Sales Experts

February 3, 2021

Carole Mahoney: Motivating Salespeople and Hitting Quota

Carole Mahoney, Founder and Chief Sales Coach at sales development firm Unbound Growth, joined Gryphon’s Greg Armor for a webinar to discuss the common roadblocks she sees underperforming salespeople encounter, and how she motivates salespeople to exceed their quota.

Greg Armor: What are some examples of salespeople who can’t get out of their own way? What are some examples of what gets in their way, and how do you help them see it and overcome it?

Carole Mahoney: There are three main things that I see. The first one is the need for approval. I need people to like me, I need people to see that I’m smart, to know that I’m smart, and that I can be the one to solve their problem – because it’s all about me.

The next one is emotional involvement. They get so excited about the product and the idea that the prospect is going to buy – and then crickets. They get so wrapped up in “What am I going to say next?” and “How am I going to get to the decision-maker?” and think about all of this instead of hearing what a prospect is saying, which causes them to miss the opportunity to ask really good questions.

The third is comfort discussing money. Sixty percent of sellers surveyed out of two million are not comfortable with discussing money with prospects. Finding budget, selling on value, discounting are all issues because people aren’t talking about money.

GA: Salespeople will often say that they aren’t hitting their quota because their quota is too high. What would you say to that?

CM: I’ve worked with salespeople who are underperforming. They come to me and say, “I want to hit my quota.” And I say, so what? Hitting your quota is about as exciting as getting up in the morning and paying your student loans and your taxes. There is no way that is going to motivate you and bring you joy.

When I work with salespeople who are underperforming, I ignore their quota. I know it sounds crazy, but I really do. I want them to dig in and find what their personal motivation to do anything is. A lot of them find that the reason they want to meet or go above quota is because they have things they want to do. Whether it is buying a house, saving for their kids’ college tuition, taking care of their parents, or taking a year off – that all requires a much higher level of money than their quota is going to give them.

When I get their sights set on something bigger than their quota, they shoot by their quota like it was nothing. So no, your quota is never too high.

GA: What does your t-shirt say and what does it mean?

CM: The shirt says, “not about me,” and it’s upside down and designed that way intentionally. It’s meant so that the person wearing it has the reminder that it’s not all about them.

This is something that came about from several coaching calls. I was always repeating myself, saying “it’s not about you, it’s not about your product, it’s not about your quota,” and so on. One of my clients said, “I need to remember that. I need to put it on my forehead or a sticky note.” I said that you’d never see it there as a reminder, so we came up with the idea of the shirt!

I give them to all my clients, and it came to the point where I had to put them on my website for sale because I couldn’t keep up with it – everyone loves them so much.

There are sales studies and data that says that when we make it all about ourselves, it makes it harder for buyers to open up to us and trust us, because we’re all about ourselves. There is a morals and ethics component there as well. Hence, the reminder that if we keep it focused on the buyer and what they need, it makes it easier for us to understand if we actually have the ability to solve their problem.  

Access the full webinar with Carole Mahoney.