The 6 Motivators That Inspire Reps to Action


“There is only one way to get anybody to do anything, and that is by making the other person want to do it”

— Dale Carnegie

Using Motivation To Create Inspiration

People often conflate the words motivation and inspiration.

Motivation is external. Everyone needs a good pep talk from time to time: to be reminded of why they get up in the morning and do what they do. Sales can be tough, and a good sales manager knows when an individual (or their entire team) needs some encouragement.

Inspiration is internal. It is like a pilot light that once lit, will continue burning. It burns from within, but most of the time requires a touch of motivation to first get it started. An inspired sales rep will push themselves longer and harder than an uninspired rep.

Most sales managers realize that people are motivated by different things but may have a hard time defining what they are, or recognizing which of the six motivators actually move each individual sales rep.

Let’s fix that so you can properly use the six motivators to inspire your team.


The 6 Motivators

There are six basic motivators that spur everyone into action. These are also known as “driving forces.” Each driving force has a range of intensity, which means how much it effects your day-to-day motivation and engagement.

Most people rate higher in one or two categories, but it’s important to remember that no one is only motivated by just one thing. In this regard, the six motivators function similarly to a person’s behavior style.

While behavior styles reveal the way someone prefers to communicate, the driving forces tell you how to inspire them to action. You need an understanding of both to get the best results.

Here is a brief summary of each of the motivators.


The primary drive with this motivator is the discovery of truth. These individuals have a “cognitive” attitude and appreciate observation and reason. They acquire knowledge for the sake of knowledge. 

How to use it: Choose subject matter experts and ask them to learn everything they can about a new product or service. They are your go-to people when you need to figure out how to systematize some aspect of your business.


The Utilitarian is interested in money and what is useful. They are motivated by the concept of security for their present and future family. They are highly practical, and roughly 95% of sales reps will strongly identify as Utilitarian. 

How to use it: The typical financial rewards work well here: a bonus, free trip, trophy, etc. If you are entering a new market, or want to increase sales of a particular product, add a financial incentive to reps who comply. The Utilitarians won’t leave money on the table. 


The Aesthetic is interested in form and harmony with their surroundings. Life can be regarded as a procession of events with each one being judged for its own sake. 

How to use it: You can paint a picture (pun intended) for Aesthetic sellers of the harmony they will achieve by fitting in with the team. If a seller is struggling, they may feel like things “are messy”. The drive to restore harmony with their colleagues can be powerful.


Those who score highly for this motivator feel compassion, kindness, and a desire to help others. They hold others in high regard and are typically kind, sympathetic, and unselfish. They don’t see an option when it comes to helping people. They have to lend a hand.

How to use it: Direct some of the company’s charitable giving to a cause that’s meaningful to the Social rep. Or gather your team together and do something to make the world a better place. Let the Social rep come up with the ideas, and follow their lead within reason.


The driving force behind this motivator is power. While that might not translate into political power, an Individualistic rep wishes above all for personal power, influence, and renown.

How to use it: Find ways to reward Individualistic reps with greater control. They will naturally try to exert their influence on the team, so channel that force into something useful and let them. Offer to let them lead a team meeting, but only if you can point to them as an example (achieving quota, selling a particular product, hitting a specific metric, etc.)


The primary interests of the Traditional rep are unity, order, and not surprisingly: tradition. These individuals are naturally attracted to consistent and predictable authorities that create defined rules, regulations, and principles for living.

How to use it: These reps do not appreciate haphazard change. Teach them proven procedures and allow them to maintain the same environment as much as possible, as long as results are achieved. They will work hard to protect the status quo. 


Avoid These Motivator Mistakes

The only time you need to bring up the word “motivation” is when you’re unsatisfied with the level of activity or results, or you have ambitious plans that require an increase or change in activity.

Driving forces don’t get much thought when reps are hitting their numbers, but that’s a wasted opportunity. 

The biggest mistake you can make with these motivators is not identifying them soon enough. Ideally, you would use a tool like the Brooks Talent Index in your hiring process, so you can build a team of like-minded sales reps. It is difficult to inspire a group if everyone in the group is driven by different motivators.

You also don’t want to be forced to figure out how to motivate your existing team after a problem or opportunity arises; you want to be ready when circumstances demand action.

The second mistake is assuming money motivates everyone. Yes, the Utilitarians and Individualistic types are typically attracted to sales positions. However, there are very successful sales reps who are not motivated by money or power. With that said, if you’re truly at a loss for how to motivate your team, providing opportunities for economic gain is a safe place to start.

The last mistake is using motivators to manipulate. Motivation is when you influence a person for their benefit. Manipulation is when you influence a person for your own. 

There are two things that motivate most people: the chance for gain or the fear of loss. You don’t want to use the “avoidance of fear” to create action, because once the fear is gone the increased action will stop. It is far better to use the driving forces to find something a rep wants and show them how aligning with what you want will help them get it.

It’s a fine line, but a line, nonetheless. 


Action Is a Requisite for Employment

How do you balance this in a team made of people with different motivations? 

In an ideal world, everyone on your team would have the same motivators. Since that is unlikely, you have to make it clear that achieving your team’s goal is a requisite for employment. You shouldn’t have to rely too heavily on motivating people to get them to do their job.

A sales leader’s job is to have conversations that let people know if they’re doing well or not. If not, give them plans and ideas to get them back on track, and lay out the consequences of failing to implement activities.

You also have to look at the macro environment. Is the whole company behind or is it one individual? If your whole team is behind, then you likely have a larger issue on your hands. If only certain individuals aren’t accomplishing their goals, see if you can redirect action by having them focus on selling a different product or service.

Remember, you can’t motivate a person who doesn’t want to do their job. If coaching fails to inspire action, it may be time to part ways or find a different role for that rep. 


Make Your Job Easier

People will change to avoid a negative outcome or capitalize on a positive opportunity. A sales manager needs to constantly assess threats and opportunities, and decide which ones are worth their mental energy. Give your sales reps a basic understanding of the six motivators so they can do a better job of assessing why their customers buy. 

The easiest way to do this is with the Brooks Talent Index. This is a four-in-one assessment that measures a sales professional’s behavior, driving forces, competencies, and acumen. Using proven science to help you find, hire, and keep the best people will get your team better results, while making your job that much easier.

Reach out and a member of The Brooks Group team will work with you to ensure you have the training and assessments your team needs to achieve your goals.

Written By

Greg Brown

Greg Brown is a Director of Sales Effectiveness for The Brooks Group. Greg’s background in sales, sales management, recruiting, training, and business ownership allow him to deliver programs that drive both immediate and long-term results.
Written By

Greg Brown

Greg Brown is a Director of Sales Effectiveness for The Brooks Group. Greg’s background in sales, sales management, recruiting, training, and business ownership allow him to deliver programs that drive both immediate and long-term results.

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