Three Stories of Sales Motivation

By Malcolm Fleschner

Selling is a rewarding but difficult profession. Making (or exceeding) quota feels great, but the road to success is paved with repeated rejections and disappointments. When the going gets tough, what keeps you going? Some sales managers find inspiration in a favorite quotation; others recharge their drive to succeed with presentations or books from great motivators. Below, three readers of Selling Power magazine share what motivates them to succeed.

Name: Jeff Dangelo
Title: Director, Midwest Region
Company: Megacorp Logistics
Selling challenge: Wearing many hats just a few months into a new position at a fast-growing organization

“My personal motivation comes from an internal need to succeed. My parents were very hardworking. My father left for his sales job at 6:30 in the morning and then came back to the house and ran a printing press for his own business until twelve o’clock at night. My mom worked two jobs, and both parents worked to help our family survive. I get my work ethic from them, but I’ve always told myself that I did not want to work just to make ends meet. I did not want to ‘run in place.’ I want to be the best at what I do so that in forty years, I can say, “I gave it my best every day,” versus the alternative.

Name: David Johnson
Title: Regional Vice President
Company: F. R. Owen & Associates
Selling challenge: Growing my team

“The greatest motivation for me is that each day I have the opportunity to make a meaningful impact on my advisors’ business. My success is directly correlated to their success, and thus I must be a motivated business partner. With each day comes new challenges, but there is also room for new success stories, as well.”

Name: Ted Helms
Title: Marketing Manager
Company: ITT Analytics – Global Water Instrumentation Products
Selling challenge: Training salespeople to be creative, flexible, and opportunistic when working with clients

“I’m a competitive person and use that to self-motivate by creating minigames that focus our efforts to meet our goals. The games change day by day, depending on that day’s demands. Some days the game is ‘How many phone calls can we make today?’ and some days it’s ‘Can I get through all of my emails before lunch?’

“I tend to get bored easily, so if I can create a situation in which we can attack a challenge from multiple directions, it allows me to change the game but keep our focus on the ultimate goal. This is where you get to be creative, think outside the box, and try new things. You always want to keep the ultimate goal in focus, but you should break it down into steps and create a game for each step that you and your employees can play. Then play the game to win. If the game doesn’t get you anywhere, make up a new one. The trick is to make sure, regardless of the game you create, that if you and your team win, you have taken a step toward your ultimate goal.”