Cloning Top Performers

Theresa Thomas, VP Strategic Solutions, Hinda Incentives

Have you ever daydreamed about cloning your top sales performers?

Think of it. No more endless recruiting to find a salesperson like Jane who qualifies and closes sales in record time. All your customers would have the pleasure of only dealing with your best of the best. It would spell the end of those awkward review meetings. How many times did you politely suggest Stan might be happier in a different role before he reached the end of his probationary period? If only you could just start churning out clones of those top performers tomorrow, you’d never worry about making your sales goal again.

The simple fact is making a copy of your top rep wouldn't work anyway. A person’s life experiences are what really shapes them − all those moments of winning and losing, experimenting and practicing, of trying and persevering. Those are what teach people to succeed. Those combined experiences made your top biller the fantastic salesperson you work with today. Maybe we should be asking, can we clone the behaviors our top people exhibit?

Practically every organization showers accolades on their top performers. Their new multimillion dollar sales appear at the very top of the monthly new sales listing. Their picture appears in the company newsletter, and executives write them congratulatory emails singing their praises. What most companies don’t do well is share the details of their top performers’ successful habits with the rest of the sales force. Sharing the results is fine to show the value of your top performer. But if you want others to follow in their footsteps, share their tips and winning secrets.

Every salesperson wants to know what works; they crave new ideas and tools to help grow their business. Every single company has a group of top performers that display those successful approaches each and every day. Recognizing the best and detailing their roadmaps to success demonstrates a proven process, teaches new methods to flourish and provides new ideas and new tools to test. This approach essentially clones the behaviors of top performers.

Unfortunately, most recognition programs only celebrate results. Often, significant awards are given in gratitude of their efforts. This kind of praise is certainly valuable. The honoree, undoubtedly, deserves acknowledgement, but a recognition program like this is really a defensive strategy against competitors who might try to recruit your best people. Retaining top people is, absolutely vital. But, why stop there? With a little additional effort, your recognition program can help the rest of your sales force with new tools and approaches to succeed.

Want to shift your recognition program from simply thanking people for their efforts to creating heroes for others to emulate? Try these three things:

  1. For top-performer programs like a President’s Club, allocate 50 percent of your budget to communications and training
  1. Interview every honoree to learn how they achieved the results
  1. Always communicate both the results and exactly how they did it to their peers

Implementing these three simple steps can help you clone the behaviors of your best people onto mid-level performers building the foundation for a high-performing team. And it might just keep you from having to make any test-tube top performers, too.

Visit, to find out about engaging, inspiring and rewarding incentive programs, and look for upcoming articles on more ways to replicate top-performer behaviors coming soon.

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