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Black Friday Tactics for Event Based Team Building

Today is Cyber Monday, Black Friday being a recent memory… This year, people spent over 5 BILLION on online purchases on Black Friday. That is JUST online sales! Those are some crazy numbers. What makes this day so darn special that people are willing to not only spend copious amounts of cash, but also engage in this kind of behavior:

 
 

Black Friday is a conglomeration of marketing tactics that not only entice people to go out and spend, but that leverages collective energy that make people jump into action. The reason it has grown and become so successful through the years is because it has become more than a sale. It is a true event that transcends brands, cities and store front merchandisers. What makes this one day so special for shopping while all other days are left behind for good old regular spending? More importantly, how can we apply these tactics to our teams so that we can increase performance and operate in the black (see what I did there)?

TACTIC 1: ESTABLISH A VISION AND A TARGET DATE

The first great thing about Black Friday is that you know what to expect and you know when it is going to happen. Every year, the day after Thanksgiving, there will be crazy sales, offers up the wazoo and everything you need to start getting your Holiday shopping done. Things might be a little different every year (stores will open at different times, there will be more online offers, etc.) but the main concept is there. You can plan your schedule around it, you can come up with a game plan on how to approach things and ultimately you know what needs to be done for you to have a successful Black Friday.

That is EXACTLY what we need to do with our business teams. The number one thing is to establish a clear vision. What do you want accomplished and when does it need to be done by, or better yet, when will it culminate into all its glory? Here is an example: If you are a sales leader, and you have quarterly goals, are those clear to your sales team? Do they know what numbers they need to reach? Do they know what clients they need to contact to get to that number? Do they know what to offer to get there? Finally, do they know WHEN they need to hit that goal?

If you create a clear vision with a target date your teams will not only work towards the finish line, but know exactly what to do to get there.

TACTIC 2: BUILD ANTICIPATION

The way to get people excited about an event is to make sure that they are so giddy about what’s to come that they crave it. Yes, it is possible. Black Friday does it every year! Black Friday ads start being distributed earlier and earlier, leaks of offers are now common practice to get people excited about them. Marketers do everything they can so that you are dreaming about that large screen TV you are going to get at 60% off. Stores are opening earlier… Deals are getting even more enticing. Please hold… I need to go to Amazon for a sec (it is Cyber Monday after all).

Ok, I am back. So how can we build anticipation with our teams? Well, you have a target date, and you have a vision. How about consistently communicating these to your team. With excitement. So that they can’t wait for the day to come. Make posters. Have coasters made. Circle the date on the calendar. Create a countdown. Make it fun for crying out loud. Anything you can do to build anticipation is fair game.

Alison Levine, the captain of the first American Women's Everest Expedition, said that when she finally reached the summit at Everest, she spent 15 minutes celebrating and taking pictures. That was it. It was a huge accomplishment, but once she got there it was not that big of deal. The journey, the anticipation of getting there, now THAT was special.

Make your journey special with your teams. It is what they will remember.

TACTIC 3: PROVIDE AN INCENTIVE

Do people wake up at 3:00am and stand in line in the freezing cold to get something that was always available? Of course not. The reason that people go through enormous lengths to attend Black Friday is because there is a big fat incentive to do so. In this case, the deals make it worth it. 60% off. Buy 2 get a dozen free. You know that video game you wanted, IT WILL NEVER BE THIS CHEAP AGAIN!!! ARRRRGGGGGHHH!

Yeah. People react to incentives. Whether it is a prize, a promotion, recognition, money, people want to get something thing. This does not mean that people are only motivated by incentives, of course not, but if you want inspire action, it certainly helps if you dangle that huge carrot in front of them.

When you are working towards building excitement and anticipation, exploit the crap out of your incentive. Paid vacation for top sales person? There better be a video distributed on the wonderful memories the winner will get. What? The customer service rep with the most positive reviews at the end of the month will get an extra week off? Get out!! There better be a list circulation on things people could do with an extra week of vacation.

