Is Your Compensation Plan Stuck In The Twilight Zone?

Sales, Service & Negotiation Author Dr. Gary Goodman Says The Amount You Are Paid Is Relatively Unimportant
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - Nov. 2, 2021 - PRLog -- The original "Twilight Zone" TV show featured an episode about a petty criminal with a gaming habit.

He dies in a shootout and a "guide" arrives to escort him to the next place. Lucky him, it is filled with casinos and games of chance.

He's offered chips on the house and he places his bets, each and every one he wins.

Tiring of his unceasing good fortune, he says to his guide, "If this is heaven, take me to the other place."

"This is the other place" he is told.

Which raises a point: If you simply can't lose, does this take the fun out of selling?

Sales trainer, best-selling author, and corporate and career consultant Dr. Gary Goodman asks:

"To what extent are we attracted to selling based upon its 'gaming' characteristics?"

He has actually worked deals where it was a shock when prospects said no.

Goodman's observation is that salespeople are hooked on their occupation not by the amount of money they make, but by how often that money is earned. Goodman has authored 26 books, including 77 Best Practices In Negotiation.

Famed psychologist B.F. Skinner put it this way:

We're not motivated by the amount of reinforcement we get. We're motivated by the schedule through which we are reinforced.

Consider a slot machine that doesn't pay off with every bet, but only intermittently. That is more addictive than getting a payback with every play.

Goodman points out, "When salespeople lose deals, winning deals becomes that much sweeter. This also means when we're on a hot streak, we crave a change so we disable ourselves to keep the game interesting."

Sounds strange, doesn't it?

As proof, Goodman says, "We get off of our scripts, we introduce objections that the client didn't think of, and we put other pebbles in our mouths."

Pay close attention to the schedule in which your firm pays salespeople, Goodman advises.

"Commissions paid daily" has an entirely different reinforcement power than "Commissions paid monthly."

Countless ads try to recruit sellers that are "money motivated," without having a clue about the fact that the amount of earnings may be less significant than their schedule.

Is your sales comp plan on firm ground or in the Twilight Zone?

To evaluate the unintended impacts of your sales comp plan, Goodman can be reached at: or at (818) 970-GARY (4279).

Dr. Gary S. Goodman
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