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Contests can increase sales and boost morale

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When times are tough and prospects seem to be holding on to every dollar, your job as a sales manager is more important than ever before. Now is the time to roll out a sales contest to generate additional sales and build morale.

Offering a contest to your sales team is a smart business decision on many levels. Contests, by their very nature, infuse a competitive spirit within the sales force and provide an excellent opportunity for management to recognize and reward top achievement. In addition, a contest encourages your sales reps to achieve new levels of personal production, taps into peer pressure and generates a positive synergism within the organization.

Reward, recognition and peer pressure

A successful incentive program is a delicate balance of three key motivational factors: reward, recognition and peer pressure. Here are four key components that must be included in any successful sales incentive program:

1. Keep the rules simple and realistic. Don’t create a contest that is overly complicated or too difficult to understand. Make sure every sales rep participating in the contest gets a copy of the rules and clearly understands what he or she needs to accomplish in order to win. Realistic goals are ones that are specific (clear and unambiguous), measurable, attainable, relevant and time-specific. Once the contest is underway, never change the rules midstream.

2. Promote the contest over a 30-day period. Don’t just spring the contest on your reps and expect them to be enthusiastic about participating. For maximum results, you need to condition your sales team members to accept the contest by promoting it effectively.

3. Make the reward valuable enough to generate excitement and maintain interest. Get creative when selecting your contest rewards. When it comes to motivating salespeople, one size does not fit all. It’s a good idea to talk to your sales reps individually to find out what really turns them on and then personalize your incentive program accordingly. Personalized rewards are proven to be far more effective at motivating salespeople than mere cash bonuses.

4. Take the time to monitor the contest and update the participants frequently. Don’t wait until the end of the program to applaud results. Participants should be recognized along the way.

Once a sales rep stretches to a new level of personal production, his or her selfconfidence and expectations sky-rocket. When the tide comes in, all the boats in the harbor go up!