You need to set the tone and set out a vision of where you want the team to head, over-performance from a sales performance standpoint. As far as leading and motivating, it comes down to individual tactics and techniques that you need to use with each one of your sales people because they are all motivated by different forces. As we talked about in previous shows “The 7 Forces of Sales Motivation” and how you can use that through a questionnaire inside the Sales Management Mastery Academy exclusively for our paid members to go through that questionnaire and find out what kind of sales rep that you have based upon their motivational profile.

Today we are going to be talking about the sales person that is primarily motivated by “prizes”.

Prizes can be a lot of different things, but they are extrinsic motivators that you as a sales manager put in place to keep your sales reps motivated.

I think that everyone is motivated by prizes to a certain degree. Remember, when we are talking about motivational profiles, we are talking about predominant characteristics in their psyche, deep and profound genetically encoded motivations that are different for each person. We talked, last week, about the sales person who is primarily motivated by praise, and I think that ever sales person is motivated by praise, but some more than others.

The questionnaire that you can get inside of the academy helps you to determine specific motivations.

Today we are going to talk about the second profile; the motivational profile of prizes.

Prizes and external rewards and incentives can greatly enhance performance, there’s no question about it. As a sales manager, there are all sorts of thing that you can do to promote competition within your sales team, to have prizes for a certain award; quarterly, weekly or monthly award and external rewards can certainly enhance performance. Certain sales people are more motivated by this than others. Sales managers need to make sure that this motivate instead of de-motivates.

We are going to get into that a little bit today. And we might even need to talk about this in second show as to how to tailor make your motivational strategies for your sales people primarily motivated by prizes and rewards.

The problem with rewards and prizes is that it can divert attention from the intrinsic reward of the task itself.

Last week we talked about extrinsic versus intrinsic motivations.

We spoke about extrinsic motivations that will help and enhance the intrinsic motivations of your sales people. You can’t change the intrinsic motivations of your sales people, whatever their profile is, is what it is.

It is up to you to figure out what that profile is, and produce external motivations that will enhance their intrinsic motivation.

The problem with prizes is that it puts all of the focus on the external reward instead of the intrinsic reward of doing the task itself extremely well. That is one of the first problems with this technique.

Secondly, prizes and external rewards are so easy to implement that they are often abused by sales organizations. One of the organizations that I was in had a tremendous amount of prizes, people started to lose track of which program prize was for what contest and it defeated the purpose of it. People got confused and ended up doing very little at all. This is one of the downfalls of this particular motivational strategy.

It is a very popular form of motivation you can really get into an over-abuse factor which lends to it being less and less effective.

Also it can divert attention from the actual task itself.

The reward, instead of mastery or achievement of the goal becomes the motivator, instead of having a good sales call and getting an intrinsic feeling of achievement by accomplishing something, or by getting a signed contract, or getting an appointment that leads to a sales, the external reward becomes the motivator when it comes to rewards and prizes.

It is something that you have to be careful of if you are going to implement any sort of prize and reward strategy.

There are certain prize strategies that do work.

Prize and reward strategy can be overly complex and difficult to follow. If you have too many prize programs and reward strategies to motivate your sales team people can suffer from overwhelm.

Often times the prize and rewards become so complex that people don’t’ know how to get to them. Often times, bonus plans and commission plans are so complex; it takes years for some sales managers to master those commission plans. Sometimes prize plans do the same thing. You may suffer from overwhelm in a couple of different ways.

Prizes and external reward systems should be used as a piece of your overall strategy to be effective.

You should not have an over-reliance upon it. Everything that you do shouldn’t come back to rewards and prizes as the main motivation; you really want to get your sales people to be intrinsically motivated by the task itself that is far more self sustaining.

Prize strategies do not hold up over the long term.

Prizes and reward systems although easy to implement, they rarely 100% successful at making profound, long-term performance changes.

It might be helpful as a short term boost; maybe a weekly contest for an IPod or whoever makes the most appointments gets a gift certificate for a local restaurant that is helpful for a short term strategy. But as far as your overall approach, this should be one small part to it.

