A light box with letters reading 'YOU GOT THIS' on a desk, next to a laptop

What Motivates You As A Sales Professional

It’s essential to know what motivates you, especially as a sales professional.

Knowing your motivation is key regardless of your job. Some roles can feel unrewarding without a clear “why”. Even a job you love benefits from knowing what motivates you.

Being aware of your motivation will:

  • Pick you up during a tough week, where issues with colleagues, customers, or processes may have got you down
  • Shift you from focusing on happiness to focusing on meaning: happiness tends to be transient while knowing your work has meaning is a constant
  • Add to your resilience, so that setbacks feel smaller and take less time to overcome

If you’re not sure what motivates you just yet, don’t sweat. It’s not something most people are taught in school. For parents it’s not typically top of mind when teaching kids.

It is, however, worth taking a short amount of time to consider what motivates you. If you’re a journaler, this is a good time to bring out your go-to notebook and have a mind dump. If you’re a meditator, a visualization is definitely in order. For anyone else, some quiet reflection as you cook dinner, drive, shower, or do chores can do the trick.

Let’s get to the meat, or tofu, of this one: what is it that motivates you as a sales professional?

Healthy competition can push us further

Competition doesn’t have to feel toxic. In fact, it can be healthy and rewarding when you have a genuine rapport and connection with those you’re challenging. Pick someone you trust and have a fun time facing off with; it might be your colleagues, or a friend who finds competing as fun as you do.

Competing against someone may well be more than just fun for you; it could boost your performance, too. Without the inspiration that a real test of will provides, it can be harder to surprise others and ourselves with what we can do. If you have a natural competitive spirit, don’t be afraid to use it to your advantage.

So many sales pros report what a difference their targets can make. Even when a target is your only source of competition, the sense of satisfaction some feel when they hit one can be huge.

A paper aeroplane in the air. The shadow of the paper plane shows a rocket ship.

The will to help can be a huge motivator

It’s worth remembering that working in sales provides a chance to really help people. You’re selling a product that could transform someone’s working life for the better, and we all know how powerful that is when it happens to ourselves.

For example, consider someone works for a home automation company, whose products include the ability to turn on lights, heating, and security systems. This employee may enjoy her work not just because she knows she’s making all her customers’ lives easier, but also because she knows that her disabled clients report huge transformations in their daily lives.

We’re never just serving ourselves: we’re helping our customers and our colleagues with everything we do.

Remember: it’s okay if money is a driver for you

Being financially motivated can get a really bad rap. Some will tell you pursuing wealth makes you shallow – not true – which has made many of us feel hesitant to share that money is what motivates us as sales professionals.

It’s important, then, to remember what money can do. Jen Sincero does a great job of breaking down our financial baggage in her bestselling book, You Are A Badass At Making Money, and highlights that money is neutral; it’s us that makes it a big deal.

Sandler Training has described the financial drive of sales professionals in their article on the subject: “The money is the means by which they can accomplish their goals.”

For you, those goals could be:

  • Owning your own home to give stability to your closest loved ones.
  • Being able to travel abroad and eat croissants in Paris, just like your teenage self always dreamed of.
  • Saving up so that you can retire and live a full life with your newfound free time.

It’s also interesting that many salespeople say the financial challenge of running their book of business is comparable to what business owners enjoy. They feel empowered knowing that their income is not limited, though sales professionals typically have the safety net of a baseline salary.

We’ve covered three big areas that may drive you, but there are so many more out there. If these three haven’t resonated, consider consulting with your colleagues for ideas, too. Of the salespeople we asked, the thrill of the chase, sense of progression, and recognition all made it to the list. Now is the perfect time to figure out what should be on yours.


  • Knowing what motivates you can pick you up when it’s tough, give your work meaning, and ensure you bounce back with resilience.
  • Competition can move us further than we can when we try to do it solo.
  • Money is a valid motivator, especially when you can link it to tangible goals you have for your future.

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