Pat Kelly, CEO of Physician Sales & Service (PSS), in Jacksonville, Fla., wanted his medical-instruments salespeople to sell a load of examination tables within 60 days. So he gave them a sales incentive up front: cellular phones that they'd keep only if they sold enough tables. "Once they got used to the phones, I knew they wouldn't want to turn them back in," says Kelly, who had the phones installed while he was offering his sales force the challenge at a meeting.

Kelly wanted PSS's 70 salespeople to sell an average of one table apiece. So the deal was that each of the 12 sales offices would have to sell one $4,000 table for each salesperson in the office. If an office fell one table short, its salespeople would have to chip in and buy one phone. The sales force not only reached its goal of 70 tables but surpassed it; 105 were sold, with no returns.