Recognizing Your Superior Performers

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Jul 11, 2024 by Sean Luce

At Luce Performance Group, we continue to give out awards that recognize top performances in several categories from the various media companies that we consult. I remember one night when we gave out our awards tied to the Radio Advertising Bureau's national convention in Dallas, the president of our company, George Luce, put it best during the commencement of the LPG awards show that night: "This is the most important night of the year for LPG."

Not everyone is motivated by money. Research has shown that one in four top performers leave organizations every year because of lack of recognition. Whether it's the Grammys, the Oscars, or the Radio Wayne Awards sponsored by Radio Ink, all you have to do is look on the faces of the people who get the awards. You'll know why some who received their LPG awards responded, "This is something I'll never forget."
Another benefit of giving awards and recognizing your top performers is that, in this day of mergers and acquisitions, it helps create loyalty to you and your people. Whether you're a small media company in a small market, or have many media companies in a large market, you can, and should, recognize outstanding personal performances.

Here are some recognition awards that you can give to your sales reps. These could be plaques you hand out during an awards show. They could bring their significant other, which would really garner support from the home front also.

1) Rising Star: This award goes to the individual who has been in media sales less than two years and shows tremendous potential in sales and leadership inside the sales department. This person also shows the intangibles that separate average performance from great performance. The award identifies those individuals with a strong work ethic, ability to persevere, and dedication to their new career.

2) Rainmaker: Simply put, this person brings in more business to your company than anybody else in the sales department. To level the playing field, rather than rewarding people according to the total dollars of their orders, it rewards them on the number of new business accounts based on the average sales at your company. The more new business accounts sold, the greater the potential of turning those into larger accounts in the future.

3) Sales Rep of the Year: Most media companies award this to the person who puts the most business on the books. However, this doesn't necessarily mean that this is the best rep. Several of the companies we work with award this according to a variety of criteria, not necessarily giving it to the rep who wrote the most business. Again, you want to level the playing field with all of your reps. You might want to consider the number of new accounts, percentage over budget or quota for the year, highest unit rate average, lowest level or attrition from year over year, and/or the number of testimonials brought in. Depending on the market, there are many tangible and intangible things that could determine your Salesperson of the Year. The most important thing is to award it.

4) Don't Forget Other Departments: Make sure all departments in your organization are recognized. You don't want it tilted just to sales. Everybody else will feel left out. You do yourself more damage than good by just recognizing sales reps. When I walk a property for the first time in any media company, I always look for the awards on the walls. If there aren't any, then management needs to get going. It doesn't matter that it's March and this is something you have never done before. You can start today with Salesperson of the Month. Just go to the trophy shop and get a plaque that has 12 plates on it. Don't make the "Salesperson of the Month" criteria too complicated, or you will eliminate reps that might find the criteria burdensome rather than motivational.

This also is a great time to take some video and pictures. Some of the companies we consult have annual award celebrations. Every winner gets a 2- to 3-minute video of them receiving the award and their "thank you" speech. Winners also receive a framed picture of themselves with the person that presented the award. Make it a night, or award them in a fashion they will never forget, literally. Take the pictures, and run the video and document it. These also are great recruiting tools to show potential recruits that you do in fact recognize beyond money and take care of your people.

Sean Luce is the Head National Instructor for the Luce Performance Group and can be reached at

As seen in Radio Ink Headlines March 18th, 2013

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