It is not enough to have an incentive, it is critical to make it so enticing and exciting that people will start salivating just by picturing it. Which brings us to our next tactic…

TACTIC 4: MAKE INCENTIVES LIMITED AND EXTRA SPECIAL

 Not everyone can be a winner. Sorry folks, participation trophies have their place, but not when you are trying to motivate your team. On Black Friday, there is limited amount of inventory that will go at the lowest prices. Not only does it allow for revenue control on the seller’s part, but it makes getting the deal even MORE special.  Do you think I am standing in the snow if I knew that my hover board would be available at the same price later in the day? Heck no!

Same goes to incentives at work. If you provide an incentive to everyone that reaches the goal you are diminishing the value of the people that get there first, or that exceed the goal by a significant amount. When setting up an incentive, you need to be able to make sure that people will take action to get it. That they are special. Remember: another way of saying that nobody is special is by showing them that EVERYONE is (yes, I stole that from Pixar’s The Incredibles, don’t judge me).

Now a word of caution. That does not mean that the people that do not exceed a quota, or get to the goal last should be left out to dry. There still should be a way to motivate them so that they stay in the game. In my fantasy football league, there is a “losers” playoff bracket for those teams that did not make it to the actual playoffs. That way they are still able to get a prize, even though they did not get the grand prize. The goal here is the same. Continue to incentivize to inspire action!

P.S. - Please do not call anyone on your team a loser. 

TACTIC 5: LEVERAGE THE COLLECTIVE ENERGY

If Black Friday encompassed only a couple of stores in Cedar Rapids would there be as much commotion? The reason Black Friday is as close to a consumerism holiday as we get is because EVERY store participates.  This year REI, the outdoor apparel and gear store, seems to be the only one to opt out and decided to close their stores on Black Friday. This collective effort to make this random Friday in November the greatest sales day of the year generates buzz. You can palpably feel the energy. Energy from the team members that all have to join together to get through the hellish day, the energy from consumers sharing the experience of triumph for getting the deal they seek, and energy from the retailers for moving from the red into the black…

How can we leverage that energy with our teams? Can we make a competition? Can we have people partner to achieve the same goal? Can there be check points along the way where we get together to recognize the efforts so far? There is no denying that the collectiveness of the experience brings out more in all of us. We need to ensure that we use it to our advantage. When the Olympics were happening, I had my teammates take a victory lap with a torch when we hit a sales goal for the month. I followed them with the Olympic theme blaring in the background on my i-phone. Everyone started participating, clapping and giving the lapper a round of applause. Collective energy achieved! 

TACTIC 6: CELEBRATE AND FOLLOW UP

Retailers try to extend the Black Friday feeling by continuing to be in contact with their customers. Some retailers send out catalogs with the same items that were on sale on Black Friday at their regular prices. This is done to validate the purchases made on the sale day, and give incentive to come out the next time there is an event. Furthermore, in our digital age, anytime you sign up for anything you will be receiving congratulatory e-mails or re-targeted display ads that will show you what else you can buy. All of this is done to extend the feeling and validate the purchase. Ride the wave baby!

We can do the same. Internal communications in organizations have become a very powerful thing. Being able to publicly recognize not only the people who have excelled, but what the results of the campaign have done for the company, helps us ride the wave of excitement and purpose. It validates that our efforts were not in vain. It celebrates the accomplishment AND the effort. If you do that you will not only be getting more from the current event, but will also be prepping everyone for future goal achievements the next time you do it!

Use this past Holiday weekend as an inspiration to set up an event for your team. Go all out. Make it fun, put some effort in it. Who knows. Maybe you will be able to get your team in to action and you can all transition into the black!!

Andre Mello is a Business Coach and is a sucker for an exciting offer. He has been in leadership and marketing for over 16 years. To connect with Andre please visit www.wysecoaching.com.

Andre Mello