"EVERYONE lives by selling something," wrote Robert Louis Stevenson. I will always remember the first sales course I ever attended and the definition of selling that was drummed into my brain.
It went like this: "Selling is the art of creating a desire in the mind of a buyer and satisfying that desire so that buyer and seller benefit."
Now that may seem a bit old-fashioned for many of today's salesmen and this is not an article about selling, but I believe the principle still holds true.
If you want to get one of your team to do something, then you need to communicate your instructions to him. Of course you could just "tell" him to do whatever it is you want, and lots of managers do just that.
However, that is not what being a motivational manager is all about, and "telling" just makes your job a lot harder.
There is sometimes a case for "telling", but it is harder work for you because no one will continue to do what you want unless you keep telling them.
Your team members are your "internal customers" and you need them to "buy" from you in order to get the job done. And in order to get them to buy, you need to be a good salesman.
I am sure you have heard the phrase, "you need to get someone's 'buy-in'". You also need good sales and persuasion skills when you are dealing with your colleagues and even your boss.
I have started to talk about salesmen and buyers because I believe that we are all salesmen and buyers from the moment we enter this world till the moment we leave it.
A baby crying for food, attention or a change of nappy is trying to persuade you to take action. If you do not respond to this initial request, then he steps up the volume until you do. Because you love that child, because you care, you are very open to his persuasion.
So, it follows throughout our life that if people care about us, if they respect us, if they have good rapport with us, then they are more likely to respond to our persuasion.
The sales or persuasion process is very much part of our world, and it is far better to sell than to tell. A manager will get much further with the people who work for him or her by selling rather than telling.
If people understand the benefits for them, then they are more likely to respond in a positive manner to those who supervise them.
In any sales or persuasion situation, you should be looking for a "win-win" outcome. This is when you obviously benefit as much as the other person.
If this is not the case and it is a "win-lose" situation, then instead of the words "selling" or "persuasion", you may be talking about manipulation, control or coercion. However, as any good salesperson or negotiator knows, a "win-win" outcome is what you should always be aiming for.
It follows that if you want your team members to do something and they see a benefit for themselves or they are just happy to do it for you, then you have a "win-win" situation.
American author and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar said: "You can get everything you want in life if you just help enough other people to get what they want."
So whether you like it or not, selling and persuading are constant realities in your work and personal lives, and you need to utilise these skills if you are to be a successful motivational manager.