One of the challenges that you will face if you run a direct sales or MLM company is dealing with the fluctuating motivation of your sales team. People’s spirits can wax and wane like the phases of the moon when they are left to their own devices, so it is critically important that you set up a system that provides incentives for your distributors to stay in the game over the long haul, perform all of their training, and spread brand awareness through their social networks. The big question of course is: how can you pull this off?
Human beings are motivated by a multitude of things, but rewards and recognition (positive reinforcement) are some of the best ways to approach it. Sure, only intrinsic motivation will ultimately keep a distributor and their downline going for years, but you can certainly give them a boost—especially in the unpredictable beginnings of their career, when they are more likely to blow off their training and avoid getting started—by offering them consistent rewards. Here are some tips on how to do this the right way in the direct selling industry, so that your distributors and their downline feel more motivated and get off to a powerful start:
Make rewards immediate.
One of the hallmarks of successful positive reinforcement techniques is that they are immediate. They occur in the moment that your subject is performing the right action. This means that if you want your distributors to go through all of your training material, the material needs to be pleasant, fun, and engaging—maybe even entertaining, if you can manage it.
Afterwards, reward them for following through every step of the way. Did they read through your first training module? Give them a little virtual badge. Give them points they can trade in for something later. Give them some kind of indication that they have progressed. Think back to kindergarten and remember what motivated you when you were an easily distracted kid; your distributors, deep down, are not too different.
You may think, “If I offer a huge reward like a car or a large bonus at the end of the year for top performers, people will be motivated,” and that might be true to an extent, but ultimately the most powerful rewards are the ones that are small and frequent, not huge and infrequent.
Know what your distributers really want.
It’s a fool’s errand to try to reward people with something that they have no interest in. Don’t just assume that what you value in life is going to automatically clue you into what your sales team distributors and their downline teams value. For example, at the end of the day, most people don’t want money—they want what they think money will bring into their lives: security, freedom, and social recognition. Try to have your rewards cater to that. As the leader of the organization, social recognition is particularly easy for you to provide. Give people titles when they reach certain goals, even if they mean little objectively; what really matters here is the prestige.
Make the reward system linear and fair.
There should be set rules on how and when you deliver rewards, and it should apply equally to everyone, from people on the lowest tier to those on the highest. Nothing is more de-motivating than injustice, so make sure everyone knows that they have the same opportunities as everyone else, then deliver on that promise consistently.
Setting up a reward system to push your distributors through training and to help them engage with your brand better doesn’t have to be expensive or hard. Just look at the common human motivation factors and build your system around that.