I got asked for opinions on prospecting rewards the other day. I have plenty.

In the 90s, I once awarded prizes among my salespeople on such mandated telesales days. Most bookings gets a gleaming pressie. Simple, right?

The background was that for a while I sought to fill our collective funnel by having a team breakfast sales meeting, bacon sarnies and all, followed by a few hours of hard core appointment setting. The roughly Eight ’til Nine initial session always included a training topic. I was then on hand throughout for talk-throughs and would hold private twenty minute reviews of progress throughout the day with each seller.

Except it was not so simple. Issues soon emerge. Like what do you do if this week’s leads are lower than last? Or when the same person is always top o’ the pile? Or if no-one really fancies the bubbly you’ve splashed out on?

I once attended a client sales meeting where about fifty reps were hauled off the road to bash the phones for new meetings. The boss handed out a playing card each time a lead was written up. There’s all sorts of variations on this theme. Suffice to say, at the end of the session cards were randomly drawn from a sealed pack. If it’s yours, a tombola gift to take home. More ‘wins’, more chance to win goes the theory.

But this is still unsatisfactory.

Many sales managers like the instant sales prize idea. Wikipedia has a neat piece on the origins of the name often used; spiff.

The rewards can be little and often. And although tokens, they can generate a buzz.

My thinking these days is that, whilst overall winners should be drawn attention to as a shining beacon for the rest to follow, it’s not just about numero uno. The best mini-prizes must focus on improvement.

Beyond a certain level of performance, if someone does better than last time out, then reward away. Sure, you must freshen up proceedings, both in terms of ensuring that sustained good performance can be maintained without penalty and maintaining desire to excel. But overall, the aim is to build a genuine push ever higher.

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