How are great salespeople able to seamlessly turn every one of your concerns into a demonstration of the prowess of their product? Are they really just that convincing or is there some type of method to their success? The best salespeople personalize every discussion. The trick is years of practicing a simple process until it has become part of how to explain everything. Your recruiters, staffing professionals and talent acquisition stars can do the same with your compensation plans (and you can easily help them).
The key in the absolutely fabulous method is the F.A.B.
F = Features
A = Advantages
B = Benefits
Features are the basic facts about your pay elements and their unique components. They are simply factual descriptions. Examples include:
1) “Our pay philosophy is to offer moderate base pay with an industry-leading potential for incentive pay.”
2) “We offer non-qualified stock options for every new hire and also have an annual grant program.”
Advantages are the unique aspects of each feature. Every feature will have anywhere from one to many advantages (the list will grow over time.) Advantages are facts that add color(s) to each feature.
1.A.) “Our pay philosophy allows us to ensure our best employees are paid for excellent performance.”
1.B.) “Our pay philosophy aligns with our high-performance company culture.”
2.A.) “Non-qualified stock options provide significant upside if the stock price goes up.”
2.B.) “Non-qualified stock options provide a low risk method for becoming an XYZ company stock owner.”
Benefits are the real winning element of this approach. Every advantage will have anywhere from one to endless benefits. Benefits are the things that allow a personal link from the individual’s needs and/or desires to your company’s pay plans. These are often referred as the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me). When you can demonstrate what you are offering was designed specifically to meet their needs, you lower barriers and raise both curiosity and understanding. More importantly, you increase the perceived value of that component of pay.
1.A.A.) “Juanita, we are recruiting you because you have proven to be a high performer. Our pay philosophy was designed to ensure your pay will always reflect your exceptional skill and talent.”
1.A.B.) “Darryl, we have structured our pay to focus bigger payouts on hard workers like yourself. Our bonus program can set you up to be paid far more here than at Company X, who doesn't provide this kind of leverage to its very best talent.”
1.B.A) “Pam, you mentioned that you don’t feel challenged in your current job. Our whole company is designed to challenge you and allow you to challenge yourself. Even better, our pay philosophy is designed to make sure our most curious and successful employees get paid top dollar.
The key to the example above is making people understand how and why your pizza is specifically made to their tastes and preferences. Performing this explanation skillfully builds a trust between your talent professional and the individual. It shows that your people are listening, that the company cares about the individual and that your pay programs were designed specifically for them. The result is personal, efficient and powerful.
Every component of your total rewards can be addressed in this manner. Your sales team will probably even help coach you through some of these until you get the feel for it. Don’t create great pay tools and then leave your staffing people without a handbook on how to show their value. Take a moment and put together a pay element FAB in the comments section below. I guarantee that someone will add another advantage or benefit to anything you list. The power is in the personalization.
Dan Walter, CECP, CEP is the President and CEO of Performensation. He is passionately committed to aligning pay with company strategy and culture and has been deeply involved in equity compensation for a long, long time. Dan has written several industry resources including the recent Performance-Based Equity Compensation. He has co-authored ”Everything You Do In Compensation is Communication”, “The Decision Makers Guide to Equity Compensation”, “Equity Alternatives” and a few other books. Connect with Dan on LinkedIn. Or, follow him on Twitter at @Performensation and @SayOnPay.