If you have a team of 10 sales people, you might have 1 or 2 people who are gunning for that free IPod or for that gift certificate to the restaurant, because they are more motivated by prizes than other people.

When I was a sales person, I really didn’t give a hoot about prizes and rewards. I just wasn’t motivated by that, but there were plenty of people who were. I would rather make money in the commission plan and drive sales, and feel like I’m creating a business instead of going after some gift certificate.

I felt that if I produced enough to create commissions and bonuses, then I could go out to any restaurant that I wanted, and I could go out and buy my own IPod, I didn’t have to win a contest to get those types of things.

Some people will be deterred by the plan and not engage in it, and that level of engagement is an important to the success of the plan.

It should be used as “part” of an overall motivational strategy.

Like we said before, over-reliance on a reward strategy may stunt intrinsic motivations.

A great book that I read that specifically talks about this “stunting of intrinsic motivations”.

There is a book that I read on motivation for kids. Remember the motivations of you sales people is similar to the motivations that they had when they were children, it really doesn’t change all that much over time.

There was a classic Stanford University study that was authored by Alfie Cohn.

The researchers observed students in preschool class room. Whenever students had completed the assigned work, they were allowed to go to one of three tables to use the materials there.

One table contained toy cars and trucks, one had stuffed animals, and the third table had a variety of art supplies.

The researchers observed 9 students that frequented the art table at every opportunity.

They took these kids to be very interested and motivated in art.

They took the 9 kids and divided them into 3 groups for a motivational study.

The first group was brought into the office and was asked to draw a picture. When they were finished, the examiner thanked them and commented positively to all of the drawings.

The second group was brought in, and each of them was asked to draw a picture. When they were finished the researcher commented positively and gave each of them an attractive personalized certificate.

The first group got a verbal “good job”.

The second one got the praise as well as a certificate.

The third group went into the office and they were told that that would receive a certificate if they drew a “nice picture”, and they were shown the certificate.

The children each completed the drawing and each was awarded a certificate.

The researchers observed the children to determine which students would return to the art table for their free time.

Remember, before this experiment, they had all come to the art table on their own free will.

After the division of the 3 groups, they observed which kids came back to the art table.

The interesting observation was that the first group that received the verbal reinforcement, but no tangible reward, always returned to the art table when they had free time.

The second group who was given the certificate after they completed their drawings also returned to the art table when they had free table.

This experiment was replicated a dozen times.

Several children in the third group stopped going to the art table.

The question is: What accounts for this kind of reaction?

In this case, the researchers took an activity that the children had intrinsic motivations and pleasure, turned it into an extrinsic pleasure and reward and it stunted the intrinsic activity.

This is the biggest mistake that sales managers make; they become over reliant on prizes, awards and rewards. What ends up happening is that when you do too many types of these scenarios, or too many types of contests, you end up stunting the intrinsic motivation of doing a good job, or creating mastery of a chosen field, and in this particular case, it is the job of the sales person.

This is the problem with rewards and the biggest mistake that sales managers make when it comes to motivating sales person. They take this spontaneous and genuine enjoyment and converted it into “work”.

Rather than turn work into play, they had turned play into work, exactly like are example of the art table.

If you are relying too much on rewards and awards and prizes, you really have to watch out for this. You might have the opposite of your desired effect when you have the IPod contest. Let’s say you have an IPod contest for those who make the most appointments?
What happens the week that you don’t have a contest?

The idea is that you want to reinforce behaviors that will lead you and them to sales success.

Sometimes rewards and awards get in the way of that success and they end up having the reverse effect on the well-intentioned sales manager.

To summarize:

Prizes, rewards and awards are easy to implement, but often overused.
They are easy to implement, but it should be a small part, or one particular part of your overall strategy.

When you take the Sales Motivation Questionnaire that is in the Sales Management Academy, if you have someone that comes out high on the prize end, then these are the types of things that you should do for them as individuals instead of for the group. That can be an effective part of your motivational strategy.

It shouldn’t be discounted, but you have to make sure that you don’t fall into the trap of the number one mistake: over-reliance on rewards, awards, and prizes.

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