If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me “what incentive should I run to help me grow my business?” I’d have enough nickels to buy something really expensive. If I had a dollar for every time I’d been asked that I’d be on the beach not answering this question anymore. But the question is common. I think it’s common because people think there is a specific type of program or a specific program structure that is used over and over again regardless of the business situation. While that would make my life a lot easier – it just isn’t true. It is much more complicated than that.

It is actually TWICE as complicated.

Only 2 Things Incentives Do

While there as many ways to structure the actual incentive rules as there are stars in the night sky – there are really only two objectives in an incentive program.

  1. Get people to do something
  2. Get people to stop doing something

There ya go!

Starting & Stopping

Usually, when talking with clients I begin by asking what they want to accomplish. The answers are pretty standard.

  • Sell more.
  • Make more money.
  • Move inventory.
  • Adopt a new process.
  • Add more names to the client database

I then ask why those outcomes aren’t happening. The clients then begin lamenting all the things their target audience needs to be doing. The stories are the same but different.

  • “My sales people need to make cold calls.”
  • “My sales people need to adopt my lead gen tool.”
  • “My marketing team needs to respond to inquiries faster.”

Or it’s more about what they don’t want them to do…

  • “I wish my people would stop pushing the easy stuff.”
  • “I wish my sales people wouldn’t offer the lowest price out of the gate.”
  • “I want my marketing team to stop using stock emails to our clients.”

That’s pretty much it… What do you want people to start doing? What do you NOT want people to do anymore?

Easy peasy.

In true Steve Jobs fashion…One more thing

Actually 2….

Before you go and start putting the program together you still NEED to ask why the behaviors aren’t happening or why they continue to occur. Is it an issue of motivation or is it a communication issue? Or is it at training issue? Those questions have to be asked before you jump in and put a program in place.

Only three reasons people don’t do something (or stop doing something)…

  1. Didn’t know what you wanted (communication)
  2. Didn’t know how to do it differently or at all (training)
  3. Didn’t have a reason (motivation)

Make sure you’re not trying to use a hammer to put in screws. Use the right tool for the job.

Actually – maybe this isn’t as simple as 2 things – or 3 questions.

Heck – Ignore this post and just give me a call – I’ll make it easy for you!