Friday, 10 July 2015

The Glengarry Glen Ross Paradox

ABC - “Always Be Closing” has been the mantra for all sales persons since Alec Baldwin uttered those memorable words in the 1992 film adaptation of Pulitzer Prize winner David Mamet award winning play. It is about a group of desperate real estate sales agents struggling to close deals. The movie succinctly captures the struggle and desperation often felt by salespersons and businesses.

One of the key highlights of the movie remains the scene in which Alec Baldwin who plays a sales motivator is sent in by the management to inform the team that they are competing in a contest….winners get prizes; losers get fired!

Now Contests have long been a go-to tactic for sales managers because when these games work, they work well. Given that simply framing an activity as a game may have a positive effect on motivation and engagement, this logic is sound, if somewhat broad.

However, what has not stood the test of time is the structure of these contests, or the idea that pitting sales reps against one another is the ultimate method for driving results. Managers today have to look beyond and run contests that encourage collaboration & problem solving.

Given below are some innovative sales contests options:
1. Best Hand Contest: Present a playing card drawn at random to any sales rep or team that meets its respective target, such as a sales close, cold call, restored customer, and so on. Allow the cards to accumulate until a given point when the player or players have to show their best hand. Give prizes for small wins, such as a pair or three of a kind, but the grand prize goes to the best poker, bridge, or rummy hand.
2. Old is Gold Contest: In this game, sales people are challenged to mine their existing customers for new business. New business means additional business in the form of orders for new products, bundles, or customers. It pays respect to old customers and drives improved customer service to loyal clients. Reaching milestones would make them eligible for numerous rewards and maybe some gold coins!
3. Go to the Auction Contest: Team members are paid in play money or points for completing a sequence of tasks, like completing a set number of cold calls or customer calls, selling X number of product A and Y number of product B, and securing a specific number of referrals or closing a specific number of sales. Training links the tasks to develop habits, and at end of contest, team members use their money to bid for modest prizes in an auction.
4. Map/Board Game Contest: Use maps, props, or illustrations to play the game. Weekly prizes reward advancement in the game. The same can be done with board games from Chutes and Ladders to Monopoly.
5. Raffle Tickets Contest: With a significant prize at the end of the contest and worthy prizes each week, team members can compete each day for raffle tickets. If the tickets reward individual targets, the team member can accumulate enough raffle tickets to improve his/her chances to win the big prizes.
6. Daily Surprise Contest: On each day of the month, the sales leader for the day receives a prize, but no one knows the prize until the envelope or box is opened. Keeping the quality of the prize somewhat random keeps team members engaged and excited about the possibilities. Prizes like theater tickets, dinner certificates, or a get away weekend meet with sales success.
7. Top This Contest: This sales contest idea encourages each team member to develop a respective personal best. Each week, the best sale is posted for each member. Their objective is to top their posted best during the following week. When everyone is a winner, members compete with each other by competing with themselves.

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