Archives for March 2013

Reward ≠ Recognition.

We recently worked with a new client who was confusing “reward” and “recognition”.

Sandra wanted to get even more results from a salesperson who was already hitting his quota.  Sandra knew that it would take less effort to get more out of Mark than two or three of her other talented salespeople and in the end, it would be more profitable.

First she tried a financial bonus for any sale over Mark’s original goals.  But Mark was already financially successful and was unmoved.  Next Sandra appealed to Mark’s ego by asking him to mentor some new people for which he would be compensated.  This helped the new salespeople but Mark didn’t secure any new business.

What was Sandra missing?  And how were we able to construct an incentive program that inspired Mark to sell 25% more than his target?   By understanding the difference between “reward” and “recognition.”  According to,


1)      Something that is given in return for good or evil done or received or that is offered or given for some service or attainment;

2)      A stimulus administered… following a correct or desired response that increases the probability of occurrence of the response.


1)      Special notice or attention

We offered Mark something he couldn’t get on his own.  Something that would show his friends and family how successful he is.  Something that would affect his behavior for years to come.

Isn’t that what you want for all your salespeople?  Everyone – from beginners to veterans – needs reward AND recognition.  The challenge is what combination works for YOUR people?

We’re offering a free one-hour consultation to people like Sandra who want to motivate their top performers.  If that’s you, click the link below, tell us a little about your situation and we’ll be in touch.

I want to motivate my TOP performers.


The Devil in the Details

When you travel frequently as part of your job, as I do, it would make sense to stay home when on vacation.  But because I find the world an endlessly fascinating place, for me, vacation is the perfect time to put the shoe on the other foot and be the recipient of all the wonderful destinations, excursions and experiences that we put in place for our clients.

This past December, we travelled to some amazing places in India and Africa.  The trip was filled with new places, people, sites, and sounds and, as it always happens, with opportunities to be reminded of why it’s so important to pay attention to all the details when planning an incentive travel program.

We traveled on a beautiful mid-size ship in the Indian Ocean. The food and service were wonderful and our every need was tended to – except when it came to the excursions.  These exotic locations don’t offer what many tourists expect and if this isn’t understood from the outset, things can go terribly wrong.

Given the smaller ship, the process for on- and off-loading passengers should have been simple and well organized.  It was not.  There wasn’t an effective priority system to get people with planned excursions off the ship first so they could make their scheduled departure time, resulting in long, unnecessary lines.  It’s normal for people not to listen well to instructions so it’s up to the tour operators or the ship to go the extra mile to make procedures clear, easy to follow and effective.

In many cases the tour descriptions didn’t match the experience so we saw many passengers who were disappointed in their outing. And when things happened unexpectedly, even something as simple as a change in weather, there didn’t appear to be adequate back-up plans in place to keep things running smoothly.

Just these few examples reaffirmed why it’s so important to use an experienced incentive company if you are planning an incentive travel program for your group.  The company you hire will:

*  Make sure excursion descriptions match the experience.
*  Choose excursions that match the interests of your employees, customers and channel partners.
*  Work with suppliers to give your group priority boarding and disembarkation when appropriate.
*  Have alternate plans available when unexpected changes occur.
*  Empower staff to make decisions to call for back-up buses, alternate tours or provide timely reimbursement for excursions that are cancelled.

These are just a few examples of the details that can hide the devil and may ruin a program that your people worked hard to earn.

I offered a $2,500 sales bonus. My salespeople were NOT impressed!

“I thought salespeople were motivated by money!”

I was speaking with a sales manager a few weeks ago. Ted (his name was changed to protect the innocent) was telling me about his sales team and his challenges in motivating them. He told me his compensation structure is a basic commission against draw structure.

As all good managers do, Ted sets specific goals with each member of his sales team. If they achieve their goals, they should make a nice living. Like most sales teams, Ted has a variety of achievers – those who always hit their quota, those who are more challenged but managed to get pretty close and those who should find another line of work. Ted’s toughest job is figuring out how to get them all excited so they sell more.

Ted recently instituted a bonus plan designed to get his salespeople to produce more sales. If they achieved these “stretch goals,” they would earn an additional $2,500. He was convinced that they would sit up and take notice of this generous bonus and run out to aggressively pursue more contracts. “Salespeople are only motivated by money,” he said. “Whenever we ask them what they want, they always say ‘money!'”  So he was shocked when the offer of the bonus did NOTHING to change their motivation.

Does Ted’s situation sound familiar to you? Have you cracked the code on inspiring focus and follow-through with your sales professionals? I’ve heard this scenario played out across industries, in public and private companies, and in large and small sales teams. Yes, it’s true that salespeople are motivated by money. But the form of that money matters.

Lucky for Ted, we were able to re-think the bonus offering, how it was earned and how it was delivered. The top achievers exceeded expectations, many of the middle made their numbers and even some of the struggling salespeople worked harder to get the mentoring and direction they needed to improve their skills.

Matching the right incentive to your sales team matters and it should be win-win situation for your company’s bottom line and your salesperson’s ego.

If you’re thinking about implementing a bonus program, don’t do it until you’ve taken advantage of our early 2013 free offer.

We have a limited number of FREE STRATEGY SESSIONS on “Designing Effective Incentives”.  If you’d like to apply for one of these, complete the information at the link below.

Do it now while you’re here reading this.


 Request your FREE
“Designing Effective Incentives”
Strategy Session HERE