If you’re a sales rep, at some point, you’ve probably asked the question ‘What’s in it for me?’. Contrary to popular belief, this question does not make you selfish, in fact, it makes you savvy. Sales managers it’s time for a reality check, your sales reps don’t work for you, they work for themselves! Hard work is personal, and goal setting should be done with that in mind. It’s time to connect the dots and drive revenue growth by motivating your sales reps. As always if you have any questions please schedule a free 30-minute consultation and I’ll do my best to help in any way I can.


What we’re going to cover:

  • Reality Check
  • Hard work is personal
  • What about goal setting?
  • Connecting the dots



Reality Check


No safety net.

“Oftentimes, as a rep, you’re asked to perform a job in sales without a safety net. Your entire income and your entire world is dependent upon your ability to drive business. You might be paid a salary to get you through the day but ultimately your income is dependent upon your ability to sell because if you don’t sell the salary is going to be meaningless because you won’t have a job. So, most sales reps in a self-preservation mode ask the question, what’s in it for me?”


It’s not unreasonable

“Sales reps are going to ask what’s in it for me and our ability to translate what we need as a company, as a manager, and as a team, into what’s in it for them is going to make or break overall success in the long run. Because if you can’t communicate the corporate goals in a way that they understand, and is going to be beneficial to them, then you’re going nowhere.”


Rolls down hill

“The process of developing the plan or the goals for the year generally starts at the corporate level. So, the executives or the corporate or the business owner decide what they want in the coming year and they build a strategy around that, and that includes sales numbers. Those corporate numbers translate to your team, to your team number, and then you look at that team number and you translate that to the individuals. By the time it gets to the sales rep, oftentimes, it doesn’t translate well.”

Sales Rep Analysis 

“Then the sales reps are looking at that number, they’re looking at what they’re being given and they’re doing the analysis of what’s in it for me? What will I get if this happens? More importantly, they’re asking what happens to me if I don’t make it? Then they’re making all of their decisions based on that answer. “

Motivator or Demotivator

“Sometimes that can be a motivator, I can make more money, I can do this, I can do that. Other times it can be a demotivator ‘no matter how much I do my number goes up significantly every year’.”


How does this translate?

“Think about the reality of what you’re delivering. What you’re delivering may not have the same meaning to the rep as it has to you or the corporate executives. Because what is in it for you as the manager may be different from what is in it for the rep.”


Hard work is personal


“Hard work is a very personal thing. You want your sales reps to work hard for you, it’s personal because they have to want to do it.”


Sales reps don’t work for you

“Yes, they work for the company, the company pays their salary, bonus, commissions, and they have benefits, I get all of that. But ultimately people who work hard, they work for themselves.


What about the greater good?

“Yes, maybe they do. Maybe they want to work for a company that does community service. I’m not taking away from that because that’s the personal reasons. That’s where it gets personal for them.”

They want something

“The hard work, the personal work, is because they want some outcome for themselves. They need something in their daily, weekly, annual lives, whatever that is. Whether they want to buy a house, travel, give back, or do other things it’s very personal.”

“If we lose sight of that and we make the company bigger than the individual when we have these conversations, we’re losing them. You lose motivation, you lose the desire to succeed.”

What about goal setting?


Goal Setting exercises 

“Often times goal setting is boring. It’s an exercise that most companies go through in November-December with their reps. How much did you make last year? What do you want to make next year? And what are the kinds of activities you need to do to be successful? And it’s great you put it down on paper, you do the math, and everybody feels good because they can make their goal next year based on this exercise.”


More than just an exercise 

“Well, it’s more than an exercise, way more than an exercise, it’s more than the numbers, it’s personal. What is it that you want to do in the next year? Two years? Five years?  That this job is going to help you attain?”


What are you passionate about?

“Let’s talk about your career, let’s talk about the business, let’s talk about selling, let’s talk about the personal side, what do you want to do? What are your dreams? What are you passionate about? What drives you as a sales rep to that end result?


The bigger picture.

“How can I help you achieve that goal? What can we do here at the company to help you achieve that goal?”

“Those are the questions I’m asking as a manager so when I get in the goal setting I’m not just going through the silly exercise every December to show you how you can hit your number without exploring the deeper sides of it. What is it truly going to take to be successful and why is that important? What makes you tick? What are those personal objectives that you have?”


Next Step

“Then we can sit down and we can look at all the things we need to do on a daily, weekly, monthly, basis to be successful in our business. From the high-level goal setting right down to the tactical that needs to happen every day to make sure that reach those targets and those goals.”

Connecting the dots


Understand two things:
  1. Exactly what it is the company is looking for. In other words, the companies goals, strategic plan, the outcomes, and what they want from you, and your team.
  2. Understand your sales team and your sales players. What do they need? What are their goals? What are their personal objectives? How do they want to define success for themselves in their lives?


Transition to their goals

“It’s more than just the business of hitting the number. It’s about transitioning into their goals, what do they want to do to be successful?”

“Once you understand that, now you have both sides of the coin. Now you have to match what the company wants to their goals, to them, and paint a picture that helps them understand how they can achieve their targets by doing these things that help the company achieve its target.”



“You can only do that by engaging them. Engaging them in a one on one conversation about their goals and going through a deep goal setting program, putting it in writing, and figuring out how to get them motivated to hit those targets.”


A good leader

“I think it’s important that you understand that just throwing a goal out there and saying it’s for the company and you should be a team player is not enough. A good leader paints the picture. Because it’s the one that paints the best picture that wins the day.”


Keep Filling The Funnel

We would love to hear from you. Let us know what you think about this episode. Please feel free to reach out to us if there is a specific sales topic you would like me to cover.  You can find me on Twitter at @Sheajohnr or email me at  And if you get a chance, please feel free to review us on iTunes.


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