The LKC - Not All About The Money - What Else Drives Your Sales Team?

LK Consultants regularly seeks experts in their field to help bring additional value to readers of The LKC. Please enjoy today’s special guest post by Michael Lynch, Sales Expert and Coach.

There is a difference between the desire for performance-based income and being motivated exclusively by money.

Salespeople typically fall into the “motivated by money” generalization. Most important, they want to be paid commensurate with their efforts. Top salespeople parlay their salary, commissions, and other incentives into being some of the highest earners in their company. Money is important, but there is more to understand about their underlying needs. The challenge in many sales organizations is that they tend to overlook the unique motivations and drivers of each of their producers, and this lack of understanding hurts productivity and retention.

Carrot/Stick Incentives

The stereotype that underlies “salespeople are only motivated by money” comes from the carrot/stick incentive, which is defined as extrinsic motivation. If Julie sells more, we pay her more. If Ted doesn’t hit quota, he earns less than he would if he had. Therefore, most sales compensation plans come from the understanding that more is better and vice versa.

What happens when salespeople are not extrinsically motivated?

Recently I was introduced to a salesperson (Sally) who was unproductive in spite of having classic sales stereotypes. She was a go-getter, outgoing, loved people, and natural at building rapport. Unfortunately, carrot/stick tactics were not working for her. Her employer then made a decision that changed the paradigm. Sally completed an online assessment (personality profile) that exposes her values and motivations. She scored high in altruism, which is defined as “the principle or practice of unselfish concern for, or devotion to, the welfare of others.”  Sally was motivated by seeing how her product/solution was making a positive impact in the lives of her customers. This need outweighed her desire for money. She worked with her manager on how to apply her true motivations in a way that brought maximum value to her customers. Sally felt a dramatic increase in job satisfaction, and in her paycheck. Two problems solved simultaneously related to performance and retention.

Money is not the only motivation for sales producers.

Altruism is one of several potential drivers for salespeople. Here are a few more:

·         Aesthetics, the desire to achieve balance and harmony.

·         Economic, more than compensation, the need to see return on investment, bottom line results.

·         Individualistic, the desire to be unique and stand out from the crowd.

·         Political, the need to be seen as a leader and in control of one’s environment.

·         Regulatory, ones need to establish order, routine, structure.

·         Theoretical, the desire to gain knowledge and discover the “truth.”

Sample assessment (c) Michael J. Lynch

Sample assessment (c) Michael J. Lynch

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There are two consistent requests that I get asked most often:

1.       How do I find the best salespeople?

2.       How do I retain my salespeople after investing time and effort into their development?

Business success is measured in human capital. You have access to tools and information that allow you to make smart decisions. To reach optimal performance you must understand WHAT natural talents your people possess, WHY they are motivated to use them, and HOW they prefer to use them.

How well do you understand your people? How effective are you at relying solely on subjective information when interviewing new candidates? You can do much better. Let’s have that conversation now.


Michael J. Lynch is a Sales Coach. He helps his clients maximize sales revenue by demonstrating how to discover and develop the natural talents of their sales producers.  The best sales organizations invest in the development of their people. You improve the sales process and grow revenue when you assemble the right people who are best suited to accomplish your sales goals and objectives. 

Michael has more than 25 years’ experience in sales and has represented NBC Television and Callaway Golf prior to establishing his consulting business.

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