Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Top Gun

A few years ago when I was a member of a small team I won a sales contest.  That didn't go over well with my team mates and when my name was announced the silence around the boardroom table was humiliating.  No applause.  I felt bad for my Director of Sales; I know she expected better from her team.  I will never know why it bothered anyone that I won not only the first leg, but the overall contest.

I have often wondered if it was because they believed they should have a chance at winning the contest without changing the 9-5 behaviour that was generating the lacklustre results that necessitated a contest in the first place.

When the contest was announced I made it my personal goal to win, for three reasons:
  1. In support of the boss.  It was her idea.  If the contest flopped and failed to generate the sales results she hoped for, she'd look bad in front of her boss.  Our job is to make the boss look good, I think. Certainly life is better for everyone when we do. 
  2. Because the reward was huge.  In fact, in that first month I won a gift certificate large enough that I planned to take the entire team out for lunch.  In the end I did take one sales manager, the one who shook my hand and congratulated me (albeit surreptitiously).  The grand prize was a Best Buy gift certificate that got me a nice camera, amongst other electronic cool things.  I don' mind admitting I'm motivated by more than altruism and teamism.  Teamishness.  Whatever.
  3. I knew that if this contest produced the desired effect we would be in a position to crush the competition, finish the fiscal year in good shape, and the whole team would make bonus.
The reason I won was simple, and my friend and Top Gun Honda salesguy Erin, a man after my own heart, summed it up when he was telling me why he is the #1 sales guy 3 months in a row at his dealership and I suspect along that street of auto dealerships.  Erin said this:

"It is possible to beat me.  You just have to get to work before me, stay later than me, and work harder than I do."

I'll add one thing.  You have to want to.


  1. Totally self righteous. It's one of my least endearing qualities.

  2. The Director had a very efficient and equally loyal assistant who tallied the results. If there was a way to get anything by that beautiful lady I never figured it out!