Every parent experiences reactance on a daily basis, parents of teens, possibly every hour. To be fair, reactance is a phenomenon common to every one of us. 

Simply put, reactance is an unpleasant motivational reaction to offers, persons, rules, or regulations that threaten or eliminate specific behavioral freedoms. It occurs when a person feels that someone or something is taking away their choices or limiting the range of alternatives.

Reactance in Sales

Reactance in Sales Teams

So what does reactance have to do with work, and specifically with sales teams?

A lot, it turns out. Right from the way we manage teams to the tools we use. Directives are never as effective as offering choices.

Take for instance – Recommender engines, a popular sales enablement tool. They give sellers information, expect that the seller is going to agree with the recommendation and actually take action. 

This is where reactance comes in. Sellers will push back against helpful suggestions/recommended actions, however great they may be. Because these recommendations take away the feeling of being in control, of having choices, and let’s face it – no one likes being told what to do.

Here's how you can overcome reactance

  1. Give your team a say in decision-making on their job. Having multiple choices on potential actions are so much better than a singular “call to action” (e.g. ‘You could make an additional call to customer a or b’ rather than “You should call customer a next”.)
  2. Have to do vs. Want to do. Each rep is unique and responds uniquely based on what connects with her/his internal motivation. Personalize the recommendations based on what motivates each rep.
  3. Suggestions not Demands – Framing Options as suggestions rather than demands stand a better chance of influencing the sales rep’s decision. Nudges are elements in choice architecture that work because they promote this freedom of choice. This is the difference between telling children to eat healthy and putting fruits at eye level during lunch time rather than banning junk food. [Ref: Richard Thaler, Cass Sunstein – Nudge]

Understanding behavior biases work and knowing how to use them will help you become a better manager. worxogo’s nudge Coach helps team leaders give the choice to their reps and make use of a powerful tool to build more engaged motivated and productive teams.

Contact us to see what worxogo’s Nudge Coach can do for your team.

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