Last updateWed, 25 Mar 2020 1pm

Motivators: Contests, Rewards & Perks

While your leadership is critical to the success of your sales staff, keeping things fresh and crisp goes a very long way toward allowing fantastic teams to reach peak performance, get minor rewards, to spark gentle competition and to push themselves and their co-workers! 

The size of the prize may be less significant than the motivation to hone one’s skills and techniques to provide excellent customer service and to add a bonus form of recognition for your staff. 

In no case should the motivator cause anyone to feel “less than” or devalued. That said, games and rewards can be a team bonding experience, while building suspense and a reward for staffers using their best skills and assets to benefit the customer, the store, and, obviously, salespeople. 

Reinforcing prizes can be motivating if there is complete buy-in, the contest is easy to follow, results are fairly immediate, they encourage everyone to do their best selling. 

If the motivators or contests are used to kick off a hot season, such as holidays, bridal, graduation, contests work very well to get people conscious of using their best skills to produce outstanding results. Monetary rewards, of course, enrich both the customer and the salesperson.  If you are lining the pockets of your staff with extra money to use at the holidays or on vacations, everyone reaps the benefits, because:

  • The customer receives the best service
  • The store increases its bottom line
  • Everyone has the opportunity to add a little extra to their compensation
  • Both competition and support among team-members can be structured into the game
  • The best contest is structured so that everyone can win. If you only have one winner, then too often, the rest of the staff quits playing and the contest loses it’s intended effect.

Games and contests we like

Pass the Buck - The first person to complete a sale is given a $50 bill. When a sales person completes a larger sale, the “Buck” goes to them. The “Buck” goes home with the salesperson who completes the sale with the highest volume of the day. To set it up so everyone can win – add that any salesperson who has a sale over $X amount will also receive $25.

Bingo - This one takes a bit of pre-preparation on the part of the manager. Each salesperson has a Bingo card, filled with various retail accomplishments, e.g., selling a solitaire, selling a gold setting, selling a watch, completing an add-on sale, dusting items in a display case, selling an item from a previous season, making a computer-aided sale, receiving a written customer compliment, assisting a team member with a sale, etc. First person to achieve a Bingo wins!  (Starbucks card, Movie Tickets, Mall Bucks, etc.)

Digging for Dollars - A large jar is filled $1 bills. Each time a salesperson is successful at (the sales manager pre-determined task) they take a bill from the jar. Tasks might include completing a sale over $X, selling bargain-rated items, selling monogrammed items, exceeding their personal sales goal for the day, completing one side-job, engaging a customer in a (holiday/hobby/sports/family/specified whatever) conversation for more than 2 minutes, making a customer laugh during the sales process, etc.

Car Races - Again, this requires a bit of sales manager preparation, but it can be well worth the effort. Salespeople select a race car, preferably a picture that can be advanced along the track, as dollar milestones are achieved. Cars advance on the track by selling merchandise at specified dollar intervals. This game may be one that offers larger prizes.

Raffles - Raffle tickets are awarded for every pre-determined dollar amount, e.g, $50 dollars. Each time a salesperson reaches the specified dollar amount in a sale, she/he earns a raffle ticket. At the end of the contest, a valuable prize is raffled off.

Scavenger Hunt - For this contest, instead of finding the specified items, selling the specified items counts as a win. At the end of the contest, the salesperson with the greatest number of Scavenger Hunt items sold is the winner. Or everyone that achieves the goal of selling items is awarded the prize.

Spin the Wheel - Some manger preparation is needed. The wheel prizes are posted separately. Each day, the sales manager sets the goal for the day; e.g., rings, bracelets, earrings, gifts, silver items, etc. Each time a targeted sale is completed, the salesperson gets to spin the prize wheel. The salesperson wins the prize specified as posted.

During the contest period, it is important that the prizes are varied; not so minimal that they are not worth trying for, but not so valuable that they create ill-will among non-winners.

Competition needs to be kept on a friendly basis with everyone clearly understanding that the object is to spike interest among salespersons, to bring out the best possible service for customers, to improve goal attainment rate and to be fun!

As previously stated the best contests are structured so that everyone has the potential to win. Usually this can be easily done by allowing everyone the prize that achieves the desired result. Or another way is the contest can be structured based on the percentage of improvement over an individual person’s statistics. Remember, the only reason to run a contest is to improve a statistic or increase sales and/or profits. Don’t just run a contest to give stuff away, have a purpose in running the contest. Games, contests, incentives and rewards all make the job fun for the sales staff.

Author, trainer, consultant, and speaker Brad Huisken is President of IAS Training. Huisken has authored several books and training manuals on sales and  produces a Weekly Sales Training Meeting video series along with Aptitude Tests and Proficiency Exams for new hires, current sales staff and sales managers. In addition, he publishes a free weekly newsletter called “Sales Insight” For a free subscription or more information contact IAS Training at 800-248-7703 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Visit his website at www.iastraining.com.