Sales Management: Satisfy Salespeople’s Basic Needs

06/03/2023by dang tin0

Satisfy Salespeople’s Basic Needs

Everyone has basic needs that must be met before people can perform at their best. One of your jobs as the sales manager is to structure the work so that these needs are satisfied and the salesperson is both psychologically and emotionally free to achieve sales results.

Maslow’s Hierarchy

Psychologist Abraham Maslow was famous for his hierarchy of needs, the discovery that each person has five basic needs, each of which has to be satisfied to a certain level before the next need could be satisfied.

The first of these basic needs is the need for survival. The survival instinct is the most powerful of all emotions. If physical survival is threatened, we think of nothing else. We lose all interest in the satisfaction of any other needs. Fortunately, in our society, except for rare incidences, survival is largely guaranteed and taken for granted.

The second basic need, once survival is assured, is the need for safety and security. By safety and security we mean all kinds of security, such as physical security, emotional security, and especially financial security. Physical security requires that people have sufficient food, shelter, clothing, transportation, and other basic needs. Emotional security requires that people be liked, accepted, and trusted by the important people around them. Financial security requires that we have enough money so that we are not preoccupied with fear of poverty or loss.


Each of these two basic needs must be satisfied to a certain level (which is different for each person) before the individual can think about satisfying or achieving higher-level needs. This is why financial security, earning enough to be able to maintain a certain lifestyle, is essential to salespeople performing at their best.


The third level of needs identified by Maslow was that of belongingness. People need to know and feel that they are recognized and accepted by the people around them, in both their work and social environments.
When someone joins a company, the first thing that happens is that the new employee is introduced to coworkers. When coworkers recognize, like, and accept one another and work together in a spirit of harmony and cooperation, high morale is created in the organization, which leads to better performance of the work.

In my company, I consider myself to be largely responsible for maintaining harmony and peace. My job is to make sure that everyone else is happy and comfortable in doing their jobs. For this reason, I will quickly remove anyone from my company if I find that the person is a source of negativity of any kind. Since my staff know that I will not allow them to be subjected to the negativity of anyone else, they are much happier and more productive in everything they do.


The fourth need that people have is for self-esteem. People need to feel valuable, important, and respected. People need to feel that they are liked and admired by others. People need to like themselves and consider themselves to be important contributors to the organization.

Everything you do as a sales manager to build self-esteem in your salespeople also builds their self-confidence. This self- confidence then leads to greater sales activity and better sales results.

The highest level in Maslow’s hierarchy was considered to be self-actualization. This is the feeling that you are fulfilling more and more of your potential, rising steadily to greater heights, and achieving the respect, recognition, and admiration of all the people around you. You are becoming everything you are capable of becoming.
One of your goals as sales manager is to help people move through the five levels of the hierarchy of needs, all the way up to self-esteem and self-actualization. People who are dedicated to fulfilling their needs at these higher levels are the happiest, most creative, and highest-performing people on your team.

Three Basic Needs at Work

The three basic needs that people have at work are: dependence, independence, and interdependence.


Dependence needs are satisfied when people feel that they are a part of something that is bigger than themselves. They are parts of a company or organization. They belong to it, and it belongs to them. This is why the more time you spend telling people what is going on in the company, and including them in discussions and decisions, the more they feel that they are part of the company rather than the company being a separate entity from them.
Robert Reich, former secretary of labor, said that when he walks into a company he can tell immediately the psychological and emotional climate of the people who are working there by the way they refer to themselves and the company. In top companies, he says, people use the words my, we, and our to describe the business: “This is my company. Our goals in this company are to achieve these results. We work together to accomplish these goals.”


The second need each person has is for independence or autonomy. People need to feel that they stand out and are recognized as individuals, apart from being members of the team. This is why recognition, rewards, and reinforcement of individual performance are important motivators if you want to elicit high performance from your sales team members.


The third and highest need is for interdependence. This is the feeling that we are a vital part of a team that is working toward achieving important goals and objectives, and that we are recognized and respected as part of that team.
Each person has these needs to different degrees. Each of these needs must be satisfied by the manager if the person is going to perform at his or her best. A deficiency or lack of satisfaction in any one of these needs, or the needs in Maslow’s hierarchy, can cause your salespeople to perform at a lower level, often losing their enthusiasm for the work.

Sometimes a lack of satisfaction even causes them to quit or leads to their needing to be fired or laid off.

Productive Sales Meetings

One of the most powerful tools you have for satisfying all of these needs simultaneously on an ongoing basis is the sales meeting. I have often turned sales organizations around by holding half-hour sales meetings at 8:00 a.m. every morning. During those thirty minutes, I call on each person to speak and to contribute. I tell the team about what the company is doing and what their goals are for the day, the week, and the month. I teach, train, and encourage. At the end of thirty minutes, people feel that their needs for dependence, independence, and interdependence have all been satisfied. They then go out and achieve wonderful sales results.


1. What are the things that you could do or say to make your people feel happier, more secure, and more committed to the company?
2. Begin your next sales meeting by singling out specific individuals for praise and recognition for something they have accomplished.

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