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Pay Plans for Sales People II
Posted to Shop Management Forum on 10/12/2013 4 Replies


Okay, there are some holes in the 'pay for behavior versus pay for results' idea presented in the first post. But that's okay; it got us thinking about the relationship between behavior and results. I'm engaged in a couple of training projects that has me thinking about this. If I may elaborate, maybe you can offer some helpful suggestions or insights and answer a couple of questions I have at the end.

The expectation (or at least the hope) with any intervention of training is that people will acquire knowledge & skills that will improve their performance, which in turn yields positive results. Results can be in the form of more cars fixed right the first time, in the case of technician training, or more inquiring phone calls converted to jobs in the shop, in the case of a service advisor, or any other number of results (goals) depending on the training. The concern (for me) isn't the training itself, it's with what happens after. If people don't apply what they learned, what's the point?

A trainer is in an awkward position of sorts. He (or she) doesn't have any authority or even any influence over what happens in the workplace (back to behavior). As a trainer you HOPE that people will use what they learned, but whether they do or don't is out of your hands. Some might wonder, what's the big deal? If you did a good job of delivering the training, you're done. What happens from there isn't your concern. While that's true, you want your clients to realize their goals. You want them to have a good ROI -- That's Return On INSTRUCTION as well as Return On INVESTMENT.

A common occurrence from a behavior standpoint is backsliding. We've all seen it and probably experienced it ourselves. Maybe we apply something for a time, but slowly but surely we slide back to our old ways.

There are at least two reasons for this. First is that change comes hard. When you have habits for doing things a certain way, it's not just hard, but darn uncomfortable to change. The second relates to our propensity to insist on being instantly gratified or to see immediate results. However, anything that we do that is new or different is going to be less than great at first. You know the old adage, practice makes perfect. It takes a while to get good at stuff; and we tend to not like that which we're not good at, hence the backsliding.

So how is this addressed? Here's how I see it (if anyone else sees it differently, I'm listening). An owner/manager will have one of five attitudes when it comes to training, from worst to best they are: 1) Preventing 2) Discouraging 3) Neutral 4) Encouraging 5) Requiring.

Because this post is already pretty long, I'll not expound on these (you probably get it anyway), but suffice it to say, a REQUIRING attitude is the best of the five.

So it boils down to these two short and straightforward questions:

1) How does one convince, motivate, and/or inspire an owner/manager to adopt a requiring attitude?

2) What, if anything, can a trainer do to convince, motivate, and inspire those he (or she) trains to be persistent and also patient as they work through the discomfort of mastering new skills/processes?


Mark Hambaum
MDH Automotive Services
Richville, Michigan, USA

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