Monday, November 23, 2009

Facts and Fallacies About Selling: Fallacy #7: Incentives increase sales

Fallacy #7: The way to increase sales and motivate salespeople is to offer “incentives” in money and merchandise.


Such schemes entice ineffective salespeople to put unnecessary pressure on prospective buyers. Short-term increases are the worst thing an incentive system creates.

For example, salespeople may delay processing an order or promise something sooner than they can deliver just to earn an “incentive.” These falsely created sales can seriously jeopardize an organization’s long-term viability and undermine customer satisfaction.

Poorly designed incentives temporarily mask incompetence and have a tendency to bring out the worst, not the best in people. No matter how cleverly disguised, any carrot and stick based process produces questionable long-term, sustainable results.

With competent salespeople, there is plenty of money to go around.

Manipulating behavior by offering reinforcements is a sound approach to training your pet beagle, but it may not bring out the best in salespeople. We realize this is an unconventional position, but there is current, sound, and factual evidence to support it.

If you’re curious about this subject, email me at and I’ll point you to the appropriate data.

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