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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Motivation, eh (2)

The low budget 1992 movie, Glengarry Glen Ross, (see video clip in previous posting) can teach us something about motivation.

I learned about the movie clip in the previous posting from a posting by WPC07834, a New Jersey based marketing consultant who has been using the forums to (effectively) promote his door-to-door canvassing consulting service. He started the thread "10 step selling method" with this question: "Does anyone have the 10 step selling method they can post or email me?"

I piped in (before someone posted the video clip) with this 10-step program, which reflects my values:

OK, here's my 10 steps

1. Hire sales reps systematically, carefully, prudently

2. Treat all employees with respect; expect the same (with accountability) in return

3. Ditto for current/potential clients and the community at large

4. Return calls promptly even from solicitations (I've converted more than a few to sales!)

5. Blog, involve yourself in your community, support associations, without worrying about 'getting business' (it will come).

6. Deliver more than expected to current clients, with respect and where possible fun.

7. Respect your clients and prospects time -- if you are going to call cold, be sure you are offering something more than just another 'offer'.

8. Recognize the power of relationships, especially within the supply chain, and position yourself accordingly.

9. Respect privacy, (I will be courteous with business callers during business hours, but never knock on my home door to sell anything, ever!)

10. Have fun. If it's a grind, find something else to do (or get someone else to do it who enjoys it.)

WPC0784's response:

Ok, Nice try but not what I was looking for. This is more like what I had in mind.

Does anyone know this?


2. Warm Up

3. Measure

4. Company story

5. Product demonstation

6. Price condition

7. pre close

8. Close

9. Button up

10. Replace the lead

I use the 3 step method.

W arm up

P itch

C lose

Ok, but what about that video clip, posted to the thread without comment by California kitchen remodeller A.W. Davis? WPC0784's initial response: "I love that part. Its pretty motivating."

I decided to take a few minutes to look into the source of that clip a little closer. Turns out, from Wikipedia, that:

Glengarry Glen Ross is a 1992 independent film, adapted by David Mamet from his acclaimed 1984 Pulitzer Prize and Tony-winning play of the same name. The film depicts two days in the lives of four real estate agents and how they become desperate when the corporate office sends a representative to "motivate" them by announcing that, in one week, all except the top two salesmen will be fired.

It turns out that the big-name actors for the low budget film liked the script so much that they voluntarily took pay cuts and (without compensation) stayed around the set for the filming-- no one needed to coerce them or 'sell' them on working on the project. Also, it turns out that, despite the film's low budget, it still lost (a little) money in production.

This takes me back to Alfe Kohn's "Punished By Rewards" thoughts regarding intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, the debate between salary versus commission, and the values and approaches we use in instilling pride and motivating sales results. I sense, reading the posts here and looking into these issues more closely, that WPC0784 are at the opposite end of a very close spectrum.

It is no secret that I detest selling models which involve pushing yourself in the face of reluctant consumers (or business owners) and instead advocate the more positive approach of systematically building on referral and repeat business (a process, incidentally, that WPC0784 uses effectively in the forums to attract clients for his door-to-door canvassing consulting service). Instead, I advocate building a talented team, with a culture of mutual respect, high performance standards (accountability) and active integration of your current business operations with the market business development for new clients. The idea is to attract the right people (with the right intrinsic motivation) to draw out the positive qualities of clients, suppliers, and the marketplace to attract and retain business. In this context, cold calling and pavement pounding have their (small) place but effective and meaningful long term relationships are the centre of the strategy.

But, when we go back to the Glengarry Glen Ross example, we find some interesting points, showing the delicious ironies here. The film's producers were able to tap into the intrinsic motivation of highly talented actors who took a (personal) financial bath to have the opportunity to play in the movie, but even a low budget, and talented stars, could not make the film profitable In the end, effectively, you may find both ends of the marketing and sales model -- the high-pressure, intense, performance based in-your-face push marketing; or the softer, more humane, respectful, and longer-range vision relationship approach both 'work'. The explanation of which approach to use, and in which context, probably relates to your own values, and your own marketplace. And as WPC0804 shows, you can use one approach (soft) to sell the other (hard). Just some food for thought.

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