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David Geller

Want to Sell More This Holiday Season? Play These Sales Games

Here are 11 contest ideas to get your employees excited about selling.




WANT TO ADD excitement and increase sales this holiday time? Sure you do! This is the “make it or break it” time of the year and you want your staff to go all out and make it a gangbuster Christmas. But how?

Every employee coming to work listens to the same radio station in their car: WIIFM — “What’s In It For Me”.

And everyone has a different view of what good music is, too. Meaning, money is not the all-inclusive winner of what motivates the sales staff. So after reading this article, just ask your staff to put on a small note what they’d like to get this holiday season. Yep, money’s cool, too.

Some stores have commission plans, some have bonuses, but we want to have fun this holiday. We want the store to rack up record sales while the staff benefits, too. So here are some games to play during December along with some rewards.

There are all types of rewards:

  • Cash rewards
  • Merchandise rewards
  • Personal rewards (get off work early; come in late, not setup the cases today, front parking space)
  • You can have rewards that reward personal achievement, and it’s a good idea to offer some team rewards and some for the staff who don’t sell on the floor.

Pass the Buck

I got this one from Harry Friedman, along with others I used, and it was always a hit. Choose any day and anyone with the highest sales get a crisp twenty dollar bill from the owner. The first sale at store opening is obviously the highest sale; that person gets the $20 to start, even if it’s a $15 solder or $39 pair of pearl earrings. The person making the next higher sale takes away the $20. And so it goes, hand swapping, all day long. Highest sale keeps the twenty bucks at the end of the day.

I used to make it bigger at times (staples 2 twenties together) and do it for highest watch sale, most add-ons, largest diamond sale. You get the idea.


A Buck A Try

A store I visited did this and sales increased 30% for the month. In our industry, our products are hard to “shop”. Not in the price idea but touchy, feely. Everything’s under lock and key, tags are hidden, making “No thanks, I’m just looking” an everyday occurrence.

The best thing you can do to increase sales is to get that inventory out of the case and onto a customer’s body. In fact, hire a linebacker to be a greeter, tackle the woman to the floor and everyone put rings, necklaces, bracelets all over her and see if she can resist! (Just kidding.)

Once you get a customer interested in looking, if they try on the piece (yes, it’s on their body), the salesperson later gets a buck. So now the lady has a necklace on, say “Hey, want to have some fun? Let’s just try on this matching bracelet!”

Salesperson gets another buck (not in front of the customer).

“Hey, let’s have a blast here; try on these earrings.” Another buck.

At the end of the day, hand out dollar bills for those who got customers to be adorned. Customers don’t have to BUY, just try. “Try it, you’ll like it” will increase sales.


Set some goals you want to achieve for a new product line, slow moving items or promotional items.

  • Each time a sales staff meets that goal (should be daily or weekly, not for the month), they draw a single card from a deck of cards.
  • When they reach “21”, they turn in their cards and draw for a prize.
  • They can hold onto extra cards to use in another hand.
  • There’s no limit to number of items they can get “21”.
  • Great for a day or weekend play.
  • Enlarge some cards on a photocopy machine and tape to walls and bulletin boards to create excitement.
  • Salesperson who wins “21” the most times could get a bonus prize.

Pop the Baloon

Have a board with balloons taped to it. Inside the balloons are pieces of paper with a prize written on it (you decide).

  • Post a list of sales goals.
  • Each time they reach a goal, they throw a dart at the board, popping a balloon.
  • If the balloon doesn’t pop, that’s it; they lose their turn (have to be good in sales as well as archery!).
  • When a balloon is popped, winner reads the card/prize out loud.
  • Useful for a day or weekend.

Clothes Line

  • Envelopes are hung from a clothes line.
  • Every time a salesperson makes a sale (any sale), they can grab an envelope.
  • Only certain envelopes have prizes. Some are empty. Some have cash. Use thick envelopes so the staff can’t see into it.
  • Good for a single day.

The Big Drawing

This contest is designed to increase overall sales.

Have a large board with specific sales goals. Examples:

  • Sales goals, minimum per day.
  • Average sale
  • Sales per hour
  • Items per sale
  • Individual sale above a certain dollar amount.


  • Buy raffle style tickets at a party store.
  • Next to each goal (see above) is a number. This is how many raffle tickets you get if you reach each goal.
  • Player keeps one half of ticket, other half goes into a container for the big drawing.
  • Players post on a game board how many tickets they’ve won so far.
  • When you do the drawing, have a count down. The 1st ticket drawn is a small prize and go up to (you chose the number) the 10th ticket for the grand prize! It should be the big momma of prizes.
  • Do the drawing after the store closes. Display the prizes they could win.

