by Jack Siney | December 18, 2019

During the month of December, even the most competitive sales professionals will be daydreaming about their holiday time off.  Whether they will be spending time at home with loved ones or getting away to a vacation spot, keeping their heads in the game can be tough in the weeks leading up to the New Year. Yet, year-end can often be the best time for setting up and closing deals. Here are four ways to build the right attitude and motivate your sales teams:

  1. Start with a festive kick-off. Bring your team together for a memorable, festive launch to remind them how great this time of year can be to land a new contract. Remind them that while decision-makers will be distracted by sounds, scents and the silliness of the season, they will also be eager to wrap up outstanding projects and start the new year fresh. If possible, ask C-suite execs to join you to say they expect to be taking calls, reading emails and texts from sales professionals trying to reach them, so why wouldn't their prospects and customers be doing the same? This type of real-time dialogue will be fabulously motivating for your sales team. 
  2. Establish quick and creative contests. In addition to cumulative-point programs that sales professionals have been working on all year, create a series of  quick-hit rewards and incentive contests that are run for just a week, a day or even a few hours. Think about mixing it up by combining the highest on Monday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. with Wednesday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The idea is to be creative so the incentives and contest wins are ongoing and can be achieved in all kinds of ways. 
  3. Keep rankings visible. The end of the year is no different than the rest of the year when it comes to competitive personalities. Sales professionals love being on top and nothing fuels them more than seeing someone else on the board edging ahead. Update the leaderboard regularly and keep the challenge exciting and fun by ringing a bell or throwing out a gift card or some other small reward every time the name changes. The idea is to keep the morale in the room high.
  4. The wins should reflect the season. Filling their holiday stocking with an extra $50 or $100 bucks is pretty fabulous for quick spiffs but to keep sales teams really motivated include contest prizes that haven't been done earlier in the year. If you have a big budget, rewards should be holiday-worthy -- like an exotic car rental for the day, front-row seats to a local performance that the whole family can enjoy or a gift card for two to an expensive restaurant, maybe with a limo ride. If at year-end, your budget is tapped out, think about what would work for your company culture and then offer memorable experiences like a private lunch with the CEO or a golf foursome or cooking night with company department heads. Make it an award worth the win.

Recognition and rewards always work to motivate sales teams but during the final weeks of the year it is important to motivate your sales teams with a steady stream of champion-level prizes and rewards they will strive to earn. Use your imagination so the contests feel as exciting and bustling as the season!

With more than 25 years of selling and motivating sales teams, Jack Siney is a sales consultant and speaker and one of the nation's leading experts on selling to the government (he has realized more than $1.5 billion in government sales). He is the co-founder of GovSpend, which maintains the only database of purchase order records for federal, state and local agencies. He can be reached by email at [email protected]