GOING THE DISTANCE: CAN INCENTIVE TRIPS BUILD LONG-TERM SUCCESS? By Darren Jensen, CEO – LifeVantage Corp
The Bahamas wasn’t a bad place to spend a week. The sun was shining. The water was crystal clear. And the Atlantis resort had lived up to its reputation. Over 700 of our distributors qualified for our annual incentive trip. Together, we spent a week laughing, talking, and spending way too much time at the pool.
On the surface, this trip might have looked like an indulgence – a perk. And don’t get me wrong, in some ways (ok, a lot of ways) it definitely was. As an industry we spend millions of dollars on incentive trips every year, sending distributors to some of the most exotic locations the world offers. As I spent time poolside one afternoon with a few distributors, I started contemplating how much this trip cost. As the CEO of a publicly traded company, I have the responsibility to make sure that money is being spent wisely. More importantly, I started to consider the following questions:
Does earning an incentive trip help a distributor’s business long-term? And is it worth the money and sacrifice from both a field leader’s and corporate perspective and to continue offering them?
Last year, I asked myself the same question about attending major events. We discovered that distributors who attended at least one major event that year placed 291% more orders over the course of the year, were 241% more likely to enroll a distributor, were 580% more likely to rank advance – and, on average, earned 119% more than distributors who didn’t attend any major events. Would similar numbers hold true for distributors who qualify for incentive trips?
Turns out, the numbers only get better.
GOOD FOR THE SOUL. EVEN BETTER FOR BUSINESS.
Our industry has held incentive trips for at least as long as I’ve been a part of it (and I’m an industry dinosaur). But we’ve never really questioned them. Traditionally, we have viewed them as a reward – a pat on the back for a job well done or, as the name suggests, an incentive to boost performance. And there is no doubt that distributors enjoy them. Our annual retreat is one of the most highly anticipated, highly sought-after events of the year. While this is all still true, there is much more going on below the surface. At least according to data. And if you know me, you know how much I love data.
For all the hype and hoopla that surround incentive trips, their impact on future success might be the most exciting part. We found that distributors who qualified for an incentive trip placed 270% more orders on an annual basis, were 6,300% more likely to enroll a distributor, and were 390% more likely to rank advance. They also earned 200% more, on average, than distributors who didn’t qualify for an incentive trip.
So, while we spend massive amounts of money to put on the incentive trips, they actually have a greater cumulative effect when it comes to long-term success. In other words, they’re worth it.
INCENTIVIZING FUTURE BEHAVIOR
Qualifying for incentive trips and attending events are both part of what I call the Social Proof Principle.
It’s a phenomenon that happens when distributors gather together for extended periods of time. We’ve seen the effects play out during major events and, to an even larger degree, during incentive trips.
But why? What’s happening on a psychological level that’s leading to so much growth during or after incentive trips? I think there are a few contributing factors.
We’re all familiar with the term, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” but in the case of incentive trips pictures are worth thousands of dollars. Even though money might be the main reason distributors join a company, memories last far longer, and they serve as a greater motivator in the long run. When the going gets tough for distributors and they face challenges – as they undoubtedly will – memories give them the added motivation to persevere.
Incentive trips also serve as valuable social proof when enrolling other distributors. Imagine the impact of a distributor nonchalantly showing pictures of her recent trip to Australia to a prospect or posting them on their social media accounts. It’s undeniable.
I’ll be the first to admit that incentive trips are fun. But below the surface, distributors get the up-close-and-personal networking opportunities that don’t happen at large events. They sit poolside and dine alongside some of the most successful people in the company. There is also something to be said for spending extended time with a large group of like-minded people. Incentive trips, like other events, put distributors right in the middle of peers who are experiencing success and might be struggling with the same challenges. The effects are cumulative.
GIVING PEOPLE SOMETHING TO BELIEVE IN
While incentive trips might look like vacation, there’s a lot more to them than meets the eye. Networking, motivation, and social proof are just a few of the reasons that distributors who qualify ultimately end up building a successful business.
But I’d also like to add another thought. Our industry is so appealing to so many because it represents the antithesis of what has become the norm in our society: monotonous 9-5 workdays spent in an office. All of us want to believe that there’s more to life than sitting under drop ceilings and florescent lights. Incentive trips give distributors that opportunity. For many, it’s the first time they will step foot outside of their native country, experience the sunset over the ocean, or eat a meal that they have only dreamed about. Incentive trips give them a reason to believe. Not just in their new business, but in a life that they have always wanted. That’s why these trips tend to transform them.
As we enroll new distributors and train those already within our organizations, let’s put a greater emphasis on incentive trips. Let’s work harder to help people qualify.
Just one trip can make a long-term impact on their business. More importantly, it can change their lives.
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- TURNING TECHNOLOGY INTO A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE By Darren Jensen, CEO LifeVantage - February 1, 2019
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