Winner Takes All

By Selling Power Editors

Looking for an incentive contest that’s cost-efficient and easy to run? Try one of these contests from leading sales trainer, Tom Hopkins.

The Steak and Beans Contest

A sales contest is most effective for nine days, the first four and the last five. If the contest runs too long, salespeople will lose their enthusiasm. One of the best contests you can ever run is the Steak and Beans contest. It should run no longer than 30 days. Here is how it works:

a) Select two top people to act as team leaders. Each team leader should have the same number of salespeople.

b) Select a fair way for measuring your results: either number of units closed, a point system, or the total dollar value of sales.

c) After 30 days, the team that gets the highest sales (or number of points) will get to go out and eat a nice steak at a great restaurant; the losing team will eat beans and wait on the winning team.

d) Get the spouses of your salespeople involved. Write a letter announcing the contest and inviting them to the award dinner.

e) Develop a contest score board for your sales office. Show the progress of both teams every day so that the entire office will know about it. The score board can be a simple thermometer with two scales filled in with a colored marker.

f) On the day of the dinner party, hand out aprons for the losing team to wear that evening.

g) At the restaurant (or at the sales manager’s home), thank every salesperson for participating in the contest. Tell them, “You did great and you will all get to eat steaks, but the losers will have to serve the winning team.”

The Merchandise Contest

This is an ideal contest for a small team of about 10 salespeople. Go to a discount store and buy about $1,000 worth of prizes such as a new calculator, a VCR, a small color TV, a cellular telephone, a cordless phone, etc. Place these awards on your conference table and cover them with a large sheet.

Then call in your salespeople, tell them about your contest and uncover all the prizes. Give them the contest rules and explain that the salesperson who comes in first will get to pick a prize first, the second winner will choose from what is left and so on until everyone has selected his/her prize. Everyone should win a prize. You may choose a few low cost items like a pencil sharpener for those who come in last in the contest.