On a recent market assignment, I overheard a group of salespeople talking about a sales contest. More precisely, they were complaining about a sales contest.
“Selmore (fictitious name for the winner of the contest) just sand-bagged business that he knew was going to come in anyway… and didn’t turn it in until he knew there was going to be a contest,” one seller complained. His co-worker agreed, saying, “He does it every time.”
You know, sales contests can be a lot of fun. They can help boost short-term revenue. They can inspire a little (or a big) burst of energy. They can change the game a bit, and bring a friendly spirit of competition into the sales department. Or, they can cause hard feelings… if someone involved violates the spirit—if not the technical rules—of the game.
I have no problem with sales contests… although they have to be run carefully. But I have a proposition for any salesperson reading this newsletter.
Why not have a sales contest of your own… where you write the rules and decide what constitutes a win?
I’m not suggesting that you make it easy to win. On the contrary, I think you should decide on criteria that challenges you, whether that is an increase in the number of new appointments you book, the number of needs analysis meetings you conduct next month, or the number of referrals you can acquire in two weeks.
Choose whatever focused behaviors you believe will boost your revenue production. Then, look at your performance in that area from years past, and figure out how you’re going to beat yourself at your own game! Intentionally improve on anything you have done in the past. In doing so, you are likely to boost your own income far higher than the value of a prize you might have won in a contest.
It’s fine to compete with your colleagues on the sales floor. But there are few things more gratifying than being better this year… than you’ve ever been. That’s a huge win.
A self-imposed sales contest is just one way to increase your sales performance. Check out this list of 30 tips on how to use LinkedIn as your secret lead generation weapon!
Mike Anderson is VP of Consumer Insights and Communication at The Center for Sales Strategy