How to plan an incentive challenge for your direct sales team

How to plan an incentive challenge for your direct sales team

As a direct sales leader with a team, it’s a good idea to offer your own incentives and challenges for your team. If used well they can be hugely beneficial for your business and your teams’ businesses.

You must use incentives well to save time, effort, and money!

So let’s talk about how to plan and run a great incentive challenge for your direct sales team.

Make the most of company incentives

If your party plan or direct sales company is already offering an incentive, there is no need to add additional rewards for reaching the same goal. Instead put effort into driving the company offer. Focus on recognition for those who have achieved the company’s incentive and encourage those who are close to reaching it.


  • Do a Facebook Live as soon as the incentive starts to spread enthusiasm and tips
  • Post tips in your team group and refer to earlier training or posts that are relevant now
  • Help your team out by creating some social media images for them to share in their customer groups and on their pages
  • Shout-outs to people who’ve reached the incentive (posts / Lives)
  • Posts which tag people who are really close to encourage them to get over the line (and hopefully the rest of your team will join in the encouragement and act as cheerleaders)
  • Ask people who achieve a company incentive to post in your team group. This adds excitement and motivation for your whole team – it’s social proof that the incentive is exciting and something to work for. You can even offer some small prizes to everybody who’s posted about their achievement (a small easy to post prize or credit on online store, for example).

What behaviors are your targeting with your incentive?

Think about what you want to achieve with your incentive, which direct sales behaviors do you want to drive? You might be looking for more recruiting, more sales, more active team members, etc.


  • An incentive for
    • booking X amount of parties (above the average in your company or team)
    • attending markets, vendor events, fetes and fairs
    • recruiting X number of new people in a month
    • selling X amount during a period
    • booking X number of Zoom or Facebook parties (especially in lockdowns)
  • Run an incentive for a combination of business behaviors that will help (new) consultants by creating a bingo card. When someone gets a bingo they get a prize. You can include behaviors such as:
    • contacting X people in a week
    • doing a Facebook live on a product
    • scheduling entertaining and informative content for their social for the next month
    • listening to a direct sales podcast for inspiration and motivation
    • finding a business buddy in the team to keep each other motivated and accountable
    • refresh party themes and announce in a Live

Who in your direct sales team are you targeting?

Think about who in your team you are targeting with your incentive. If you offer a prize for the top seller over a certain period and everybody in your team already knows who is most likely to win that prize, that’s a turn off.

Knowing that a certain top seller is probably going to win that sales challenge will not motivate anybody – not even that particular person!

A top seller, top recruiter or top party booker incentive only works if you have a few people at a similar level that will work hard to get the prize and recognition. If you have a few people like that, an incentive only for the number 1 will stimulate a surge of activity.


  • Offer prizes for the top 3 instead of just the number 1.
  • Offer one or more prizes for people who reached a certain level. For example everybody who reaches $400 in sales will go in the draw for a prize.
  • Combine the above two ideas to have an incentive that drives all levels in your team.
  • Offer a prize for the winner of the challenge and the next 9 will go in the draw for another prize to encourage people to strive to be in the top 10.

You don’t have to run an incentive for your whole team

Targeting specific segments in your team might be more productive than running a challenge for your whole team.

For example, if your goal is to get inactive team members going again, select a smaller group within your team for a special challenge. Make sure they know you’ve only chosen 5 or 10 team members (or however many you’ve chosen) for this exclusive incentive. Then set a prize for everyone who achieves it.

This works well because if they haven’t been active in a while, they now have a real chance to win a prize while the other incentives mentioned in this article won’t motivate them. When direct sellers have been inactive for a while, they assume they won’t achieve whatever challenge you’ve set and that other team members will get it instead. It’s easier to do nothing than to get into action!

By creating a special incentive for them that’s achievable, they are more likely get motivated and energized to get back into their direct sales business.


  • Look at your team members who have been inactive for a while in your company’s portal or business hub. Select them based on a metric (haven’t made sales in the last 2 months, for example)
  • Or, select people in your team that you know that need a push
  • Find some attractive prizes they actually want to strive for, not just products
  • Set a challenge that’s achievable perhaps a sales amount that’s 1 average party
  • Ask for a few goals to reach the incentive, such as a sales amount plus at least 2 party bookings. This will help them move forward beyond the incentive
  • Provide some training for them, perhaps a Zoom coaching call to get them started again

Offer career plan-based incentives

Sometimes you want to push people in your team to move up the career ladder. An extra incentive for people to step up might help them to push a little harder. This incentive works best at the lower levels of the career plan.


  • Link your incentive to the name of the career title. For example if your company has a silver and a gold level, it’s the perfect opportunity to offer gold or silver prizes (gold sparkly pens, silver drink bottles personalized with their name, gold or silver jewelry, etc.)
  • Offer training/coaching (Zoom meeting) for people who want to achieve the incentive
  • Ask other leaders in your team to participate by contacting the people in their mini teams that would be in the running for the incentive
  • Every time someone achieves the incentive, do massive recognition not just for the new career plan title but also that they’ve won a prize
  • Tag people in a post encouraging those who are close to achieving the challenge

Growing your team or encouraging kit-napping?

When offering recruiting or sponsoring incentives, you’ll have to consider whether you offer the incentive for joining or activation of a new team member.

I recommend offering the incentive to people who have new people that activate according to the rules of your direct sales company.

How to plan an incentive challenge for your direct sales team

This not just avoids people encouraging others to join just for the kit (kit-nappers) but also neglect of newbies. You don’t want to encourage your team to just recruit for the incentive without any plans to help the new team members get started in their new direct sales biz.


  • Keep the ‘clauses’ to a minimum, so use your company’s definition of activation to keep things simple
  • Run some training for your team on how to get their new team members started

Beware of the incentive pitfall

Although incentives and challenges are excellent tools to motivate your team, there’s one pitfall to beware of: if you over-invest in incentives and prizes, that can turn people off leadership.

Team members thinking about leadership might worry that it looks overwhelming or too expensive. That would demotivate them from striving for leadership.

It’s a fine line to walk, but I’m sure that by putting some thought and planning into your challenges and incentives you can achieve fabulous results in your team!

Share this!