The truth is, not many people want to work for free.  If you want someone to do something, they want to know what is in it for them.

People in sales are the same way.  They work hard to drive their own sales as their income depends on it.  If there are asked to do something else during the work day, they will want to know what they are going to get out of it.  Sales people do not have extra time to waste as their ability to sell is what earns them their paycheck.

In other words, sales reps are in a self-preservation mode and if they are asked to do something, they need to see the benefit.

Reality Check


So, what’s the sales rep dilemma? For one, everything rolls downhill.  When the company decides on targets for the year it is the job of the sales team to reach the set goals.  However, often when the company sets a target it does not translate well when it is broken down by the sales team or by the individual sales rep.

Sometimes sales reps feel that the targets set are unattainable or that the numbers are high. This is usually because they worked hard in the past year and achieved above average sales.  The reps may feel like they are being punished as the expectations all of a sudden got higher.

Sales reps begin to wonder what is in it for them to work that much harder to hit the higher goals and they also wonder what will happen if the goals are not met.  Sometimes raising the quota like that works as a motivator. Other times, it can also have the opposite effect whereby the reps feel that no matter how hard they work, it is not good enough.


Hard Work is Personal


The second sales rep dilemma is that doing hard work is personal. It is important that as much as the sales reps work for the company, even more importantly, they work for themselves.  Any hard work that they put in above and beyond a regular work day is so that they can achieve the personal goals that they have set.

Everyone works for different reasons and a job can be many things to someone but the bottom line is that it is also a source of income.  Income that is needed for day to day living and anything extra that will help to achieve personal goals.

Everyone works towards a goal whether it is to buy a house or have money to put kids through college or take a trip.  Sales reps that work for you need to know that their goals are important and that it is not just about the corporate numbers.  At the end of the day, if the company is bigger than the individual then people will lose the desire to succeed.


What about Goal Setting


The third sales rep dilemma is goal setting. More specifically, that goal setting can be boring.   People don’t like to sit down and write out the numbers – how much did you make last year?  How much do you want to make?  What do you need to do to make that goal?  So, it is important to remember that goal setting is more than just an exercise. It should be taken seriously and it is important for each person to make it personal.

For example, have the reps think about what they want to do in the next 2 years, 5 years, and 10 years.  When they know what they want and you know what makes them tick, it is easier to set achievable goals and work toward them together.

Some people like to make goals visual so that there is a constant reminder of what the hard work will get them if they keep at it.  If someone loves to fish and wants a house on the lake or a boat, they can put a picture up on their desk to remind themselves that the dream is there and it is achievable.


Connecting the Dots


Lastly, when understanding the sales rep dilemma it’s important to connect the dots. In other words, to understand exactly what the company wants from you and your team. Then additionally, to understand what the sales team needs to feel successful.  This makes it more personal instead of just a business of hitting the numbers.

It is then important to match the goals of the company to the goals of the team members.  When you match the two together you can paint a visual that will show reps how they are going to reach their personal goals by working to achieve the company targets.

When you delve deeper into a goal setting program the reps are more engaged and they can see clearly what is in it for them.


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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