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Sales and Selling Goals Persuasion Fairness Motivation Incentives

Last quarter I beat my sales quota by over 100%. Now my sales manager has raised my quota to a number that is just about impossible to reach. This is not fair, and I'd like to know if there is a way to get him to change it back.

You report to a sales manager, but his understanding of sales and management sounds a little thin. When a salesperson roars past his or her established quota, a more appropriate managerial response is congratulations, support, and recognition. Your manager's response is actually a punishment, and it sends a clear message to the rest of the troops: Don't be too successful.

One approach is to treat your manager as a customer and try to sell him on a more appropriate quota. When you meet with him, be sure to use questions and statements that generate many "yes" responses, and listen carefully to what he says. Once you get a clear understanding of his needs, try to show him how the original quota system will meet these needs more effectively than the new quota. As part of your presentation, include words that have a strong positive emotional charge for him, such as "profit," "growth," and "success."

The fact is that challenging goals have been consistently found to be motivational, while overly demanding goals undercut drive and performance. When sales managers push quotas through the roof, they often push salespeople out the door.

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