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Written by Lina Firon

People working in sales might often be associated with money-grubbing salesmen or saleswomen, with dollar signs glimmering in their eyes while negotiating a potential deal. After several years of working in sales, I’ve had to face this prejudice many times and deal with being identified as one of these “greedy salespeople”.

Am I greedy, just thinking about money, or what is it that actually drives me in my work?

Sales Drive: Internal or External

To be a successful salesperson, I do believe you must be driven by something. That ‘something’ could, for instance, be a strong will to win cases, a strong competitive spirit, a big bonus you get by getting the deal closed, approval from colleagues or admiration from other people, etc. All these things are actually very different motives.

For a person to be at his or her very best, it is important that one finds inner motivation (in research referred to as intrinsic motivation) driving them towards their goals. Simply put, to be driven by inner motivation, a person engages in the activity because of his/her own will, and gets kicks while doing it. The other option, being driven by external motivation, is when one does an activity for the external response or to avoid some kind of punishment. In a work-life setting, this could be the weekly goals that must be reached, avoiding looking bad in the eyes of your superior, or simply just the money bonus waiting around the corner.

Naturally, it would be naive to think, that all of our actions could or should be categorized into two strictly separate categories. There probably isn’t anyone who hasn’t ever experienced a tired moment at work, thinking that they wouldn´t really have the motivation or energy to keep going. But in the big picture, I do recommend that everyone takes a step back once in a while, and really ask yourself – what is it that drives me in my work?

So, Are Salespeople Greedy?

After having some self-reflection about the sales and what really drives me at work I´ve come to some conclusions. First, I am quite a competitive spirit, and enjoy engaging in all kinds of games. However, I really love working in teams and do not want to compete against my teammates, but against myself challenging the status quo.

Since sales success for me requires winning the trust of my potential clients and finding them the best solution possible, the answer to the question of greediness in my case would be: Yes! I am greedy! Greedy to win peoples trust. Winning the trust of clients is what gives me the greatest kicks and feelings of having succeeded. Hence, greediness for trust is for me driven by intrinsic motivation.

What drives you in your work? Are you a greedy salesperson like me?


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