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Pencil vs. a Porche – Finding the Middle Ground

Pencil vs. a Porche  – Finding the Middle Ground

You’re probably wondering what in the world I mean when I say a pencil versus a Porche.  The concept is this:  How hard would your sales team work to earn a pencil?  How hard would they work to earn a Porche?  Well, we all know they are not going to do Jack to earn a pencil and they would think the Porche was unreachable.  Neither of those contests would be effective.  What’s the middle ground?

 That middle ground is where sales are made and your team develops into winners!

It is going to take a bit of experimenting but you need to find out how much money you need to spend in order to motivate your people.  The good news is, you have to spend less money than you  probably think!

 Before you even start to analyze this, you must remember to have fun. 

Sales are supposed to be fun!  If  YOU as the leader are not  having fun, your sales team will quit having fun also.  That is really bad for business since when they quit having a good time making sales (and doing all the things that lead up to a sale), they quit selling.

In order to properly test what the budget needs to be to motivate your sales team, start out with two contests.  Make one a cheap sales contest and one that is almost too expensive.  For example, you could have a weekly contest to win a free company tee shirt or a couple of tickets to the movies and then put up a monthly contest to win a trip for two to Paris.  Make sure that your “big” contest isn’t too over budget that you couldn’t pay out on it if someone actually won it.

You will be shocked to see more people trying to win the “easy” contest than the big one! 

This is a huge insight into the minds of salespeople!  Use it to their (and ultimately your) advantage!  You don’t have to give away the sun and moon in order to motivate your people!  The sweet spot is somewhere in between.

During the next week, up the ante on the “cheap” contest.  Make it a bit harder to achieve.  Make it more worth it too!  The goal of any contest is to motivate and propel your sales force into action.  See how much more productivity you gain by making the pot a bit sweeter.

Continue over the course of a few weeks to make the “easy” contest a bit harder and a bit more expensive.  You will come to a point when you see that they no longer are very excited or enthusiastic about the contest and just don’t think that it is something they can achieve.

 This is the magic spot you have been aiming for!  You have found the perfect middle ground!

Whatever your budget is for that sweet spot is your ideal budget for your contests.   Now just find prizes that your sales people would like to win that is in that budget.  I have found that $20-$50 is enough for a daily contest, $200-$300 is good for a weekly contest and $800-$1,000 does it for a monthly contest.

Those are my numbers that are specific to my industry and the local economy.  It has taken quite a few months of testing and doing it all wrong to discover what works for my company but the knowledge and insight has paid for itself time and again with happy, productive sales people who have a goal in mind.

Just remember, happy sales people make sales!

Have fun!