Do you want better sales results from associates? A partner told me recently, “We’ve had a bonus plan for years and no one seems to care.” If this is true of your firm, perhaps it’s time to rethink your compensation plan. If you pay staff members a flat salary for hours worked, then you will get just that: hours. An imaginative bonus plan will stimulate employees to help attract and retain clients. Finding and retaining loyal employees is one of the secrets to marketing success. When you create pay plans that are imaginative and fun, and when you can tap into other motivators such as recognition and family support, you will keep your best people and keep them excited about their work. They can also help you recruit more people like them. I have researched this concept thoroughly over the past few years with many firms and other consultants. We have found five characteristics of incentive pay plans that create success.
Reward the Results Your Associates Can Control
Don’t wait for the client to pay the bill. Pay for creating the lead. Pay them even if the lead does not become a new client. Initiating introductions to qualified prospects is a valuable habit for you to support. Pay bonuses for regular attendance at civic and business club meetings.
Reward for Effort
Jay Conrad Levinson says it takes an average of 27 marketing attempts to move a prospect to readiness to engage. Keeping momentum in a long sales cycle is important, but difficult. No wonder most people give up after the second or third attempt. It is the cumulative effect of repeated marketing efforts that yields new clients. Firms that reward effort create an environment that encourages staffers to build relationships that can pay off in the long term.
Rewarding effort need not break the bank. Let your associates know that at least half of their bonuses and raises depend on marketing efforts.
Reward Publicly and Often
If you can pass out bonus checks regularly at staff meetings, you will create excitement. When you reward publicly, you are employing a more powerful motivator than money: recognition. Being recognized by one’s peers for a job well done is more long-lasting than money.
Make Rewards Timely
Quickly reward the effort and results you want repeated. Again, don’t wait till the client pays. Quick rewards encourage more action.
Reward with Products, Vacations, or Entertainment
Products such as televisions or trips are remembered long after cash has been spent. When you reward with tangible items you impact the employee longer and you may positively affect his or her spouse.
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