How Top Salespeople Stay Motivated

10 Steps Every Salesperson Needs NOW


With a steady drumbeat of negativity and business challenges, even the best printing salespeople sometimes struggle to stay focused and motivated.  From motivational books to daily meditation, we have seen salespeople try any or all techniques imaginable. Whatever the strategy, self-motivation is always longer lasting and sustainable than external motivation.

Unfortunately, there is no magic potion to ensure salespeople can stay motivated. With the changes taking place within printing and communications in general, salespeople must stay motivated to embrace change and forge ahead to success.

What is Motivation?

Motivation is a process we develop within ourselves that enables us to meet goals. It is our desire to make sales and satisfy customers. Our motivation levels are often affected by outside influences such as bad bosses, a rough economy, customer rejection and relentless competition. Regardless of outside influences, there is ample research that tells us that salespeople can manage their own levels of motivation.

Since professional selling is a very rewarding and lucrative profession, some printing company owners and production managers ask why salespeople need consistent motivation. Here are the reasons why:

1.      You are only as good as your last year’s performance.  Owners and managers expect salespeople to perform each and every year at high levels.

2.      In sales, failures greatly outnumber successes. For every 10 new sales calls, a great salesperson may only achieve success in three.

3.      Persistent rejection is difficult to manage.  High failure rates can be discouraging even for seasoned salespeople. The passion and motivation that many have for graphic arts sales is born out of success. I have seen few highly motivated printing salespeople that were consistently below quota.

We have cataloged tips on staying motivated from top printing salespeople. Though there are many, here are the top 10 strategies great salespeople use to stay motivated.

1.      Make a plan – and stick to it

Everything starts with an objective.  The first thing that should be done each year is to create an annual income plan. Once that is done, the next is to figure out in great detail how this will be accomplished. Keeping it up, making adjustments at least monthly, will help to  keep focused and motivated.

2.      Build a disciplined personal selling process

From picking up emails to returning sales calls, great performance is a result of consistently doing the right things daily. Great salespeople do not need their managers to tell them what needs to be done.

3.      Focus on activities versus results

We encourage salespeople to task themselves with daily, weekly and monthly sales activities. These activities should correlate to the income and sales goals. Determining the number of calls, quotes, and presentations and then meeting them is a self-motivating formula.

4.      Participate in war stories

One of the greatest sources of motivation is “war stories”. Hearing the steps and processes  used by other salespeople to win big deals opens up the mind to new approaches and applications. Many great sales ideas come after sales meetings and from informal conversations that follow.

5.      Align with the best 

Winning is contagious. Spending time with great performers is a great source of motivation.  Observing and learning what makes others great can lead to great clues on how to improve personal performance.

6.      Stay in shape

Sales can be a grueling physical business. Traveling, dealing with stressful situations and constantly meeting deadlines, can wear even the best down. Eating right, exercising and getting enough sleep keep the salesperson alert and energetic.

7.      Get outside the business

Working hard is important. However, taking time to learn and participate in activities outside the printing industry sustains motivation. Sometimes the greatest ideas come from sources completely remote from the daily business. Activities that include cultural events, sports, church, community and education can be a great source of personal motivation.

8.      Eliminate negativity

Remove and separate from negative influences. Nothing can destroy motivation more than a negative coworker or boss.  The power of positive thinking is indisputable.

9.      Be a mentor

Helping others is a great source of self-motivation. Research tells us that losing oneself in the service of others can make us happy and motivated. The printing business needs plenty of mentors.

10.  Take mental health breaks

It is no use beating your head against the wall. Sometimes slowing down can help us see problems in a new light. Taking a break and doing some quiet thinking can reinvigorate personal motivation.  

Top salespeople don’t rely on colleagues or sales managers to motivate themselves. Many managers do not know how to motivate salespeople. If they do, that is great. But, for now, understanding how to self-motivate and then doing it consistently is the best way.

Joe Rickard is a training leader and consultant dedicated to the graphic communications industry. He and his company Intellective Solutions (  works with printing and technology organizations to improve their sales, marketing and operational effectiveness. He can be reached at 845 753 6156. Follow him on Twitter @joerickardIS. This article was published in the February edition of QuickPrinting Magazine and