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Give your team an unexpected reward and watch them flourish

Christian Fernsby |
The element of surprise has been proven to be a powerful motivational tool.


Scientific studies show that unexpected incentive rewards stimulate areas of the brain connected to behavior development and learning, Luke Kreitner writes.

When it comes to sales incentive strategy, rewards are given for behavior that goes above and beyond basic job requirements.

When introducing the element of surprise, unexpected incentive rewards should be received for displaying behaviors that drive your sales goals and align with your company culture.

While your current incentive program may already have a quarterly goal or sales threshold in place for your team, unexpected rewards would be granted for quick thinking, closing a deal or going above the call of duty to help a colleague.

A pleasure center of the brain called the nucleus accumbens is highly activated by the possibility of receiving an award, which unpredictable patterns of rewards play on.

Pleasure isn’t the only part of the brain that perks up when unexpected rewards are involved.

The novelty of this unexpected outcome breaks us out of our habit forming mindset and sparks mindfulness, signaling the brain to absorb important information associated with the reward outcome.

In short, surprise incentive rewards are powerful because they’re universal.

You can use them as a tool of instant engagement to make the reward experience more meaningful, which in turn can motive sales teams more effectively.

Because unexpected rewards make people pay more attention to what happens next, combining them with incentive training can have a tremendous effect on how well salespeople are motivated to learn and retain important information.

There is a world of interesting elements regarding motivation psychology and the impact that rewards have on sales behavior.

Unexpected rewards, while a small piece of the puzzle, are ones that can be particularly useful in these unusual times.


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