Wood flooring industry professionals can use employee incentives—prizes, privileges and other benefits that motivate people to act in certain ways—to influence positive change in sales numbers, channel partner relationships and customer experiences. Here are a few strategic best practices for using sales channel incentives effectively within the wood flooring business.

1. Use non-cash rewards.

Aren’t, “Do your job, get paid,” and, “Make a sale, get commission,” already incentive schemes of sorts? Not really. The goal of an incentive program is to motivate flooring sales reps to go above and beyond the status quo, so you have to offer them a reward that’s outside the norm. Eighty-two percent of companies, according to an Incentive Research Foundation study, use points-based incentive programs to do so. These programs offer participants digital reward points that can be redeemed for online merchandise items. Points have a different psychological effect than salary, motivating contractors and salespeople to do things salary doesn’t.

2. Use a mobile-friendly program.

Flooring industry incentive programs should be mobile-ready. Not only is mobile the communication medium people are paying most attention to, the native features on smart phones can lend incentive programs greater capabilities. Participants can upload invoices and other claims documentation right from the field, and receive push notifications or texts alerting them to new sales promotions, points balances and more.

3. Combine incentives with your sales promotions.

Maybe you’re especially eager to push out a supplier’s new flooring product that’s both attractive and environmentally friendly. You could offer employees a limited-time reward points bonus for selling flooring from that product line.

4. Incentivize adding more value to the average sale.

Offer rewards to employees who go above and beyond the sale to upsell products or convince customers to purchase extras, like cleaning supplies or wood vents. This increases the value of an otherwise average sale and can even normalize such behaviors so that, over time, additional purchases become an ingrained part of your sales standard.

5. Encourage training.

An incentive program can turn product knowledge into an ongoing endeavor that’s built into your sales culture. Earning reward points for answering a short quiz on product knowledge? That’s quick and easy. Not only that, but it adds personal value to the act of educating, allowing them to save up more reward points for a new grill at the same time as they better understand the pros and cons of bamboo flooring or the environmental conditions that could spell disaster for solid wood flooring.

Steve Damerow is CEO of Incentive Solutions (www.isicorporate.com). He is a published author and hosts the national radio show “Business Matters.” Incentive Solutions has managed hundreds of incentive loyalty programs within the flooring/building industries. Steve Damerow can be reached at sdamerow@isicorporate.com or (678) 514-0203.