How Gamification can teach you a different way to sell


The sales world needs to radically change. Let’s face it: since the emissions-cheating software scandal hit the headlines, it’s no longer all about how much you can sell but about how you sell it. It’s definitely time for something different. But you can’t achieve sustainable behaviourable change just by using traditional incentive methods. Gamification, however, can play an important part in reaching this goal.

Turnover and margins were for many years the most important KPIs for salespeople. The more, the better – and the higher the bonus. Yet such sales incentives also have two big downsides: they might only work for a very short time, or could lead to perverse incentives. The latter would be the worst-case scenario. It could have led to excesses such as the Volkswagen scandal, mis-sold insurance policies, and even perhaps the global financial crisis.

In today’s world, you are judged on integrity and compliant behaviour. In other words, it’s not just about making a sale but also about how you go about making that sale. This requires different priorities, different processes and – above all – different behaviour. Gamification is outstandingly suitable for teaching this kind of new behaviour. Here are a few examples:

You can learn to behave with integrity by playing a game

As a salesperson, you are increasingly confronted by dilemmas. You can close a deal, but you know that your offer is actually not in the client’s interest. How can you help your people to take the right decision in a case like this?

In today’s world, you are judged on integrity and compliant behaviour.

You can do so by playing a game that has been specially designed to enable salespeople to put in their dilemmas and present these to their colleagues. It’s like a peer review. This way, they can see how other people deal with such a situation. You can learn from this. And score points with it too.

The desired behaviour can also be part of the game. The correct choice then results in the highest number of points (or another virtual reward).
By so doing, you can stimulate your salespeople to share their knowledge and experience, while they learn the correct attitude and behaviour through play.

You can learn compliant behaviour by playing a game

In the financial sector, under the watchful eye of the AFM (the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets), it’s extremely important for you to keep your systems current and to follow the correct procedures. Commercial companies are under an obligation to keep their systems and administration up to date. In fact, as well as being a precondition for good operational management, it’s the basis for good customer service.

Things such as applying new regulations or becoming more disciplined in entering data into a customer system are made that bit easier through gamification. And not just easier: it’s also more fun, more effective and often more cost-effective than spending a few evenings on an uninspiring sales training course.

You can stimulate cross-selling by playing a game

Salespeople often specialise in selling only one kind of product. The disadvantage of this is that they then tend to look no further than these products that they already know. This can lead to missed opportunities. For them, for you and for your clients. Gamification can encourage cross-selling. How? For instance, by putting together teams made up of specialists in different areas whom you can teach to look at the customer’s requirement together: what could fit well here and what do we have on the shelf that we could put together as an offer? Could the mortgage customer also benefit from investment advice? Or a savings product?

Within the game environment, you reward collaboration. You can also think up tasks during which people get to know each other – and each other’s products – better. Together, they learn to get to the bottom of the customer’s request. Of course, all of these actions are rewarded, and the participants get to compete with other teams.

Any true salesperson enjoys competition. That’s what makes gamification such a good technique for bringing about change in this particular target market. At the same time, you encourage knowledge-sharing and collaboration between different people. Everyone benefits from this.

What’s more, gaming is fun. We’ve noticed that this is true not only for our clients with whom we work using gamification, but also for ourselves. For instance, at House of Performance we regularly play knowledge battles, which are a great way of sharing more knowledge.

Like to discuss this in greater detail? Contact House of Peformance.

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About the author

I believe it's always possible to do things better: for ourselves, for a colleague or customer, and for the world around us. That's where I want to make my contribution. What's more, we should have fun and enjoy life. After all, "Life is too short to drink bad wine".

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