Salespeople Love Money… So What?


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Here at Spiro we’re all about sales guys making a sick amount of money. Nothing would make us happier than to hear you’re making half a mill. It’s in our DNA as sales pros to make that happen.

But we want to dive deeper here. Why are we so often misunderstood just because we think money is important in life?

My dad thought it was terrible that I was focused on money as a salesperson. It was hard to get him to understand that I measured my success by the money I made. But I understand why he thought that way when I consider all the negative stereotypes about salespeople out there. People think we’re dishonest, loud, manipulative, shallow, brutish… and, of course, greedy.

Granted, a lot of salespeople are competitive and care strongly about reaching our goals. At my previous company, the top sales guys were neck in neck on closing in on $10 million this year. It’s not because they’re only motivated by the money, but because they want to be Number One – to be proud of their accomplishments and have something to show for it.

Salespeople possess inherent traits that make them succeed at this job. One of those is that we care about making money. You can list all the platitudes you want – money is the root of all evil, money can’t buy you love, etc.- but they all miss the point. Our motivation isn’t just a bigger bank account, it’s the freedom that bigger bank accounts can get us.

Sales is one of the few professions where you have a lot more control over your destiny and that control is what can bring true happiness. Self actualization is at the top of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs, a model in psychology that shows what people need to reach the ultimate contentment in life. What do you need to reach self-actualization? Resources, of course. Resources like money.

Salespeople like money and they need to own up to it. It’s not a scarlet letter, it’s an affirmation of control over your own life.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adam Honig
Adam is the Co-Founder and CEO of Spiro Technologies. He is a recognized thought-leader in sales process and effectiveness, and has previously co-founded three successful technology companies: Innoveer Solutions, C-Bridge, and Open Environment. He is best known for speaking at various conferences including Dreamforce, for pioneering the 'No Jerks' hiring model, and for flying his drone while traveling the world.


  1. Hi Adam: I’m not clear about what your point is in writing that “salespeople like money and they need to own up to it.”

    The sales profession appeals to people who are interested in high earning potential – though there are plenty of sales jobs that do not pay well. What has made sales attractive to people compared to other high-earning professions such as law, medicine, and engineering, is that it’s egalitarian. People can enter the sales profession without investing in a college degree. (requirements for an advanced degree are exceedingly rare – if not discouraged! – see my article Will the Next Sales Achiever Need an MBA?)

    If you’re motivated and skilled at communication, you can succeed. Outside of sales, there are few professions in which a person with a GED can feasibly out-earn one with a PhD.

    But the “earn big bucks!” appeal has become a illusory recruiting speil. First, compared with other professions, sales is loaded with risks that are routinely not disclosed to applicants, and generally not known until the alarm bells begin to sound (translation: the commissions that were promised aren’t pouring in). Younger people – the traditional mainstay of sales forces – are harder to attract. “People today want to be part of a team, they want stable pay,” said Nick Toman, Managing Director at CEB (see the Wall Street Journal article Why It’s So Hard to Fill Sales Jobs, February 6, 2015.)

    I’ll steer clear from getting preachy about the corrupting influence of money. After all, I believe that if you’re prone to being unhappy, it’s better to be unhappy and rich, than unhappy and poor. But I know plenty of high-earning lawyers, physicians, and consultants who are stark-raving miserable. Salespeople are no exception. I don’t envy any of them. I especially don’t envy their customers. There are certain things that are ceded when you are driven exclusively by money. Integrity and happiness are two of them.

  2. Salespeople would be well-advised to live their customers more than money, and to give them more in use value than they paid (overpromise and overdeliver). If they do, customers’ loyalty will follow…..and so will the money.


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