Six Human Motivators

What’s Inside Top Performing Sales People

What is it that motivates humans to take action? What is the source of their desire to become involved in or to avoid certain activities? What motivates humans to do what they do?

The answer to being effective, satisfied and personally fulfilled lies deep within a unique set of personal interests, attitudes and values.

Defining Attitudes

In 1928, Eduard Spranger wrote “Types of Men.” In it he identified six major attitudes or worldviews. These attitudes are windows through which we view the world and seek fulfillment in our lives. If we are participating in a discussion, activity or career that is in alignment with our attitudes, we will value the experience and excel. Conversely, if we are in a conversation, activity or career that is in conflict with our dominant attitudes, we will be indifferent or even negative toward the experience, possibly causing stress.

The Six Attitudes

Theoretical: The primary drive with this value is the discovery of TRUTH. In pursuit of this value, an individual takes a cognitive or intellectual attitude. Since the interests of the theoretical person are empirical, critical and rational, the person appears to be an intellectual. The chief aim of this attitude in life is to order and systematize knowledge for the sake of knowledge.

Utilitarian: The Utilitarian attitude is a characteristic interest in money and what is useful. An individual with a high Utilitarian attitude wants to have the security that money brings not only for themselves, but for their present and future family. This value includes the practical affairs of the business world – the production, marketing and consumption of goods, the use of credit, and the accumulation of tangible wealth. This type of individual is thoroughly practical and conforms well to the stereotype of the average American business person. A person with a high Utilitarian score is likely to have a high need to surpass others in wealth.

Aesthetic: A higher Aesthetic score indicates a relative interest in “form and harmony.” Each experience is judged from the standpoint of grace, symmetry or fitness. Life may be regarded as a procession of events, and each is enjoyed for its own sake. A high score here does not necessarily mean that the individual has talents in creative artistry. It indicates a primary interest in the artistic episodes of life.

Social: Those who score very high in this value have an inherent love of people. The social person prizes other people and is, therefore, kind, sympathetic and unselfish. They are likely to find the Theoretical, Utilitarian and Aesthetic attitudes cold and inhuman. Compared to the Individualistic value, the Social person regards helping others as the only suitable form for human relationships. Research into this value indicates that in its purest form, the Social interest is selfless.

Individualistic: The primary interest for this value is POWER, not necessarily politics. Research studies indicate that leaders in most fields have a high power value. Since competition and struggle play a large part in all areas of life, many philosophers have seen power as the most universal and most fundamental of motives. There are, however, certain personalities in whom the desire for direct expression of this motive is uppermost; who wish, above all, for personal power, influence and renown.

Traditional: The highest interest for this value may be called “unity,” “order,” or “tradition.” Individuals with high scores in this value seek a system for living. This system can be found in such things as religion, conservatism or any authority that has defined rules, regulations and principles for living.

In a ground breaking study Bill Bonnstetter, President of Target Training International, Ltd. in Scottsdale, Arizona and Frank Scheelen of the The Scheelen Institute, Waldshut-Tiengen, Germany confirmed that (1) top performing sales people around the world are similar and (2) that attitudes or motivations are more important than behavioral style or personality.

In this study participants were given two validated psychometric assessments: (1) the DISC – a behavioral style analysis or personality assessment and (2) the PIAV – a Personal Interest, Values and Attitude assessment.

In this study they concluded that most if not all personality types can sell. However, the most remarkable aspect of their study was the fact that seventy-one (71) percent of the top performing salespeople in 492 companies in Germany and 178 companies in the United States had Ultilitarian motivation as their top motivator. The conclusion from this study is that when it comes to top performing sales people motivation is more important than personality hands down.