Teams of salespeople play "Beer Jeopardy" for prizes. Founder says it is effective way to train salespeople.
Like most smart businesses, the Boston Beer Co. pays a lot of attention to sales training. "Our program emphasizes two things," says founder and CEO Jim Koch, "sales technique and knowledge about the product itself: beer. Last year we got to wondering whether people were really absorbing the information. So we decided to play Jeopardy -- without Alex Trebek." At the annual sales meeting, teams of salespeople had an evening of "Beer Jeopardy," in which they competed to come up with the questions to 140 answers the management team had chosen. "There were prizes such as mountain bikes, cameras, and airfare to Disney World," says Koch. "I figure they cost us about $3,000, plus the four hours to prepare the answers and questions. That's pretty cheap when you consider what it costs to train people in the first place, and it's a very effective way of making sure they retain the material."