Recognition and Gratitude (A Note to the Sales Leader)

We tend to believe that the greatest levers we have to pull when it comes to improving salesforce performance are things like compensation structures and bonuses. And compensation is surely a critical component when it comes to building a high-performing sales organization.

But there are two far more powerful levers: Recognition and gratitude.

I Recognize . . .

One of the most powerful forces in improving salesforce performance is to recognize sales people for their successes and their contributions. Too often we make the mistake of believing that because someone is doing the job that we don’t need to recognize them when they succeed. We think we don’t need to recognize them for their contribution. This is wrong. Human beings have a deep, inborn need to be significant. They need to know that what they do matters, that it’s making a difference, and that they’re contributing.

Thank You for Your Contribution

The second lever, gratitude, is equally as important. It’s important to say thank you. It’s important to express your gratitude for a job well done. It says that you notice, that you care. It also tells the salesperson that you care about them as an individual, as a person.

There are some people who are money motivated. They want a monetary reward for everything they do. A few don’t care about recognition or gratitude. But they are the exception, not the rule.

The struggle with always using compensation and monetary rewards is that it begins a process where everything is done for monetary rewards. Things are done for pride. Things are done for meaning. Things are done for unit cohesion, because you’re part of the team.

Like everything in sales and sales management, it comes down to balance. Is there anything wrong with monetary rewards? No, of course not. But monetary rewards should be part of the strategy that also includes things like recognition and gratitude. Absolutely. And if you’re ignoring these two levers, you’re ignoring them at your peril.


Are you relying too heavily on monetary rewards alone?

When was the last time you recognize someone for the excellent work that they did?

When was last time you said thank you to an employee for doing a job well.?

How important is it for individuals to feel significant what affiliative make a contribution?

Find three people to recognize and three to thank this week.

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