I have been talking to a great friend of mine, who works in sales, and as we all know the last couple of years have not been brilliant for retail and business sales.

Over the last couple of months, huge pressure has been applied to the sales team to close business for the year-end and this is not landing well, as there is no incentive to do so (positive reward and recognition), just a daily rant and a weekly name and shame on calls, appointments, and orders. 

This got me thinking back to my first job as a school leaver at the tender age of 16, when I worked on Broad Street in Reading, in a jeans shop. Back then we had to write the sales on a sales sheet with a carbon copy under the initials of the salesperson at the end, to work out our commissions. 

I was only a couple of months into the job when the Area Manager came in and introduced a very simple weekly incentive (which he paid out of his pocket). 

Here’s how it worked: 

If you sell one item in a transaction – No Stars 

 If you sell two items in a transaction – 1 Star 🌟

If you sell three items in a transaction – 2 Stars 🌟🌟

 Four sales – 3 Stars 🌟🌟🌟 /Five Sales – 4 stars…etc,etc… 🌟🌟🌟🌟

So, when we sold linked purchases, the cashier would put a 🌟 for two sales, 🌟🌟 for three sales and so on, onto the sales sheet.

This would then be visually verified by matching it to the till roll at the end of the day. Each salesperson was then told how many sticky stars they could put on the weekly chart (in the staff room), which we updated every day.

Quite simple and has no financial limits. 

The easiest sale was a pair of jeans (£12.99) and then we would offer the customer either a leather belt (back in the day, they were 99p, believe it or not!!) or sometimes a T-Shirt (£1.99). 👕

At the end of the week, the salesperson with the most stars would be rewarded with an LP token (ask your parents, if you don’t know what they are!!) for the value of £5. The Saturday staff were also included and the highest stars on the day got a singles token for £1.50. 

As crazy as this may sound, I remember that in the first week, our branch increased its sales by an amazing 12%, which incredibly grew to over 20% within the month

A customised and flexible reward programme can ensure your sales teams remain engaged and incentivised to reach their goals. 

Another company I worked for had a fleet of cars for the sales team. 🚗 

However, unlike traditional fleets, where everyone gets the same make of car, model and colour, these were graduated from a large luxury saloon, down to a 3-door hatchback. 

Each car was allocated in order of the previous month’s sales, so the top salesperson had the choice of which car they would drive for the new month. 

It used to be quite a battle for the top spot, especially as we headed into the third and fourth weeks of the month when we would all be keeping an eye on the ‘white board’ in the Sales Manager’s office. 

The result, as before, meant that sales increased, and they were above target many times. 🤑🤑🤑

So, having taken you on this memory lane journey, let’s go back to my original question:  Reward & Recognition for great performance, does it help? 

Let’s look at the five key questions that we at The Motivation Agency ask when creating our programmes:

  What are you asking me to do? Sell more products.

✔  Why are you asking me to do it? To increase sales/profits. 

✔  How do I do it? Sell linked products by asking an additional question.

✔  How am I doing? We have a chart in the staff room, and a whiteboard in the sales manager’s office, which is updated daily/hourly.

✔  What’s in it for me? Reward & recognition -LP/Single Tokens / Car choice/Status…!

When creating a Reward & Recognition programme, it’s important to consider the bigger picture, this way you can ensure everyone is engaged and incentivised. 

Incentives aren’t a new idea and if done right, really work! 

We now have POS technology, mobile apps and electronic reward systems. Meaning companies can track and reward seamlessly, and most importantly they can celebrate team members’ achievements publicly even when not everyone is on the sales floor. 

I still believe that the more people you talk to, the more people will buy from you.

It doesn’t matter about the climate you are working in, ask a question, offer a solution/suggestion, you just might be amazed at the reply. 

However, add an incentive, recognition, reward or competition within the team and the results will increase. And remember …make sure you set it up to be successful and not to create conflict/challenge/stress. 

If you’re looking to improve your sales team’s performance, consider implementing a Reward and Recognition programme. The Motivation Agency has a wealth of experience in this field and would be happy to discuss your requirements. Whatever your challenge, we ensure that investment in a Reward and Recognition or incentive programme delivers measurable ROI (return on investment). 

Hugh Lawson

Hugh Lawson

Learning and Development Trainer

An expert in behavioural change, Hugh has had a wide range of successes in coaching people over the last 20 years.

From working with UK household names such as Jardine Motors Group in the automotive sector and Shell in the petroleum industry to becoming a Coach for the British Waterski & Wakeboard Federation, Hugh has proven the effectiveness of great coaching more than once during his career.