10 Great Sales Contests
Sales contests can be a great way to boost listings and sales, motivate salespeople, and recognize achievement. Try these alternatives to the usual high-sales-takes-all contests.
TIP: Don’t let contests be your only motivator. Giving support to salespeople is more meaningful in the long run than the momentary motivation from winning an office sales contest.
“I believe it's more important to support sales associates when they hit their most difficult times in sales or their personal life." —Richard A. Mendenhall, RE/MAX Boone Realty, Columbia, Mo.
- Everyone Wins. This contest rewarded everyone, in play money, for performing certain job activities. Associates earned $500 for making ten cold calls in a day, and $2,500 for getting a listing. If they listed a FSBO, they earn $4,500. The theory behind the contest is that if associates lay the groundwork, sales will follow. The two-month contest culminated in an auction party where associates used their play money to bid for prizes such as dinners for two or gift certificates. —Susan Hilton, Beth Wolff and Associates, Houston.
- The Great Race to Tahoe. A giant cartoon map showed a road from Santa Cruz, Calif. (near the company’s office) to Lake Tahoe and listed some of the towns in between. Each town represented a dollar volume for sales and listings and was assigned a prize—the closer to Lake Tahoe, the better the prize. Prizes included 10 silver dollars, bottles of fine wine, a check for $25, dinners for two, a weekend in Gold Country, and finally a week for two at Lake Tahoe. Prizes were awarded each week as salespeople "moved" along the road until a salesperson reached the million-dollar volume city—Lake Tahoe. —Robin Sherman, Sherman & Boone REALTORS, Aptos, Calif.
- Trick or Treat. For a specified period of 31 consecutive work days, the first person to open an escrow each day won a prize. Prizes ranged from awards such as dinner and overnight accommodations in a luxury country inn or tickets for two to a play, to four hours of typing or housekeeping, or two live lobsters. —Robin Sherman, Sherman & Boone REALTORS , Aptos, Calif.
- Feast or Famine. Salespeople were divided into two teams, each with a captain. A thermometer scoreboard was used to tabulate points for properties that each team listed and escrowed. A time limit was set for the contest—usually a month—with scores tabulated daily. At the contest’s completion, management took both teams out to dinner. The winning team got steak, the other team got hamburger. The contest fostered good humor and fun while increasing listings and escrows. —Robin Sherman, Sherman & Boone REALTORS, Aptos, Calif.
- Balloon Surprise. A room was filled with balloons, each containing a slip of paper announcing a reward. Salespeople were entitled to pop a balloon for each sale or listing achieved during the previous week. Prizes ranged from McDonald's gift certificates to $5, $10, or $50 bills. Interest in the contest boosted listings and improved weekly sales meeting attendance. —Bob Linn, Coldwell Banker Bob Linn and Associates, Oklahoma City.
- Baseball. The 30-salesperson office was divided into two teams, each named after its top producer. Each team's progress was tracked on a wall chart. A referral or new listing got a single, a contract garnered a double, and a recruitment counted as a home run. If any of these activities fell through, it was an automatic out. At the end of the contest, the losing team had to prepare lunch for and clean up after the winning team. In addition to boosting referrals, sales, and recruiting activities, the contest was helpful in motivating weaker salespeople. —Jenny Ellison, Norville-Randolph, Inc., Birmingham, Ala.
- Lucky Drawing. At the beginning of this six-week contest, salespeople were given a coupon book. Each time they completed a sale, got a listing, or made an outgoing referral, they filled in a coupon and submitted it for a chance to win a trip in a drawing held at the contest’s end. Each week salespeople got bonuses for smaller activities—a car wash for perfect sales meeting attendance, a pair of movie tickets for conducting a property tour, and a massage or manicure for every three open houses. The element of luck helped draw all the company's salespeople into the competition—even if salespeople sold only one house or got only one listing, they had a chance to win the big prize. —Steve Brown, Crye Leike, REALTORS, Memphis, Tenn.
- Turn the Tables. In this contest, the managing broker had to wash the car of the top lister each week. "That got more activity than anything I've ever done," says James Kincaid. "Salespeople want to see you wash their car." James Kincaid, ABIDE, Inc., REALTORS, Warwick, Okla.
- Office Challenge I. This group incentive program challenged the entire office—both salespeople and staff—to increase sales by 25 percent over the same quarter the previous year. The award was an all-expense-paid, three-day stay at a five-star resort on the Hawaiian island of Lanai. The countdown chart was displayed at weekly sales meetings and each salesperson who got a new sale or listing that week was recognized. The result: Sales increased 43 percent over the prior period. —Herbert Conley, Jr., Conley Dew, REALTORS, Honolulu, Hawaii
- Office Challenge II. A variation on the group incentive plan is to set annual—or even quarterly—office goals. If the office achieves the goals, all affiliated sales associates at the time the contest ends share a percentage—10 percent, 20 percent—of the office’s income over that goal. Associates’ individual shares are determined based on their percentage contribution to the office’s total income. In this way, everyone contributes and shares the benefits of success, but poor performers aren’t rewarded for top producers’ efforts. —Joe Meyer, Joe Meyer Presentations, Lake Grove, N.Y.
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