How to Produce Good Negotiators in Your Sales Force, #4: Reward What You Want Done

This is the fourth and final of a 4 part series of blogs addressing negotiating ability in the sales arena.  If someone other than you would be a better fit for this, please pass it along.

If you have missed the first three articles in this series: #1 (Hire the Right People), #2 (Be Sure They are Trained) or #3 (Reinforce Training) you may want to refer to them first. 

#4. Reward what you want done. Be sure your compensation package rewards what you want to happen!

It’s surprising how often I see this basic principle violated. I recently worked with an international company with several hundred salespeople. We designed a custom program, produced it on video/CD-ROM, and trained very good facilitators to deliver the roll-out and follow-up.
The negotiating training went very well - but results were below expectations. This was due to a very simple fact: the compensation plan didn’t reward the changes we were trying to implement. We were changing the culture, asking the sales force to alter their fundamental approach to business - going for profit instead of just being grateful to get the business. What happened for those who took up the challenge, who led the charge, who went head-to-head in confrontational situations and emerged victorious? Nothing.  There was no pay-off.  The sales force was on a salary.
When you ask people to make changes, to do difficult things outside their comfort zone, reward them for doing it. Salespeople are smart. They can sense a flaw in a compensation package before it hits the mail room. Be sure your compensation package reinforces what you want to accomplish.
So, it’s really that simple. Not easy - but simple. If you want your sales force to be good negotiators, to not just boost gross revenues, but profits - follow these four axioms:

  1. Hire the right people.
  2. Teach them how to negotiate.
  3. Reinforce the training. One-shot training doesn’t work.
  4. Reward what you want done.   

Incorporate these concepts into your company and watch the profits rise.
If you’ve enjoyed or learned something from this series, we should talk.  Please call me at 415-517-8150, or email me at
I’d love to chat with you.  After all, our mission is simple:
We teach sales teams to sell more business - at higher margins.