Incentives have long been used as a crutch for MLM and Direct Sales companies to get through the difficult summer months. Sometimes they are effective and sometimes they are not. Here are some tips to creating a great incentive program:
Incentives should support your Compensation Plan.
Incentives are not supposed to fix a Compensation Plan, they are supposed to support it. If your Comp Plan needs to be fixed, then fix it. If you rely on Incentives for that, you venture down a very slippery slope. Use incentives as a way to spotlight areas of your Compensation Plan that need a little bit more focus. Additionally, identify what behaviors tend to decline during the summer and use an incentive program to motivate those.
Avoid “Top 10” Programs
I will never forget an experience I had early in my career. I was assigned a handful of the top “founding” distributors of the MLM company I was working for at the time and I was given the responsibility to help them be successful, acting as a liaison between them and the company. I was speaking to one of the distributors I was responsible for and they asked me to check on their status for the Incentive Trip. The qualification period had just closed and they were eagerly awaiting the results to see if they were one of the top 20 qualifying distributors that would be going on an all-expense paid trip to a tropical island. When I checked on their status, I found that the distributor I worked with was number 21 on the list. Again. For the third or fourth time. This real-life example shows why “Top X” programs don’t work: there are winners and losers.
When you structure your Incentive Program to be based on a criteria and allow all who meet that criteria to receive the reward, you give the control for achievement to the distributors. Programs that limit the number of distributors that can achieve really remove the control from the distributor because no matter how hard they work, there is always the opportunity that someone else will do more. Make sure that your incentive program allows anyone that takes responsibility for their actions to receive the associated reward.
Give it Time
Remember that behaviors and habits take time to develop. Incentive programs are most successful when enough time is given for distributors to develop and implement the strategies the program is trying to develop. That doesn’t mean that every incentive program has to be 12 months. Consider running a three-month incentive program for the summer time or a back to school incentive program that runs for August and September. Remember that if you really want long-term results, you need to give it time.
To learn more about creating an effective Incentive plan, click here or go to our “Learn” page and download Incentives that Sizzle.