Motivate Your Staff—and Have Fun—With Sales Contests

You can use sales contests to increase sales and profits while making the sales job fun. Salespeople tend to be competitive, so make the most of their competitive spirit. Remember the following when designing a sales contest:

  1. The purpose of sales contests is to improve a statistic or the result of tasks. It isn’t to give away a prize for the sake of giving away a prize.

  2. 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. To increase team spirit, run a team contest. Run major contests during slow times.

  3. The best sales contests are structured so everyone can win. I want people competing with themselves rather than with other salespeople.

  4. To prevent misunderstandings, write down and post contest rules. Include a line that says any controversy concerning the contest will be decided by the sales manager and that decision will be final.

  5. Structure sales contests as short bursts of energy. Run several during the course of your busiest day or a daily contest and keep the ideas fresh and updated.

  6. Sell the contest to your staff. And keep reminding them about it through its run.

  7. Track and post progress. With contests that run longer than a day, use a graphic element such as a thermometer or pie chart.

  8. The prize must be of value to the individual. At seminars, I talk about a contest with a prize worth $500 and ask attendees which of the following prize options they’d prefer: $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. Ask your people for their ideas. (If you have more than five employees you’ll probably get five different answers.)

  9. The prize doesn’t always have to expensive. A car wash, lunch, written recognition, added responsibility, preferred schedule, or additional store discount will go a long way in rewarding your staff.

  10. Change the teams for every contest. This will increase teamwork and get everybody working together.

Visit to subscribe to Brad Huisken‘s free weekly newsletter “Sales Insight” or for any of his training programs. Call IAS Training at (800) 248-7703.

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