Recognize employee recognition for its high value

April 13, 2009
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At the corporate sales meetings where I give presentations, I am often asked to participate in giving out sales awards.

The customer is elated when I say OK. Little do they know it’s one of my favorite things to do, and it’s one of the most important parts — if not the most important part — of their meeting.

Please note: These are not “contests.” They are sales achievement awards.

An individual’s name is called for his or her achievement, and his or her name and photo are shown on a big screen in front of everyone (especially their peers). They walk to the stage to accept the award — smiling, beaming, full of pride.

Photos are taken, hands are shaken, statues are handed out, plaques are awarded, inscriptions are read aloud, and prizes are given to the people who won — nay, who earned the award. All their hard work is recognized and rewarded. In public.

What’s the value of this? It can’t be measured. To quote MasterCard: “Priceless.”

You can measure performance, but you can’t measure pride of achievement. Nor can you measure the motivation and inspiration to continue to achieve.

This stimulus is not measured in some government handout or bailout. It’s an internal stimulus created from personal pride and accomplishment. Winning. Selling.

When someone wins an award, there are several unspoken benefits. There is the incentive for that individual to maintain or improve his or her performance to stay at the top. And there also is a huge stimulus for others in the audience to try to win an award next year.

Note well: Award achievement in public. And not just at the meeting: Make sure it’s on your blog, in your e-zine and posted on your Web site.

Sales incentives and sales awards are economic stimuli of the first degree. Real stimuli. In challenging economic times (how’s that for putting it mildly?), sales are what will make a company recover. Oh, you may have to make some cuts for the safety of your business, but no company ever cut their way to success. You must sell your way to profit and success.

Reality: How many of the GM bailout billions are being used to teach GM car salespeople how to sell in a way that doesn’t breed customer anger and disrespect? My bet is not one penny. One of the reasons GM went under is that they couldn’t sell as many cars as the competition. This stems from a lack of respect for car salespeople and “iffy” advertising like “a dollar over invoice.”

Car sales were down last year and continue to slide this year. Reality: 7.8 million new cars were sold last year. What percentage went to GM? Answer: not enough. Maybe a better answer lies in salespeople and their incentive to perform honorably, and then be rewarded for their achievement. Just a thought.

Maybe if the auto dealers rewarded their salespeople on the amount of customers that were repeat buyers or the percentage of customers who also use the service department, rather than “number of units sold,” they would be in less of a mess. Just a thought.

Our new president doesn’t seem to understand the power of celebration and rewarding performance of salespeople. Too bad.

Cancel sales meetings? Never. Stop rewarding the very people who put the money in your corporate coffers? Never.

Recognize salespeople for a job well done, and they will recognize you.

Praise salespeople for a job well done, and they will praise you.

Reward salespeople for a job well done, and they will continue to reward you.

Why don’t you take a look at your company, your salespeople and your awards and rewards. Maybe some recognition re-org is in order. Maybe instead of “cutting,” you might try “investing.” Especially in salespeople. They are your bailout.

Note to management: Instead of figuring out how to change (reduce) compensation plans as a disincentive and morale breaker to all, why not invest in a sales meeting and a celebration to reward those who have achieved at the highest level, and challenge those in the audience that they too can win these awards next year if they decide to dedicate the time and effort to do so.

Want the secrets to winning the sales award in your company?

1. Your YES! attitude with everyone you come in contact with.

2. Creating a value proposition in terms of the customer.

3. Your dedication to helping and serving others.

4. Creating a buying atmosphere when you meet customers.

4.5 Hard work.


Free Git-Bit: Want a game plan for creating awards? A list of suggestions is yours for free. Go to www.gitomer.com and enter AWARDS in the GitBit box. Jeffrey Gitomer can be reached at (704) 333-1112 or e-mail salesman@gitomer.com

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