Sales motivation can come in many different shapes and sizes, but it all comes down to your passion for sales.

  • A passion for the process of selling makes the difference between a good and a great sales rep.
  • Sales trainer and speaker Morgan J. Ingram talks about “falling in love with the process of getting better and stronger.”
  • He shares his tips on how to harness that passion to propel your performance, understand your customers, and hone your skills.

In the midst of a pandemic, civil unrest, murder hornets, and other daily shocking news pulled straight from the WTF file, “The Last Dance” dropped on Netflix like manna from heaven.

Don’t worry – if you haven’t binge-watched it yet, it’s safe to keep reading. (A spoiler alert for a docu-series about Michael Jordan’s career is about as necessary as one for “Titanic.”) 

Besides, we all know the outcome. It’s the journey that’s compelling.

In the late ‘80s, Jordan and his Chicago Bulls teammates repeatedly lost to the Detroit Pistons. They broke through in the ‘90-’91 season to sweep Motown in the conference finals and go on to win their first-ever NBA title.

Trainer, speaker, and all-around sales MVP Morgan J. Ingram is a “Last Dance” fan who was inspired by that early episode of Jordan’s career.

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“If MJ was just focused on losing to the Pistons, he probably wouldn’t have gone on to win those six finals,” he says. But Jordan got emotional about his process – like, yo, they’re beating me up, so that means I need to get stronger.

When Morgan clicked with that, it was a “huge moment” that crystallized his philosophy about sales.

As he explains it, for Jordan to reach the “next level of greatness,” he had to “fall in love with the process of getting better and stronger, so his outcomes could get better.”

On an episode of INSIDE Inside Sales, Morgan talks about why passion for the process of sales makes the difference between a good and a great rep. He shares advice on how to harness that passion to propel your performance, as well as proven strategies for understanding buyers, increasing your own self-awareness, and using technology to stand out.

Mindset shift: Process over outcome

A key lesson from Michael Jordan – and Morgan, too – is “control what you can control.”

We can control the sales process, or rather what we can do to improve it.

“But sometimes,” he adds, “the outcome is due to external factors we don’t have any control over.”

That’s why it’s important to feel the (natural) emotional reactions we have to the inevitable disappointment, disrespect, and frustration we feel on the sales floor.

Morgan learned from his mentor and colleague John Barrows: “Start caring about the process but not about the outcome, like closing a deal or getting a meeting.”

It hit home with him because, like many of us, he was drawn to the outcome (money) but not to the process (work).

But by honing his skills – “on discovery, creating content, cold-calling … what we should be doing on a day-to-day basis,” – he learned how to level up outreach with a multi-channel prospecting approach.

“If I don’t know how to work all these channels, I can’t reach out to people I need to. And if I limit myself, I limit my potential.”

Buyer be where? Get to know your customers

Understanding your buyer should be the mandate of every single salesperson, and the focal point when dealing with each and every client.

Morgan recommends asking: “What are the current problems your prospects are going through in this current climate?” “That will allow you to get even more emotional about the process,” he explains.

You’ll gain insights about who to target and how to initiate conversations. “Once you understand what they’re dealing with on a day-to-day basis, you can create messaging directly related to it,” he adds. 

Morgan recommends asking to sit in on calls with your customer success team. 

Important to note: Customer success differs from customer support. The latter is usually a team that fixes technical issues, like login/password problems.

But customer success encourages users to be great by actually saying, let me show you how to use the product better. Plus, that department will often offer benchmarks and baselines you can use to better understand your buyers.

“If you don’t know what your buyers are going through, you won’t know how to prospect or sell to them effectively,” says Morgan. “Speak their language, and you’ll see more results.”

Go Hollywood: Use video to lead with empathy

Morgan compares a prospecting call to the trailer for a movie.

“You’re being brief. You’re being brilliant. And you’re gone. That’s what a trailer does.” 

Just like a movie trailer uses sight and sound to grab your attention, a sales development rep should too. 

“If you use video in your sales cycle, you’ll increase conversions and close more deals,” Morgan says, citing a study by Gong Labs.

He recommends using video in your emails – “around the second or third touch” – and, of course, on LinkedIn.

That’s the best platform for connecting via video because the prospect can put a face to your name, go to your website, and (if you create/share content) absorb your insights. 

“Then you’ll be known in your space,” Morgan says.

The “movie trailer” approach can also allow you to cross-sell and up-sell – “like sequels,” he adds. 

“Video is a great way to lead with empathy. It allows you to handle all elements of communication: 7% is the spoken word. 38% is voice and tone, 55% is body language.”

Level up, one shot at a time 

Morgan’s last piece of advice comes from Kobe Bryant.

“He became great when he focused on things one at a time. He was like, I want to get really good at free throws. So he focused heavily on free throws for two months. Then he focused heavily on three-pointers. Then on two-point shots.”

The upshot pun intended? (Always intend your puns). Hone your skills. Break your process down to laser-focused steps. 

When Morgan began his sales career, he focused solely on video, became “great at it and moved on,” he says. “Then, I focused on cold calling. Then emails. Then on brand.”

To circle back to our theme, he encourages sales reps to embrace their emotional reactions to learn and perfect those skills.
“Lock it in and then move on,” says Morgan. “That doesn’t mean you can’t come back to get better at them. But if you’re saying, man, I’ve just got to get better at this one thing to take me to the next level, do that.”

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