Carrot and Stick Motivation is History

We know about this, it’s been well documented. But I feel we need to move on and be a little more subtle and elegant about how we motivate our salespeople.

Stick first. A report came in from China this year of a sales company who punished their failing salespeople by making them crawl around the Shore of Ruyi Lake, in the city of Zhengshou, on their hands and knees.

In public too. How embarrassing. And it went viral on social media.

The answer is to be more elegant – here’s some reminders how:

  • Firstly get your hygiene factors right – you know – pay them enough, have great working conditions and generally sound management styles – be modern about this.
  • Next give them freedom, don’t micro manage.
  • Then give them a career path even if they don’t take it.
  • Develop them to death, progress them with the capability to do the job next on their list. Come on development is tax deductible so do it.
  • Make their job interesting and stimulation and maybe a little challenging

And above all recognise them, reward maybe, but just let them know they’re doing a great job, every week or so and make it believable. Salespeople feed from recognition; it’s their legal high, their drug.

Carrot and stick, old fashioned, but obviously still practiced around the world although I think the Chinese example was a publicity stunt. I worked there recently and the guys there are exactly the same as everyone else – they need elegant motivation.