Add On Craziness

Add-ons increase profits without increasing overhead. Have a point system for add-ons.

Make your own list of add on points.

  • You can get so many points just to add on to the original sale.
  • Add on additional points as the number of add-ons increase. Example: 10 points for 1 add on; 25 points for 2, etc.
  • Give additional points as the dollar amount of the add-on increases.
  • Each salesperson tracks add-ons on a master board in the back room.
  • Showcase prizes to points in the back, too.
  • Sales staff is awarded cash and/or prizes at the end of the contest.
  • Contest is good for weekend or a whole week.

TV Giveaway

I asked a store if they wanted to increase sales 30% last Christmas and of course the answer was yes. Then I asked, “Would you spend $1,000 to do it?”

Buy two flatscreen TVs or laptop computers. Have these set up in the store playing all during December.

  • The full timer with the highest sales gets the big prize.
  • The part timer with the highest sales of all part timers gets the smaller prize.

Team Competition

Salespeople aren’t the only ones that help make the holiday merry. There’s the jewelers, part-time wrappers (with their smiles or frowns), the admin staff who answer the phone, call in orders, check on customer work, etc.

  • Divide the store into teams, some games work best with teams of two, like in sports.
  • Put backroom staff on a team with sales staff.
  • Each team has salespeople, a jeweler (if you have more than 1), bookkeeper, etc.
  • Have bunches of prizes that get split up or duplicated for everyone on the winning team.
  • Prizes can be money, items, gift certificates or even better, winning team gets a fancy schmancy dinner out in January to reward themselves.

Football Yardage

You need two teams. Teams compete against each other for yardage, field goals, and touchdowns. Individuals who accumulate the most yardage are designated MVP.

Develop Sales Goals and their values by yardage, field goals and touchdowns. Examples:
$50 sale = 5 yards

$100 sale = 10 yards

$500 sale = Touchdown (7 points)

$1000 sale = 3 Touchdowns

Sale of item X = 10 yards

Sale of X and an add-on = 15 yards

Sale of x and 2 add-ons = Field Goal (3 points)

All players start at the 50 yard line.

Penalties are given to players and back staff. Examples could be:

  • Delay of game (Late for work, job not done on time)
  • 15 yard penalty
  • Illegal motion (improper paperwork)
  • 5 yard penalty
  • Offside (Not following store procedures)
  • 10 yards

Team goals are posted and these are following on a game board you make.

  • Team with the highest score wins.
  • Any player with the most yardage receives a special award for Most Valuable Player.
  • Decorate the backroom with football theme. Use a referee uniform to announce scores. Blow a whistle.

Store Goals Godzilla

No teams are required. December has 3 full weeks this year. Find out the sales for the same 3 weeks from last year and post these numbers. The goal is to exceed last years “week” by a certain percentage.

How this might work:

  • If we exceed last year’s numbers for the week, even by a dollar, everyone in the store gets a $25.00 bonus this week.
  • If we exceed last year’s numbers for the week by 15%, everyone gets instead a $50.00 bonus this week.
  • If we exceed last year’s numbers for the next week by 15% again, everyone in the store gets $100.00.
  • If we exceed last year’s numbers for the 3rd week again by 15% again, everyone in the store gets $150.00.
  • If by Christmas Eve the store has done this each week, bonuses would have added up to $300.00 per employee so far.
  • If by Christmas Eve the store’s business for December is up 20% or more, everyone gets an additional bonus of $300.00. Total bonus per employee in this example: $600.00

Remember: When it comes to prizes, money is not the overall winner all of the time. Poll the employees and see what they may want. Trips, massages, manicures, dinners out, trip to the Vegas show in June; all can be big winners and not break the bank.

But if you had a great Christmas season, maybe you just might have a much bigger bank.



He Doubled His Sales Goals with Wilkerson

John Matthews, owner of John Michael Matthews Fine Jewelry in Vero Beach, Florida, is a planner. As an IJO member jeweler, he knew he needed an exit strategy if he ever wanted to g the kind of retirement he deserved. He asked around and the answers all seemed to point to one solution: Wilkerson. He talked to Rick Hayes, Wilkerson president, and took his time before making a final decision. He’d heard Wilkerson knew their way around a going out of business sale. But, he says, “he didn’t realize how good it was going to be.” Sales goals were “ambitious,” but even Matthews was pleasantly surprised. “It looks like we’re going to double that.”

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