Sales motivation games for the workplace

Written by marilyn lindblad
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Selling takes a special kind of person who can use friendly persuasion to close the deal. Sales representatives need regular opportunities to recharge their batteries and help them stay motivated. Sales motivation games are ways to keep your sales staff excited and enthused about their work.

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Paper Clip and Brick Game

The paper clip and brick game teaches sales representatives the importance of setting sales goals. Divide the participants into four separate groups, and provide each group with different written instructions. Two of the groups have five minutes to come up with as many different ideas as they can for using a paper clip or a brick, respectively. The other two groups have five minutes to come up with at least 20 different ideas for using a paper clip or a brick, respectively. When the groups come back together, invariably the groups that were working toward specific goals -- 20 ideas -- come up with more ideas than the groups that were working toward vague goals -- "as many as possible." The results motivate sales reps to set goals.

Birthday Line Game

The birthday line game emphasises the importance of communication and teamwork. To play the game, the facilitator tells everyone to stand in place and then tells the participants that, when he says "Go," the participants will have 90 seconds to line themselves up against an empty wall in order of each participant's birthday, so that one end of the line has January birthdays and the opposite end of the line has December birthdays. The time allowed will vary depending on the size of the group. Before saying "Go," the facilitator tells the group that they must build the line in complete silence, without saying a word to each other. The participants will soon realise that they must use hand gestures and other nontraditional forms of communication to line up. After 90 seconds, each participant in turn calls out the month and day he or she was born to see how accurate the group's teamwork and communication was. The game motivates sales reps to use creative communication techniques and to rely on others in the company for help.

Spaghetti and Marshmallow Game

The spaghetti and marshmallow game teaches the importance of creative problem solving. Each group is given 20 strands of raw spaghetti, 1 yard of string, 1 yard of masking tape and one marshmallow. The group has 15 minutes to build a free-standing structure with the marshmallow at the top of the structure. The group with the tallest structure wins the competition. There is no "right" way to build the spaghetti-marshmallow tower, but groups that start prototyping right away tend to do better than groups that plan and sketch before they build. In fact, kindergarteners have a higher success rate at this game than adults. The game teaches the sales team the importance of taking action.

Negotiation Game

To teach negotiation skills, write a short sales scenario from the points of view, respectively, of the sales rep and the customer. In the sales rep's scenario, the rep needs to sell a certain dollar volume of widgets. The scenario includes incentives the rep can offer to the customer, such as free shipping and volume discounts, and encourages the sales rep to offer creative, no-cost benefits, such as a product demonstration, to seal the deal. In the customer's scenario, the customer needs to purchase a lot of widgets but she doesn't have much money. The facilitator splits the group into pairs, with a sales rep and a customer in each pair. Each pair has 10 minutes to negotiate a deal that yields the highest profit to the company. When the group comes back together, each pair describes the negotiation process and the deal each pair negotiated. The game sharpens the sales reps' negotiation skills.

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