That’s Incredible!

Irwin Pollack wants your sales team to be inspired, sell effectively and have a bit of fun along the way. While the Boston-based sales and management consultant ( acknowledges that the best motivation comes from within, he also suggests that savvy sales managers create games and contests to add just a bit of spice for the front-line sales reps’ efforts. Here are a few of his incentive suggestions.

1. Win with win/lose.
Give out a bonus – say, $50 – to reps who successfully present a specified package a certain number of times. Reps who fail to do so, however, lose one billing account. Be sure to set the presentation level at a fair, realistic number and provide enough time for reps to reach the target.

2. Team up to win.
Tell your staff that you’re posting a certain dollar amount and if the company sales goal is reached everyone gets an equal cut. If that’s too egalitarian, you might make each member’s cut match his or her percentage of the total sales.

3. Post a suggestion box
Cash can be used effectively as a motivator, but it’s certainly not the only thing out there. Take suggestions from your team members for all incentive ideas they’d like to see placed at the finish line, whether merchandise or travel.

4. Give from out of the blue.
One great motivator is to surprise reps who achieve something special, such as hitting a sales goal or setting a record, with an unexpected dinner for two at a swank local eatery or a weekend ski trip. A sales team on its toes sells better.

5. Change your criteria.
One of the strengths of incentive programs is how you can apply them to specific goals. Think about running programs focused on drumming up new business, winning accounts of a certain size, meeting collection targets, identifying repeat customers and so on.

6. Get the home fires burning.
As soon as you announce a new program, be sure to send a mailer home to your participants’ spouses or significant others. Why should you do all the motivational heavy lifting when there are folks at home who can do an even more effective job of prodding your reps on?