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Dave Ramsey's EntreLeadership: Look for (and Instill) a Crusader's Mentality

OCTOBER 11, 2023

I have a great team of salesmen at my company, but one or two of them seem to have become satisfied with where they are now since they’ve already hit their financial goals for the year. They’re still really good salesmen, but they’ve lost the fire that got them where they are so quickly. Do you have any advice for motivating good salespeople once they’ve reached a certain level?

I love team members who have the energy and drive to go out and make sales. The intensity and commitment they radiate is palpable, and it often rubs off on others within the organization. But when it comes to this type of work, you’ve also got to constantly be on the lookout for people who are there simply to collect big checks.

I call a person who’s on some type of commission-structured compensation plan, and who brings in more than they cost you, a tiger. These are the types of people you want in commission-based roles because they enjoy the chase and the thrill of the hunt. But it can be difficult to change things with people who are already in place and have been with you a long time—especially if they’ve already reached the goals they set for themselves. You can talk to them about the situation and their goals, and how they play into the overall success of the company. Or you might think about changing their compensation structure in order to give them something new to shoot for.

But the best thing is to always put in lots of time and effort in the very beginning. I’m talking about during the hiring process and onboarding phase. Make sure you pick the very best people for the job, even if it means hirings take a little longer. At my company, we look for and stress the importance of having a crusade mentality. You have to be on fire for what you’re doing. You have to love the job. You have to love doing work that matters. We’re a winning team with a winning attitude. Our goal isn’t just a good season or to make the playoffs. We want that big ring—every single time.  

Now, this mindset isn’t something you can suddenly start cramming down people’s throats. It needs to be a gradual process if it’s something you’re not doing already. But the first and most important thing is to surround yourself with winners. And give them what they need. Give them the motivation and encouragement they need to be successful, and recognize them in tangible ways when they succeed.

As a leader, that’s one of your biggest jobs. Plus you have to teach and demonstrate, by your own habits and attitude, that it’s not acceptable to start coasting once a goal has been attained. It’s called leading by example.

Great question, Daniel!
— Dave

* Leadership and small-business expert Dave Ramsey is CEO of Ramsey Solutions. He has authored eight national bestselling books, including “EntreLeadership,” and is a host of “The Ramsey Show” and “The EntreLeadership Podcast.”