How Reward Substitution Can Help You Stay on Task


I’m a Dr. Dan Ariely fan and this video is another reason why I admire his work.  He is a behavioral economist and author of ‘Predictably Irrational’ and his new book, “The Upside of Irrationality” is now available on paperback.

In this video Ariely explains why we make ‘irrational’ decisions when it comes to deciding between what really matters and what is immediate.  He then gives a personal example of how using ‘reward substitution’ will help you focus on the former, not the latter.

Now that you’ve watched the video, you may be asking, “How does this apply to sales or selling in general?”  Too often clients also seek to avoid making the tough choice of doing what’s necessary (taking their medicine) to rejuvenate their business (sales).  For example, a company with lagging sales may know that the problem they have stems from their inability to track and maintain client relationships.  The client knows that the only way to do this effectively is by installing a new CRM (Customer Relationship Management System) system.

The problem?

That would require a 6 month commitment from the client and would tie up some limited resources.  So the customer decides not to do it and decides to continue doing things the way they’ve always done so and MAYBE next year he’ll consider installing a new system.  In the meantime, they’ll continue to lose business and/or clients to the competition slowly and over time.

Installing the CRM system is the “injection” treatment the client needs to implement if his business (i.e., the Kidney) is going survive and thrive.

Challenge: What type of ‘reward substitution’ tactic would you offer the client to convince them to not only install the CRM system, but also support it for the next six months so it has a chance to succeed?   (Note: replace the CRM with whatever products or service you’re selling)

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