Sales Contests

Brad Huisken

Sales contests are a means by which you can increase sales and/or profits while at the same time making the job fun for your salespeople. Salespeople overall are very competitive by nature and it is to your advantage to make the most of this competitive spirit. Some people just want to win, not even knowing or caring what they won. Other people are motivated by what they might have a chance to win. Everyone is different, but everyone likes to win.

If you structure your sales contests correctly, you will have no problem getting people involved and striving to win the game. The following are some very important points to remember when designing a sales contest:

The purpose of sales contests is to increase a statistic or improve the result of tasks. There is no need to give away free money or incentives just to give it away. A contest must be designed to improve some statistic. 

Run individual sales contests frequently, team contests occasionally and major contests once a year. There should always be some type of contest or action happening on the floor. In order to increase team spirit, run a team contest. Run major contests during slow times as opposed to your busiest time of year. 

The best sales contests are structured so everyone can win. I want people competing with themselves rather than with other salespeople. When people compete against themselves, you avoid a lot of over aggressive, internal turmoil.

Have the sales contest rules written and posted. When the rules are written and posted, you avoid any misunderstanding about specifics of the contest. I would also add a line that says any controversy concerning the contest will be decided by the sales manager and that decision will be final.

Sales contest should be structured as short bursts of energy. Run several contests during the course of your busiest day or a daily contest and keep the ideas fresh and updated.

Sell the sales contest to your staff. You will have to sell the contest to the staff and remind them of the contest through its run.

Play up the contest with written and posted tracking of progress. With contests that run for more than a day, have visual progress posted. Using a poster with a thermometer, pie chart or graph works just fine.

The prize or award for the sales contest must be of value to the individual. How do you find out what would be of value to your people? Ask them. At seminars, I ask a group, if I were to run a contest, and the prize is $500 worth of something, which of the following five choices would you want the most? $500, in cash, $500, in paid time off, $500 in store merchandise, $500 in something you wouldn’t normally buy for yourself, or $500 in Lottery tickets? If you have more than five people you will probably get five different answers.

The prize or award doesn’t always have to cost large amount. You might be surprised at how little you really need to spend on a contest. A car wash, lunch, verbal praise, written recognition, added responsibility, preferred schedule, additional store discount, etc. all cost very little, but will go a long way in rewarding your staff.

Change the teams for every contest. If you run team contests make sure you change the teams up on a regular basis. This will increase your total teamwork and get everybody working together.

Statistics, competition, contests, rewards and positive feedback make the job fun.

Contest / Games Idea

Cash Box – Put equal denominations of bills ($1, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100) in a box. For example, $300 worth of each denomination. Each time a salesperson sells an add-on, converts a turnover, converts a repair or service customer to a sale, sells a piece of obsolete merchandise, receives back a referral business card, etc., they will be allowed one pull from the cash box. The pulls should be done as a group at the end of each day. The salespeople are to bring documentation of the sales that entitle the salesperson to pull for the day. In a group, with management present, each salesperson will take their pulls for the day. Should a salesperson pull out two bills, both bills should be dropped and a new pull will be taken. Folding or marking of certain denominations of bills will not be tolerated and will cause the responsible person to be excluded from the contest. Real currency can be substituted with monopoly money if need be. Other options would be to give people a spin of a wheel or roll of the dice with prizes or monetary rewards attached to the spin or the roll.

Pass the Buck – The first person making a sale on a given day will be given a certain denomination of money. When a larger sale is made during the day, the person with the money will then pass it to the person making the larger sale. The process continues until the end of the day at which time the person with the largest sale for the day retains the money.

Know Your Customers – Each salesperson will receive a certain denomination of money for each completed Customer Profile Card. A completed profile card will contain the following information: name, address, telephone, birth date, anniversary (if applicable), with permission for a follow-up telephone call or email for a future appointment.

Recruit a Customer – Each salesperson will be given a certain reward or denomination of money for each new customer that comes into the store with his or her business card. Cards handed out in the store will not apply. Business cards passed out off-site of the store are the only business cards that will apply. Business cards handed out outside the store will be marked in a specific manner to show they were given outside the store.

Get Rid of It – Each salesperson will be given a certain prize or denomination of money for each ____ number of pieces of obsolete merchandise that they have sold during a week or month.

Record Breakers – Determine and post the store records for largest dollar: day, week and month, along with the same for an individual salesperson with the addition of the single largest dollar sale. Each time a store record is broken the entire team shares in a predetermined amount of money divided based on the hours worked in the given time period. For example, if the store record for the largest single day were broken then each person that worked that day would receive his or her share based on dividing the total man hours of the store for that day by the individual’s hours.

Salesperson A worked eight hours and the store total was 32 hours Salesperson A would receive 25 percent of the prize money. If an individual record was broken, then the individual that broke the record would receive a predetermined amount for breaking the record. Predetermine if a record can be broken several times during a period of time by different people or if one new record can be set per the time period. Keep consistent when determining rules.

Darts – Set-up a dartboard or a dartboard wall with pieces of paper or balloons with prizes in the balloons. Each time a salesperson accomplishes certain pre-determined tasks or levels of productivity the salesperson throws a dart to determine the prize or award. Should the dart miss the paper or fail to pop the balloon no prize is won until the next opportunity.

Race Track – Set-up a racetrack where each salesperson is given a horse, car, dog, etc., to race. Divide the racetrack into sections. Each time a salesperson accomplishes a certain pre-determined task or level of productivity they are awarded a certain number of sections of the track. For example, a sale over $1000 would be worth two sections while selling two items on one ticket may receive one section. Prizes or rewards are given for a certain number of laps or winning of the race etc. depending on the rules of the contest. Again, the best contests are set up so that everyone can win.

Brad Huisken is President of IAS Training and author of I'm a Salesman, Not a Ph.D.! and Munchies for Salespeople
Copyright 2010 Author retains ownership. All Rights Reserved.

Print page