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You might be an old-school sales leader if...

The Six F's of Maximized Seller Engagement

· leadership,engagement

If you believe your employees are leaving because you’re not paying enough, your problem-ship probably left the dock long ago, and you missed it.

Had a fun discussion while teaching a sales leadership workshop in Dallas yesterday. It’s rare when everyone agrees on something, but this group of sales leaders all seemed to rally around these facts:

  • Pay is an EXtrinsic motivator. It’s just one element in why we, as human beings, do what we do.
  • If your team relies on just pay to stay and do their best, you’re likely doing it wrong.

You may be an old-school sales leader if you believe:

  1. “Sales people are coin operated” 
  2. ‘If a rep isn’t driven by money, I don’t want them”.

Turns out, those perceptions are only 1/6th of the drivers of full salesperson engagement.

For those of you who have known me a long time, I give a lot of F's. I have the Five F's of building revenue capacity, and now, the 6 F's of Maximized Seller Engagement. Here they are:

The 6-F's of Maximized Seller Engagement

FEEDBACK: We, as human beings, are driven to be recognized. Gaining status for our achievements, either through validation or through title is a driver. We are driven to achieve new heights - but not just for the personal satisfaction, but for the visibility of doing so.

FORECAST: We, as human beings, are driven to be able to predict our future. We subconsciously desire certainty in our lives. When we go to bed at night, we sleep best when we know what we’ll be waking up to the next morning. When we go to work each day, our personal engagement is at its peak when we are able to forecast our day. Inconsistency drives the brain crazy, lowers engagement and also lowers overall effectiveness.

FREEDOM: We, as human beings, crave control, autonomy and the trust of others. While we say we don’t like to be micro-managed, it’s actually a subconscious desire, too. Our personal freedoms are a driver of motivation to do our best, and when we require others to do the majority of our work, we actually become less engaged in our efforts.

FAMILY: We, as human beings, seek to be a part of family - which equates to safety. As nomads in packs, all we needed to be was slightly faster than the slowest person in the pack to ensure we wouldn’t get killed each day. When we're alone and not a part of something bigger, getting eaten is more likely, so our performance would degrade due to us being more in survival mode. When we come to work each day, being surrounded by those who have our backs is important to achieving our best.

FUNCTION: We, as human beings, are driven by purpose. When what we do each day matters, we are inherently more engaged in our efforts. What does what we’re selling mean to our customer’s customer? What does what we do mean to my peers, and to the future? Often, when our work really matters, that’s enough. Think of those who invest countless hours to charity - the function of their efforts drives engagement.

FAIRNESS: We, as human, beings, desire balance between our efforts and the received/perceived reward. Notice we’re not talking about dollars and compensation. The reward takes the form of many things, including the other five F’s listed above. At its core, “is the juice worth the squeeze”? Do my efforts come back to me in terms of reward?

In other words, compensation is a small part of why people come to work each day, perform their best, stay, and tell their friends. Ping-pong tables, beer on tap, and catered lunches are an even smaller part in the world of sales engagement. When we create environments where sellers are validated and recognized, know what they’re getting into each day, given the tools and freedom to do their best, surrounded by people they care about and who care about them, driven to a purpose that matters, and provided with apt rewards for their investment, they perform better, stay longer, help recruit, and contribute to an environment where others flourish.

Variable compensation wins when it’s the REWARD, not the MOTIVATOR. Optimize for the six F’s, and this world where the supply of sellers is so much lower than the demand becomes less of an issue for your organization.

As always, please feel free to reach out if you are looking for a speaker or training workshop for your organization, or just want to nerd out on some of this stuff. Email to, or you can just reach out or follow me on LinkedIn or Twitter, too.

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