Payback Time!

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An incentive is a way to pay back the effort to meet the goals you set. It is a promise in the form of gift, given to motivate people to sell, or to encourage people to buy your products or services. In the business sector, both an employee and customer can receive incentives, which may come in the form of money or free goods.

Rewards for employees can be given if they sell certain hard-to-sell or expensive products, or if they meet certain sales quotas. Those for clients, on the other hand, can be given if clients buy certain products, pay a large amount of cash to purchase your products or services, or refer potential customers to you.

Whether you are giving rewards for employees or clients, you have to be creative with your incentive, or rewards, program. You have to balance earning money with allowing other people to earn their rewards. In other words, you must still profit from the returns, but you awards must be special.

What possible incentives could you give?

Although rewards can come in the form of money or goods, most people would prefer to receive the latter. Now why is this so?

First, we have to take a look at the different types of non-cash rewards. Some companies give reward cards. Others choose to give travel certificates, or, at least, an all-expenses-paid “night on the town. " Still others give gift certificates or company merchandise.

What makes these non-cash incentives so attractive? It's the fact that they can be shared with friends and family, and can be shown off and bragged about. You will hear employees boasting about the latest computer they got because they made a great sale.

You will hear clients showing off their new vacuum cleaner, won through a point system after thousands of dollars spent with their credit cards. But have you ever heard anyone bragging about the money they got, or the check they won?

In the end, the best rewards are those which can be used anywhere, are tailored to the recipient's tastes and needs, have no expiration date, and can be chosen amongst a collection of incentives.

If your program fails to bring you profit, then there might be something wrong with either the conditions you set, or the incentive itself.

First, ask yourself if the goals you set were actually attainable. Although some rewards may be attractive, employees and clients can actually be turned off if asked to do something beyond their reach, or outside their call of duty. Take care to tip the balance towards motivation without compromising your profit.

Second, ask yourself if your incentive is truly special. The success of your program rests on how meaningful your reward is. If you are not sure about how valuable your incentive is, give your clients and employees a list of rewards, and give them the freedom to choose which reward they would like to receive.

An incentive program is a way to not only keep your clients happy, but keep your employees happily working for you as well. So draw up a great incentive program and work hard to make sure that it happens. In the end, it's you who will be smiling while you rake the profits in.

And that is the greatest incentive for you.

James Monahan is the owner and Senior Editor of and writes expert articles about incentives.


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