recommend them. When I made my choice, the students’ professor challenged me. I picked a poor foreign student with an accent. He asked what was wrong with the other students, and pushed them on me. I told him nothing was wrong with them. They were all good kids. Then he asked why I picked Jimmy C. I told him that he had more drive.
What motivates sales people is a subset of what motivates people. The common response to the question of sales motivation is money. Many people assume that because someone is “coin operated” that is a sufficient indication for motivation. Can you find someone who is coin operated? You can. But coin operation is often circumstantial, and may not be consistent over time.
Motivation isn’t always demonstrated by forecast achievement either. Many things affect sales forecast, for example a rising market.
Motivation to do or accomplish anything comes from two sources. One is external (i.e. money, prestige, etc) and the other is internal.
In the case of sales, I call this internal motivation, Drive. Drive is different from other words we associate with the successful sales rep. I’ve heard words like, desire-to-win, competitiveness, and so on to describe the characteristic for a motivated rep. Some of these may be externally motivated.
Drive is the harnessing of innate internal motivation to accomplish great things. It gets to the core of who we are. Why we exist, and why we get up in the morning. This motivation can be as different as desire to succeed, or at the opposite pole, simple survival. But we don’t need always need to determine why. Like the Heisenberg uncertainty principal, it is difficult to both determine position (why) and the mass (what).
So the strongest indicator of Drive is past behavior. What has the candidate done to demonstrate Drive? Have they run a marathon or a triathlon? Have they overcome adverse circumstances? Have they started and run their own business? How have they reacted to failure? Are they a working mother going to night school?
Drive isn’t always just hard work. It requires hard work, but it often involves some element of risk. Has the candidate achieved something while taking a calculated risk? Have they faced a fear, subjugated it, and or succeeded in spite of it?
In Jimmy C’s case, the odds were against him. He managed to leave his birth country and learn a new language. Like the other students, he held a degree in Electrical Engineering. But he was also pursuing another degree in software engineering at the same time. His grade point was 4.0. And he was working to pay his way through school. He was taking some risks. He was smiling while he did it. He was driven.
Look for drive.
Do Great Things!
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