By Gino Blefari

This week my travels found me at home, starting my Monday with my normal WIG calls. On Tuesday, I had my weekly Berkshire Hathaway Energy Presidents meeting followed by a HomeServices of America Virtual Team Gathering then the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices 2021 Creative Pitch by Corporate Magic. On Wednesday, I attended the Explosion 2020 Virtual Event and presented 4DX Tune Up to the teams at Kentwood Real Estate and Edina Realty and Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices North Properties. Today, I was a guest on Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices CEO Chris Stuart’s Forever Forum Live Cast.

As I spoke with teams across the country (and world), I noticed a reoccurring theme. Sales teams frequently want to know: How do you tactically and tangibly drive growth? One way to drive growth in a sales organization is through contests.

Sales contests work because:

  • They drive Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and motivate your team to reach new heights of execution.
  • They increase collective confidence in your team members’ ability to compete and positively impact the growth of the company.
  • They allow a leader to gain greater visibility into individual team members’ performance, opening up coaching opportunities to provide personalized training that will guide a team member to success.
  • They tap into the core tenets of human psychology through motivation and the deep-rooted will to win, uncovering greater focus, energy and drive among your sales team.
  • They spark productivity through a desire to compete and be recognized.
  • The scorecard of a contest allows team members to know exactly where they stand at all times, and the visibility of the scorecard drives accountability.
  • They challenge your team to perform at their best while strengthening camaraderie among team members.

Now that we’ve covered the WHY for contests, let’s talk about the HOW. Change isn’t easy. Changing to a new system will inevitably cause friction – and that’s OK. In fact, there are five stages of change that can be identified and managed through as you implement a system of contests with your team. These stages are:

  1. Getting clear. As the whirlwind swirls, it’s important to add clarity to your process. If you’re starting a new contest, get crystal clear on the details. Let all team members know exactly what the contest entails, how you’re keeping score and what it means to “win.”
  2. Launch. This stage will be filled with challenges, but each challenge is an opportunity to smooth out processes and identify exactly how things will work. The launch phase for a contest will usually include three types of team members: those who are fully on board, those who are struggling to get started and those who are opposed to the contest. Remember, a new process is like a rocket ship and it takes tremendous energy to launch, which translates into focus and attention on the part of the leader to guide their team through to the next stage …
  3. Adoption. This stage takes time but it’s critical to the successful implementation of any new process into your regular sales team’s routine. Be diligent about the process, so the whirlwind doesn’t take over. Once you focus on the process, results will follow. And during this crucial stage, be open to making adjustments as needed. During the adoption phase, resistance will dwindle as your team members will start to see the positive results of their hard work and commitment.
  4. Optimization. Consistency breeds optimization, which your team members will naturally do as they make the contest you’ve launched into their own. To inspire optimization, you can recognize and reward creative ideas that enhance the contest, celebrate excellent follow-through and contest success, encourage team members to collaborate and recognize team members who initially struggled and are now performing at much higher levels. During this stage, you’ll sense an entire mindset shift as team members realize how the contest is driving overall and individual growth. This is the heart of a contest: to not only elicit results but also to create a culture of sustainable winning.
  5. Habits. Once the behaviors become habits, and once the contest you’ve launched becomes second nature, you can set higher goals and new levels of excellence that your team can reach.

So, what’s the message? If you’re contemplating how to drive growth, sales contests could be the missing link, bringing added focus, productivity, collaboration and success to your team and organization. According to Psychology Today, “Good competitiveness is the drive to accomplish a goal, bring out the best in individuals, [and] help them understand themselves.”


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