Most Sales Managers admit that designing the perfect bonus and incentive system is no walk in the park. Some say it is myth or legend because chasing after the perfect motivation tool is like hunting unicorns: it’s an illusion.
How do we develop incentive systems that motivate and reward employees to maximize results? The answer is more straight forward than you may expect, but let’s start with the illusions.
Sales managers have a gut instinct for what works and what doesn’t. Their gut tells them that sales people are coin operated and that more cash on the table is the way to get them to perform.
Research (not surveys, but actual results) on performance has revealed the psychological tripwires that drive results and money only get us so far. Sure, money talks, but eventually we stop listening.
To deliver the maximum amount of motivation, use incentives and rewards that are non-monetary – in other words, rewards where the cash value of the reward is NOT explicit to the recipient. That means: don’t use cash or cash equivalents such as debit cards or retail gift cards for your incentives, even though your reps say they like them.
How could the cash value of an award not be explicit? How could. The Price is Right be the longest running daytime game show on television? Is it because everybody already knows the actual price of the products and we love seeing everyone win? No. It’s because we think we know the prices of the products, but don’t. The game is fun because of this illusion. However, your sales problems are not illusions – to solve your motivation issues, you need hard facts. Money talks, but eventually we stop listening.
“Everything I decide to do is exactly the right thing and always works out, except when situations conspire against me or some crazy unforeseeable circumstance pops up. Most of my co-workers fail because they missed seeing huge warning signs and made poor strategic bets. “
“Not me. I’m not saying I’m right all the time but my decision-making is sound. Also, I’m a better-than-average driver, invest wisely, never have credit card debt (well, any amount to speak of), know a good deal when I see one, and I know my preferences for products with clarity. “
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